Transition Hertford is not alone in taking action. We are part of the Transition Network, a global grassroots movement that aims to help encourage, train and support communities in building healthy local economies and in reducing their dependence on oil.
So how do we aim to do all that?
We hope to follow a plan based on a series of 'ingredients' or areas of activity developed by the Transition Town movement. These are outlined below and but more detail is provided in the TT handbook. There is no prescribed order, and none of the steps are mandatory. Eventually we hope to catalyse and encourage activities across the town, and working with different elements in the community, draft Hertford's own 'Energy Descent Action Plan'. That would be a living document, feeding on experience and regularly updated, to give cohesion to efforts across the town.
If you want to know more about these ideas, you should visit the Transition Network's guide. But here's a condensed version...
1.Set up a steering group. This is a core team to drive the project forward during the initial phases
2. Awareness raising. Build networks and prepare the community in general for the launch of your Transition initiative. Regular film screenings, talks, discussions, film festivals, etc
3. Lay the foundations. Network with existing groups, and work with them to explore how the Transition Town initiative can incorporate their previous efforts and future inputs by looking at the future in a new way.
In these early stages we must aim to provide an overview of peak oil, what it means, how it relates to climate change, how it might affect the community, and the key challenges it presents. We must set out our thinking about how a Transition Town process might be able to act as a catalyst for getting the community to explore solutions and to begin thinking about grassroots mitigation strategies.
4. Organise a Great Unleashing. Marks the project’s “coming of age”, builds momentum and celebrates the community’s desire to take action. PARTY!
5. Form sub groups. Tap into the community's collective genius. Examples? food, waste, energy, education, youth, economics, transport, water, local government. Would a local currency help local businesses, perhaps? Each harnesses local enthusiasm and looks at their area and tries to determine the best ways to build community resilience and reduce the carbon footprint.
6. Use Open Space. Open Space Technology is a highly effective approach to running meetings for Transition Town initiatives. Explanation and links to come
7. Develop practical manifestations. Set up active projects etc
8. Facilitate the Great Reskilling. We’ll need many of the skills that our grandparents took for granted. One of the most useful things a Transition Town project can do is to reverse the “great deskilling” of the last 40 years by offering training in a range of some of these skills. Research. Courses. Learning.
9. Build a bridge to Local Government. Cultivate a positive and productive relationship with our local authority.
10. Honour the elders. There is much to be learnt from how things were done during the transition to the age of cheap oil - the period between 1930 and 1960. Talks. Research. Exchange ideas.
11. Let it go where it wants to go… If we try and hold onto a rigid vision, the project will stall. Act as a catalyst for the community to design its own transition.
12. Create an Energy Descent Plan. This is the ultimate aim for Transition Hertford. Pools the collective genius of the community and uses it to design the town's Energy Descent Action Plan. A strategic plan, a pathway for Hertford, to take account of the potential threats from Peak Oil and Climate Change. Timescale? 10 years maybe...
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