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22 Sep 2009

Reflections on When a Transition Initiative Stalls…

transition oxford logoWe often say that failures in Transition are just as important as our successes, that Transition is an iterative process where what matters is that we learn from honest assessments of what we have tried.  In that spirit, today’s post offers a fascinating and illuminating case study of a Transition initiative stalling.  We are deeply grateful to members of the steering group of the now-dormant (hopefully temporarily) Transition Oxford group for so honestly and openly sharing their thoughts as to why things have reached the stage they have.  Their reflections are largely unedited, and have been left anonymous.  My thanks to Jo Hamilton for collating them. 

A Brief Transition Oxford Timeline

July 07 – COIN and ClimateX invite Rob to speak in Oxford

Sept 07 – informal meeting of people interested in transition Concept. From this idea of a steering (seed) group was bourne

Oct – Nov 07 – a few meetings of initial seed group to discuss making most of RH talk , invite other groups and individuals

Nov 07 – Rob’s talk – really well attended, good energy and buzz

Jan 08 – follow up meeting – well attended, but not as high energy as could have been

Feb – Jun 08 – series of 4–6 weekly meetings for wider Transition community, plus tree planting event, benefit gig. Had Open space type sessions, visioning, writing dreams, forming of smaller groups (some of which met a few times, some of which turned into a car club)

Had about 3 ‘nurturing process meetings facilitated by outside people for the seed group, plus one strategy meeting. A couple of people leaving seed group.

Oct 08 – Info meeting (TO and ClimateX) – Peak oil and climate change – not so well attended, but fantastic info

Nov 08- Chris Johnstone talk – really well attended

TO plan kick off – not so well attended, but people enthusiastic and stepped forward to take on parts of itt

Jan – May 09 – diminishing energy in SEED group, but more focus on plan writing and bringing plan process together

May 09 – Organised meeting for community transition initiatives in Oxfordshire – bringing groups together and identified a need for skillsharing of ideas for groups

June 09 – SEED group decided that would go into dormancy, as time and energy seriously waning, with realistically no let up of this.

***

Reflection 1

Supporting the energy

Energy was high at the first meeting (Rob’s talk) and the second one the following January. We had a lot of interest from people wanting to get involved in some way. I think we could have enabled people more effectively at those times.

Other learning could be that it might have been good to explore the concept in more depth, and get a group of people ready to take things further earlier – so that a high profile talk would be more of a public launch, rather than a ‘so who wants to see if this can happen here?’. Maybe if we had a more established group then we could have the capacity to meet the energy generated by it.

Seed group energy

The Seed group started in autumn ’07, as a response to J and M contacting people they know were interested in the transition initiative, to explore if this could happen here. There was a specific aim in sight, namely Rob’s talk at the end of November ‘07.

Sometimes it wasn’t clear to people outside the group how to be more involved, and there was tension within the group about how closed / open to new members the group was.

It was good that we did a lot of work looking at how we operated within the group, with the ‘nurturing the process’ sessions, although even within the group there was a tension between time taken for group process… as opposed to time taken doing the running / meetings. I think the fact that the energy diminished rather than grew though reflects that we could have had a better process. There was a general feeling of ‘I haven’t done enough.. the task before us is too big.. maybe I’m not the right person here’ which we all expressed at different times, regardless of how much time and effort we were actually putting in. More positive feedback / recognition of our energy / work done might have been more helpful

Wider group of people who got involved and came to meetings

Sometimes people would look to us to provide some leadership, whilst we were looking to the wider group to say what they wanted to lead on. I’m thinking of how we could have enabled people to take that leadership more. Perhaps making it clearer what we were about earlier, but we didn’t know what might emerge, and wanted to keep it as open as possible.

We could have given the formation of the ideas groups more of a lead, and supported them better (I think some of this was down to me..and I didn’t do it well). Most wanted to get on with action – were they ready to do action, and get on and become the seedlings of a section of the EDAP? Perhaps.

Involving other groups in Oxford

Members of the seed group had good links established with other Oxford groups, and a forum for groups to come together was already established through other organisations (ClimateXchange, COIN, Community Action Groups). Whilst some local community groups regularly came to the events (Wolvercote, Canalside ) others either expressed reservations about dealing with ‘climate change and peak oil’ or more often were simply too busy doing their own groups and projects to get more involved, or come to yet another meeting.

Some practical spin offs

Some practical and visible activities that resulted was the tree planting event – great to give some energy and a focus, and the formation of a car club in East Oxford.

Wider Oxford / Oxfordshire

There was and (and still is) a huge amount of environmental / climate change activity going on before TO formed. At the beginning we envisaged TO could be a way to knit this together, to provide a synergy, a glue to bring the different stories together. We wanted to work with and through groups to bring a collective vision and story to light. Many groups mean lots of activity, but more time in the planning, involving, inviting and strategising about how best to go about it. I feel that none of us had the time and energy required to do this justice – to proactively go out to the existing groups and see how they could be involved

The Transition Oxford Plan

Having a focus on the plan was great, we had a specific ask, and it brought new energy in, with contacts in networks. In retrospect, maybe this should have come earlier. For me personally, my energy and time to put into it had started to wane by then – partly because of demands of work and my course, but also because I didn’t want an active involvement in more strategy, as it was too close to my day job!

***

Reflection 2

Seed Group’s existence meant no-one else thought they needed to attend to overall needs of TO, and in absence of Seed Group either addressing something, or a means of real reporting/accountability, nobody would know it was being neglected.

One big area of neglect was active networking with existing groups.

Was ‘strategic thinking’ also neglected? Was it obvious at various times how Seed Group saw ’12 Steps’, and how they were applying, or adapting them?

Seed Group allowed more energy to go into the processes within itself, than into the other groups around it, and which seem, in all but one case, to have required seed group support if they were to survive. Ie, they all disappeared (except Oxcar – tootle tootle! – sound of own trumpet)

My sense is that whoever/s was ‘holding the energy’ of TO had a heavy emotional/energetic task, and that was not sufficiently recognised or actively worked with. Need for support from others was not identified and asked for in time/often enough.

***

Reflection 3

Hmmm, my thoughts are coloured by an emotional response to TO’s demise. I often felt “used up” by TO but learned a lot and really valued being part of it.

I still feel that something certainly is needed to pull together all the disparate things in Oxford that are working for similar ends. But in a place like Oxford that won’t happen without fundraising, a project manager and paid team, and a COIN/ClimateX/CAG type organisation to put in the work needed – organising events, participatory processes, effective communication, going out and talking to all the groups – we could see all that was needed but could not make it happen on the margins of busy work lives. Why should it be voluntary and on the margins? Why shouldn’t at least one or two of us make it our work?

“what did we do well”

– there is clearly a great hunger out there for initiatives like Transition Towns that join things up.

– lots of enthusiastic people at events, many really good events, facilitation experience in the seed group.

– supporting other local transition towns (thanks to J),

– website

– going official (eventually) and opening a bank account

– help from the nurturers (Liz and Isobel) was brilliant

– the evening that S facilitated for us and the energy and ideas she brought. Anyone still in touch with her?

“what could we do better” learnings:

– the seed group was the main outlet/inlet for TO enthusiasts for most of the last two years (remember various people coming along to our pub meetings). The seed group held the space but did not have the person power to build on the early momentum. This blocked others from joining the bandwagon.

– we needed more and more effective ways of communicating

– we needed to link with groups, both to find out what they were doing and take the TO message to them. We recognised this early on but did not have a clear message to take to the groups and did not have the energy to meet with many of them. Perhaps a reincarnation of TO could focus mainly on this with fewer TO events providing a platform for the groups themselves and getting them to make the links with cc and peak oil.

***

Reflection 4

Seed group energy

The group process was uncomfortable; often felt unwilling, with little solid, ordinary support for each other. From my perspective, if the group had been more enjoyable, the energy would have been higher. Odd really, because individually everyone was really nice.

I think we were too ambitious, and we didn’t really agree on what we aimed at, but because we couldn’t handle the group process we never clarified issues.

We never followed up S’s simple idea of getting out there and connecting to other groups, for instance. (I know I could have done, but I never dared. I always felt I’d landed by accident in a group of experts, so I couldn’t go and meet anyone, I’d have felt a fraud!) which leads onto:

Involving other groups in Oxford

We never really did this, as I’ve said, although I know that at least J probably knew a lot of people anyway – but they must have thought why Transition? – what’s wrong with climateX? We didn’t have much more to offer, and I for one wanted to do something much grander and deeper than be an umbrella group connecting people together! In the event, I think that might have been the most helpful thing we could have done.

***

Reflection 5:

I remember saying that I joined in this effort because I wanted to find ways of raising awareness among the wider population. Looking back, I don’t think we achieved that. My impression is that those we reached were lots of people with eyes already opened to the problem and already searching for ways of addressing it. I am looking for ways of opening more eyes, and moving more to the point of action.

We did lots of stuff well, but you have probably noticed that I find it easier to see the negative than the positive, a lifelong habit that I’m working on, so forgive me if I’ve missed anything. We, or rather about half of us (and you will know who you are) are skilled at organising and holding meetings, techniques for making people think and encouraging participation. (I do not include myself.)

What could we have done better?

Harnessing the energy revealed or generated at those meetings. I think we failed to do that but I don’t know why, by which I mean that I have no thoughts of “if only we had done this or that”. I don’t know how to harness that energy.

We could have done a better job on PR, or maybe we couldn’t. PR could definitely have been better, but I don’t think we had the skills (or maybe the time) between us to achieve it. By PR, I mean making sure that everyone who heard or read about us had a clear idea of what TO was and was not.

There is one thing that is firmly outside our control. I think there is an element of luck in creating really effective teams, even when you have some control over the process as in an employment situation – that control being the ability to pick team members from a pool of willing participants. We all self-select in these voluntary groups and it is a matter of luck if a team comes together with that “je ne sais quoi” that achieves a result that is greater than the sum of its parts!

Our worst piece of luck was that we didn’t have an obvious leader, but that will not be the only factor – I don’t know what the other factors are. By leader I don’t mean someone who directs others to do his bidding (these people usually aren’t women), but something much more subtle than that.

None of us should reproach ourselves for what has happened, or not happened. The experience is valuable.

Message for others? If you fail, acknowledge it, know that there is a large element of luck in finding the right people, and don’t blame yourself. Go forward and try something else, let others step in.

***

Reflection 6

– What did we do well?

Got going, organised events, kept it on people’s agendas. I think the tree planting day at Cutteslowe was great as we had plenty of core supporters, some potential converts and other people who just felt like going out and planting trees.

– What could we have done better?

Been more inclusive, been more reflective and been more aware of that seed group members may have different amounts to time to give.

I think possibly the reflective aspect is the most important here, i.e. to spent longer consolidating what Transition Towns meant to us and to the people of Oxford – I think this would have created more ownership of TO by both those in the seed group and those not.

– Any lessons learnt / guidance for people who want to do more in Oxford?

I think some of the language of Transition Towns might have been a bit off-putting/exclusive to those not already engaged – i.e. ‘Hearts and Minds’ and ‘unleashing’ and ‘open space’ – I don’t disagree these things may be necessary but i think the terminology is too exclusive to mean anything to the ‘average person’….also to make it more fun and less ‘worthy’ 😉

[Added after I read the other comments] Perhaps put energy into campaigning for the post/resources needed – Oxford’s not lacking in motivated, energetic but busy people – I’m sure some would consider contributing to a Transition Oxford post (even if only very part-time) … not to mention the potential for support from (city) councillors!

I’m also sorry at TO’s demise and hope it will return in some guise.

***

Reflection 7

– What did we do well?

The Seed Group had an excellent combination of talents and connections which was inspiring to be around. We were much more reflective than other groups I have been involved in and as such it was interesting to see different approaches. I feel this is a valuable part of the Transition Movement as a whole and of TO- to provide a space to think creatively and differently about the age-old task of changing the world. I for one learned a huge deal from this. We did well at keeping the meetings participatory, which I think helped them stay large with lots of people power potential, and rallied together well when it came to practical action for example the tree planting.

– What could we have done better?

I was unable to be as involved for as long as I would have liked. My involvement brought home to me just how hard the “thinking” part of getting an initiative started is, especially when working to embody principles of horizontal leadership and consensus. With hindsight, more agreement at the start as to what we sought and what we were able to provide might have helped, then more action planning and action, with the valuable “nurturing” skills deployed to reflect and evolve once actions had been accomplished. One factor here was that I, for example, as a “professional” in a relevant field, was looking for a different way to do things than I was used to, and perhaps slightly unwilling to do “work”, when really some of those work skills might have been more fully deployed!

A more general reflection is that peak oil is tricky for a grassroots organization to tackle. It requires awareness to be raised from scratch about an issue that is cloudy for most people and about impacts that will be devastating. The Transition model starts with this as the first task. Our group never seemed to fully embrace this for different reasons, leaving us bereft of the prescribed easy starting activities such as film showings that can help a group to gel.

– Any lessons learnt / guidance for people who want to do more in Oxford?

Am I right in thinking that Climate X provides the networking role that we wanted to with TO? I hope people who were involved in TO take this experience forward with them into other work- I certainly will!

Comments are now closed on this site, please visit Rob Hopkins' blog at Transition Network to read new posts and take part in discussions.

18 Comments

Josef Davies-Coates
22 Sep 1:48am

Damn you all!

I should be in bed nursing my cold but instead am here reading this 😛

Thanks for sharing.

Josef.

Sonya
22 Sep 1:52am

Great post, we need to share all our lessons learnt.

Transition Town Eudlo (in Queensland Australia) has ebbed and flowed over the past two years.

Our regular monthly meetings – a time for the core group to get together to discuss actions – attracted a lot of new people each month from a very wide area (200kms north, south and west) to find out more about TTs.

So each meeting became a meet and greet session. This frustrated the core group in trying to move things forward… so we saw it for what it was (the problem is the solution) – those monthly Sunday meetings at the local coffee shop are now our ‘social’ get togethers.

Visitors most welcome, but no pressure for core members to get through moving projects forward. Normally at least one core member attends so visitors and guests can find out what’s happening, but we are also working behind the scenes on our projects and keeping things moving forward.

This has freed us up to keep projects happening, but still incorporate that social/community get together aspect.

Cheers,
Sonya Wallace
Transition Town Eudlo
Transition Sunshine Coast

Paul in Tokyo
22 Sep 3:53am

Dear Jo from Transition Oxford,

Thank you for sharing the Transition Oxford story so far. It is interesting to hear your story and reflections because in Transition Town Koganei in Japan we face similar challenges. Oxford has a population of about 150,000 people and Koganei City where I live in western Tokyo has a population of about 110,000.

To unleash (bring it to tipping point) a city of this size will take a lot of time. My feeling is the important thing is to keep going. Some people will drop out and new people will join. This is a process and there are ups & downs and mistakes are made along the way.

Keep speading the word about the transition concept, peak oil and climate change. Climate X seems like a good group in the the Oxford area but there are lots of areas that they are not working on such as peak oil education or supporting local shops, local food, local businesses that you could work on and eventually you could do co-hosted events or projects with Climate X.

My feeling is that you should hang in there with your Transition Oxford efforts and wait for more favourable winds to blow. If your core group is only 5 people you still can make a simple homepage and Transition Oxford handout flyer and do a few presentations around the town – then new people will ask to join you.

I spend a lot of time just talking with people (just 5 or 10 minutes out of a 30-minute conversation) I meet at community events about the transition concept and oil dependency and exchanging business cards with the core transition concept & peak oil graph on my business card. When the price of oil goes over $140 a barrel again then people will start to get it – ‘ah ha, that’s what those people in Transition Town koganei were talking about! now I see the point!’

So working with Transition in a city of over 100,000 will take time to reach a tipping point.

It is important for me to give 110% to my full-time job as a school teacher, to eat well, to sleep well, get regular exercise, spend time with family & friends other than transition people and work at transition at a healthy, sustainable pace while having fun at the same time. I trust that something of lasting value will eventually emerge from these efforts.

Good luck, Paul

ceridwen
22 Sep 7:57am

Thanks T.O. for sharing your thoughts – it will help us all learn a bit more about the best way to go forward – so valuable for the Movement as a whole.

I know what you mean about feeling one has landed accidentally amongst a group of “experts”. I think there must be many of us intelligent enough that we could have gone onto University, etc, and just generally felt we were “trained” more into debate/things of a more “academic” nature – but, for one reason or another, we didnt get that chance. We then stand there – fully intelligent enough to understand perfectly what those who come over as more “expert” are saying – but without the “academic training” to feel we can “hold our own” in that respect.

However – having said that – the analogy comes to mind here of that Christian concept of “the body of Christ”. I am not a Christian personally – but that phrase sums up what any group is about – some people are best suited to be the “head”, others are best suited to be the “heart”, others to be the “hands” and so on – ie we all of us have our different parts to play and have a contribution to make that we personally can do better than many others could (because they are a different part of this “body” to ourselves). So – I cant personally be a “head” person or a “heart” person – but I CAN be “hands” or “feet” for instance.

Hope your group comes together Oxford.

John Mason
22 Sep 9:46am

Hi Jo,

Thanks for this important contribution – there are things within it that I’m sure all of us recognise. Can I pick out a couple of quotes?

Quote 1:

I remember saying that I joined in this effort because I wanted to find ways of raising awareness among the wider population. Looking back, I don’t think we achieved that. My impression is that those we reached were lots of people with eyes already opened to the problem and already searching for ways of addressing it.

I’m with you on this one, and especially on the subject of oil depletion. I’m not saying that climate change is important – of course it is: however, oil depletion will hit us hard well before significant effects of climate change do: the difference is that your average “bloke in the pub” has never heard of Peak Oil. The critical question in my mind is this: what percentage of the population of a community needs to be aware of Peak Oil and willing to address it before the whole Transition thing can roll forwards effectively? 1%? 5%? 10%? 25%? Rob, do you have any specifics on this?

Our Transition Initiative is moving along, slowly but steadily, but I’m almost entirely dedicated to awareness-raising these days – I don’t think you can ever have too much of it, so long as you don’t keep repeating it just to the same bunch of well-meaning people. I want to take it as far as I can in the local community.

Other quote:

I think some of the language of Transition Towns might have been a bit off-putting/exclusive to those not already engaged – i.e. ‘Hearts and Minds’ and ‘unleashing’ and ‘open space’ – I don’t disagree these things may be necessary but i think the terminology is too exclusive to mean anything to the ‘average person’….also to make it more fun and less ‘worthy’

As my fellow SG members know, I also completely agree with this, and you can also add Permaculture to the list! The problem is not the practises or principles themselves – how can anybody watch “A Farm for the Future” and not be won over to Permaculture on the spot? – but a lack of understanding of other (dare I say more mainstream?) mindsets. Coming at Transition from the mindset that most of us have (i.e. we think critically about our relationship with the planet and have done for years) makes such terms easy to get comfy with. Bombarding your average consumerist with a barrage of new terms simply turns them off – unless the terms refer to things that they can consume of course, and even then, that is accomplished by high advertising budgets. People typically only buy new stuff if it is cleverly marketed to them.

Two new terms ought to suffice for the Business As Usual, mainstream mindset: Peak Oil and Transition. The former is enough to come to terms with for us, having already embraced the idea of Transition: to anybody blissfully unaware of it, it is a nightmare beyond imagination. The Transition model can be sold to them, including all the methodologies involved, but for heavens’ sake, let us try and explain it in terms of reference that are recognisable to all, rather than ones that make us feel nice and warm inside!

It’s not that “A Farm For The Future” cannot fail to win anyone over to Permaculture: the job instead is to get someone to watch it in the first place, instead of “Big Brother” or whatever…. the analogy with what we are trying to do is glaring!

Cheers – John

John Mason
22 Sep 9:57am

Re – Paul’s comments –

Very good points too. I noticed a correlation between a couple of things between 2007 and 2009 and the attached sketch-graph illustrates this:

http://www.geologywales.co.uk/editorial/public_interest.jpg

Cheers – John

Steve Jones
22 Sep 10:17am

ha ha, very interesting observation John. At the end of the day money and the cost of energy adn resources is still the most powerful driving factor.

[…] individual confidence issue is touched upon in a recent post from Rob about Transition Oxford’s story; among other things about people feeling a lack of confidence, and the language used, and I reckon […]

Steve Atkins
22 Sep 1:30pm

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
Re: sketch-a-graph.
Also, as food prices increase you could use a similar method for representing ‘Public Interest in Budget Supermarkets’ (eg, Lidl and Aldi). Which also relates to increased efforts in growing local food.

WHY BOTHER WITH TRANSITION?
Transition is a foundation, and something for communities to build upon and strenghten over time – ya know, the idea of… ‘building local resilience from external shocks’.
In light of what I’ve learnt thus far about Peak Oil and Climate Change this seems like a bloody good idea!

EXPECTATIONS
The thing of helping others to realise why this Transition thingy is such a good idea ain’t so easy, and this can be incredibly frustrating. Each of us are hopefully finding ways of learning to deal with the rollercoaster burn-out feeling. ?

MONKEY IN LOVE WITH PIGEON
http://cuteoverload.files.wordpress.com/cni_macaque_070914_ssh-1169-_tphq.jpg

LOGO
Transition Oxford – that’s a really excellent logo!

cliff
23 Sep 10:35am

‘Failure’?
‘stalls’?
Maybe…
but maybe success and maturation?
As in ‘been there, done that, learnt as much as I can for now, time to move on to something different’.
And then moving on to a different framework for developing the same underlying current.
‘TTN’ is not the only way. (Neither is permaculture, etc etc)
I’m sure TTN has further to run, and that the Oxford experience does represent failure in some respects, but to frame it primarily as such is to narrow the learnings available.
Incidentally, anyone in Oxford wanting to rejuvenate the Initiative, do go to http://www.transitionoxford.org.uk and get in touch!

Lucy
23 Sep 1:38pm

Thankyou for this honesty. It honours the collective learning at the heart of the process and I hope – from these comments you are getting – provides some solace. It’s a hard road isn’t it? It may be a funny little’ road (Rob’s recent great discovery from Moominland) but it has its rocks and boulders. For reasons that are hard to put into words, people leaving the group does prove a painful experience and a sharp reminder of how much the process is taxing one’s own (finite) resources. This is a genuinely helpful contribution to all our learning. Good luck. Nothing is ever wasted!

[…] some thoughts and ideas about the problems they've encountered as part of a learning process. See here. None of us are immune to these problems and i think some valuable lessons could be learnt. […]

Jane
25 Sep 11:29am

This posting is so valuable. We sense we’re heading the same way after the buzz of our launch last Feb. Some of us will be meeting next week – no socialising this time! – to have a serious look at where we head, and a copy of the post will be on the table!

It has taken me 18 months to get the hang of what the Transition thing is all about and I am beginning to realise that beginning to understand Permaculture takes a lot longer than that. What I am discovering is that people are changing their lives when they get involved in the Transition movement. It seems like there is volunteer burnout but I suspect that it is something deeper that is happening. I think people are discovering their own personal transition at the same time as trying to educate and inspire others in the community and, in the end, people decide that this personal transition is more important.
Hang in there TO. Nothing is wasted.

John Mason
27 Sep 1:27am

Grand post there Helen.

Transition happens on all sorts of levels, I think. We are so utterly saturated in and besieged by consumer-culture, whether we like it or not: it prevails and for me there has had to have been an element of walking-the-walk as well as talking-the-talk in order to get away from it to an extent. Before discovering oil depletion, transition etc, I had long held a sense, a very uncomfortable gut-feeling, that there was something very fundamentally wrong with the way we go about things here, but could not get a proper focus on it.

Jim Perrin, the excellent writer on climbing, says it very well in describing the push that made him solo, propped-up by cocaine, an extreme climb in Cheddar Gorge, in fairly desperate personal circumstances: “This day there was the momentum. I was down there inside somewhere quietly weeping, and all the while there was something inexorable going on.”

I think many of us in the TM have been quietly weeping for years, but not cutting loose and doing anything about it within our personal spheres, except what can only be described as gestures. Others have done much more, but not I: until I started out on veg-growing on a serious scale this February. Disillusioned by dwindling numbers at our meetings, a theme that repeats itself throughout this thread, in the end I felt I just had to break loose and walk that walk myself.

It’s the best thing I have done in many years. If that ends up being all that the TM has given me, I shall be eternally grateful (and I doubt it will be)!

I’ve gathered edible fungi and hunted down tasty fish from local beaches for a very long time, but neither activity, delightful as they are, have involved such an emotional committment as getting a veg garden to work has. A garden-swap (I own no property), it was in a sorry state when taken on, but the potential was obvious straight away. When I started, it was around the time that Barack Obama was telling his fellow Americans “Yes We Can!”…..

Anyone wanting a look at the project – lots of photos – it starts with:

http://www.geologywales.co.uk/storms/clearance.htm

and runs on for 4-5 pages!

Cheers – John

Steve Atkins
27 Sep 8:24am

John, thanks for sharing your garden-swap timeline. Amazing transformation, you must be really chuffed with what you’ve achieved.

There’s a lot to be said for getting on with the self-empowered practical stuff.

Sharing projects such as yours is a great inspiration for other people, eg, check out the 170 supporting letters for Pat Bowcock’s ‘Ourganics’ (permaculture smallholding) planning application in Dorset….

http://webapps.westdorset-dc.gov.uk/planningapplications/(S(okfcj045yul54p55w2lgc045))/pages/ApplicationDetails.aspx?Application=1%2fD%2f09%2f001292&Authority=West+Dorset+District+Council

Dave Dann
27 Sep 8:37pm

‘Solidarity’ to all who have posted on this thread!
‘Success’, ‘failure’? Who can tell?
Take the long view. Transition has only been around for a couple of years. It’s still only an infant in the scheme of things. Don’t be downhearted! There’s everything to play for yet. Start from yourself and get a garden like John and then try swapping some produce.

Ann Lamot
2 Oct 8:16am

My thanks to Transition Oxford for this honest and valuable posting. As a transition trainer, I will be using these observations in future trainings. They will serve many to help them reflect on where things might possibly become snagged.
Helen, I think you’ve got it spot on. I know personal transitions happenend for several of our Initiating group members, myself included. Not only does this take even more of your time and energy, but as you say, at least for a while the focus is on that. And then there is the psychological adjustment, where you and a few others are awake in a world of sleepers. It’s a lot to deal with, people just need to give themselves time. TO, you have a rest, consolidate and you’ll be back before you know it. Maybe send a couple of your people to one of our Trainings for Transition, other Initiatives have done so and found it revived and re-inspired them.
All the best
Ann