Transition Newsletter – November 2016

We open this month with review of an irony free film about Climate Change by the owner of a $200m yacht, an award for a film, a new inspiring French film and two pieces on Brexit, it really isn’t time for everybody to get stoned (as might now Dylan agree). Insights into community Funders and communities having fun doing stuff. Plus reports from Italy, Mallorca, Barcelona and a course in Slovenia.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s ‘Before the Flood’
A film about Climate Change that within the first 2 days of its release was viewed 3.5 million times, is surely one to welcome. Sadly the film would have us believe that we can have our cake and eat it. We can’t. Missing is the kind of inner journey the lifestyles of the rich and famous need to go on for a more equitable, just, and sustainable world. DiCaprio’s reluctance to share his own honest, painful, rich journey with us is such a pity.



10 Essential Ingredients of a ‘Good Brexit’
After a fascinating week in the evolving absurdity of Brexit, a new report called ‘Creating Good City Economies in the UK’ contains many useful insights into what a good Brexit could look like. At a time when we desperately need new thinking, Rob Hopkins explores what it looks like when top down and bottom up are working together.

The meaning of Brexit? It’s the movement

“We can’t continue working as we have done over the last decade and expect a different result, can we?” asks Jay Tompt. He says we need more practical action, preferably together and in more joined up ways. This means busting out of professional silos and cultural bubbles to explore adjacent possibilities.


Are smoking cannabis and saving the planet mutually exclusive?
Rob Hopkins suggests that we’re caught in a Catch 22, where the dire state of the world’s challenges needs everyone’s rallying and focus, but the scale of those challenges, and the deeply dysfunctional culture that created them, are driving people to need to block them out.

Can Funders do Systems change? Learning From Supporting the New Economy
How well is the power that funders have on the work to bring about deep-rooted systemic change? On behalf of a small international foundation Fiona Ward recently spoke to 25 organisations in the UK, the USA and some countries in Western Europe. The report uncovered some common themes around the best leverage points for funding attention, as well as some food for thought for the foundations and other funders.

Celebrating the life of Dr. David Fleming
Already a key influence on the Transition movement, Green Party, New Economics Foundation and Soil Association, Fleming’s legacy is only set to grow with the posthumous publication of his astonishing masterpiece, Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It). Building on the tradition of E.F. Schumacher, his entertaining vision of a post-growth economy built on the play, humour, rootedness and reciprocal obligations of a rich culture has long inspired optimism and action. Rob Hopkins and Shaun will share insights and anecdotes on his life, influence and enduring importance.



Amatrice Regeneration – rebuilding resilience after the Central Italy earthquake
Deborah Rim Moiso updates the story of how Italian permaculture and Transition groups are contributing to the aftermath of the recent earthquake that hit Amatrice in Italy.



Breathing new life into old computers
Bart Anderson of Transition Palo Alto is saving laptops from landfill.

Transition in Action 2 – Living the Life, Walking the Walk in the Transition Age
Young people from five EU countries came to an eco farm in Kunszállás, Southern Hungary, where they made their mark on the homestead, the surrounding town, and maybe most importantly: on themselves. We asked an organiser, Tracey Wheatley from Transition Hungary, how it all came together, and what can we take away from it.

Fancy hosting a Transition Film Festival? 

Transition Town Totnes is currently preparing the third iteration of the Transition Totnes Film Festival – & this year, for the first time, it is being offered to other UK Transition groups after the Totnes event in March. The Festival is devoted to showing films which truly have something to offer to our communities. They may be about the environment, education, community, gender, food and health, art and music. Some will be ‘new’ films – but others will be important films that simply have not been widely distributed.
If you are interested in bringing the Festival to your town, please contact us: <>
and for more about the Festival see

Marie-Monique Robin on her new film ‘Qu’est-ce qu’on attend’ (‘What are we waiting for?’)
Another new French film about Transition (one of our 21 Stories) tells the story of Ungersheim in north-eastern France.



Our website is having a major refit and will RElaunch on Tuesday 22 November. In the run up to the launch we will be sending some email bulletins about it and hope that you will like the new look. As with any such project there may be some glitches so please bear with us as it settles in.
Transition Slovenia’s first event: Inner Transition Training
18-20 November
The weekend course will be in English with translation and support in Slovene, and in other languages by peer-to-peer translation.

Throughout the city, the variable that best explained the pattern of mortality during the Chicago heat wave was what people in my discipline call social infrastructure. Places with active commercial corridors, a variety of public spaces, local institutions, decent sidewalks, and community organizations fared well in the disaster. More socially barren places did not. Turns out neighborhood conditions that isolate people from each other on a good day can, on a really bad day, become lethal.
Eric Klinenberg

Continue reading

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CSA Network UK Open Day on Saturday 1 October

Visit a community supported farm near you

Community supported farms across the South and South­East of England are opening their
gates for the first ­ever CSA Network UK Open Day on Saturday 1 October.
It’s a chance for the whole family to find out more about community supported agriculture
(CSA), where the risks and rewards of farming are shared between farmers and members
of the community.
Click on the link below to read pdf with details of farms in SE:


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Update on Community Hive project

Hive Project goes into Deep Freeze! There is much irony in a name, did we but know it.

Sadly, three months into a major effort by Transition Town Farnham core group to secure use of a vacant retail premises in The Woolmead, East Street, we have decided that the property is not suitable. Following an electrical survey last month it came as a shock to us that there was no heating available for the premises. The previous tenants, Iceland, used their freezers to provide space heating – very sensible idea as it saved on the installation of any other form of heating. It left us with the considerable additional cost of installing a heating system and this on a temporary basis of six months occupancy. Although we had been able to secure financial backing for normal running costs of the premises, the additional amount required to install a quiet heating system would mean considerable further fund-raising and delaying the project yet again.

The intention of the Community Hive was, and remains, that of establishing an urban hub for Transition Town Farnham somewhere in the central part of the town. We have asked the managing agents of The Woolmead if there are other smaller premises with services still connected that might be available to us. On the basis of the work done it would be a fairly simple matter to agree on the same terms given suitable condition of the property.

This is where we stand at present: our practical ideas regarding the use of a suitable property remain very much those that we have developed in relation to the old Iceland premises. Though adapted to a smaller space we still hope to offer a Yo-Homies social workspace for digital homeworkers. At other times the hub becomes a flexible open-space for arts based engagement with Farnham in transition and for TED style talks and LED workshops.

Local artists have already expressed interest and a start-up group called Collabor-8 has been formed. In the meanwhile a Collabor-8 facebook group will be holding this initiative.

If you are interested in either project, Yo-Homies or Collabor-8, please add a comment here and Angela (for Collabor-8) or Chris (for Yo-Homies) will contact you.


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We have a Facebook Group at last! Try putting a Fb group link up on WordPress…. click on the tag below

Join our Facebook Group”  or scroll down side bar to Social Media

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Crisis on high – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

This extraordinary piece about the Third Pole in China has been circulated by   So I take the liberty of forwarding it– very sobering, considering that, following that tragic farce of Paris, still nothing substantive is actually being done to reduce emissions.

This quote from the above is especially alarming simply because this will only accelerate the process of melting:

‘But the scientists are discovering another factor that is causing the big melt: pollution from vehicle exhaust and coal burners is now making its way up to the region.

Black carbon particles and dust land on the glaciers and absorb the sun and heat, unlike the white ice that reflects it.’

And he says the current models for global climate do not really know how to take account of the third pole. The implications are obvious.

via Crisis on high – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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Swimby Musical

A talented team of artists, actors, musicians and students are making Something Wonderful in My Back Yard – A sparkling new crowd-funded musical about the Transition Movement!

Think of a musical and you might imagine the romance of West Side Story or the razzle dazzle of Chicago. But this new musical [currently being written] has a different setting and tackles a very different subject: how do a motley group of ordinary, argumentative people persuade their make-do-and-mend, muddle-through  market town to embrace community food and energy schemes and become more resilient?

Writer Matt Harvey and composer Thomas Hewitt Jones are well known in their fields – and their allotments – and have previously collaborated on The Same Flame (published by Boosey & Hawkes) and the musical Rumpelstiltskin, produced at the egg, Theatre Royal Bath, last Christmas and set to be revived this year at the MAC Belfast.

Matt and Thomas have been talking to people involved in community energy groups and the Transition network about to develop this heartening new story for our times.

You can download a FREE E-COPY of the SWIMBY Musical songbook right here! We’ve been working with lots of people to trial the songs and you can see all the songs being trialled here in November 2015 Early Material Show!


SWIMBY musical will produce:

  • Something Wonderful in My Back Yard : SWIMBY Musical a sparkling new musical for amateur groups telling the story of a community encountering some of the questions and issues around peak oil and climate change through catchy songs and exuberant dance numbers – we hope this touring show will be available after the July 2016 premier
  • A songbook and backing recordings for the show that will be available for community groups and choirs
  • Merchandise – Postcards, badges, tee-shirts will also be produced during the project.
  • Workshops / engagement tools – to support people in using the musical

To find out more or to get involved please visit our news page

We are still raising funds for this project and would be grateful for your support

Donate Button

This project has been crowd-funded through Kickstarter as Transition Town: The Musical and is currently seeking funding for phase 2 of the project as SWIMBY: The Musical and we are very grateful to our 132 backers from 5 countries!

We are grateful for support from Regen SW, The Big Lottery, Arts Council England, NatraCare and NatureSave Trust.

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The Grassroots Directory

An A-Z guide to the most exciting community-led projects in the UK by Charlotte Du Cann and Mark Watson

246 more pledges needed

📖 Pledge

A Short Midsummer Update

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Hello everyone – Greetings from grassroots Britain where, no matter how you vote (or don’t!), the key to navigating topsy-turvy times is to get together and do stuff that benefits everyone in the neighbourhood (and beyond).

Most of the projects starring in the Directory have been created in response to current crises, whether global climate change or local economic downturn: repair cafes that regenerate relationships between people as well as umbrellas and mobile phones, community-run bakeries and cafes where everyone can discuss what goes down in the area, local currencies that keep money in local circulation, tool libraries that share shears and stories, allotments that share beans and raspberries, alongside labour and laughs.

Here’s one of our favourite kind of hubs, the South London Makerspace, whose members own, run and maintain three workshop spaces with sewing machines, 3D printing, woodworking, laser cutting, electronics and more:

‘We’re not just a workshop; we’re also a community. We have regular social events, and meetups. Members are encouraged to work on their projects with each other, to collaborate and share skills and knowledge. We also take care of the workshops together. With no paid staff, everyone has to pitch in to keep things safe and tidy.’

Meanwhile as summer kicks in (rather soggily) and elderflowers are foraged and tables set for street parties, we are happy to report that The Grassroots Directory has passed the half way mark and is now 56% funded. We’ve had a busy month sorting out some great projects that have come through from the now long-running sewing cafe in Lancaster and the recently established Glasgow Pound to the just-renovated Real Junk Food Sheffield and the upcoming two-wheeled festival of Tour de Tooting on 3rd July.

This week we’re also going up to London to the Demain (Tomorrow) premiere. This is the documentary by Cyril Dion and Melanie Laurent that has stormed France and had over a million viewers since it launched last December during COP21 in Paris. It’s a world-wide investigation into ‘the most successful experiments in agriculture, energy, habitat, economy, education and democracy, and pieces together a puzzle that might ‘tell a new story of the future’.

Here’s to finding that missing piece of blue sky…


Images: Brixton Pound fiver, designed by Jeremey Deller; Restart party in Belsize Library, by Jonathan Goldberg; Big Lunch, England 2016

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