On Monday 7 November three Transition groups shared their stories online (recorded), followed by informal discussion (not recorded)

Speakers:

  1. Tim Drylie, Transition Creswick, Vic
  2. Monica Winston, Transition Streets Geelong, Vic
  3. Karen Majer, Transition Margaret River

A couple of themes emerged:

(1) COVID and coming out of lock-down and

(2) how to be sustainable in our sustainability projects. Balance. Passion. Keeping up the momentum.

This anecdote was shared in the discussion afterwards:

When visiting a large garden club she was delighted and inspired by what she saw. In response to her compliments, the gardener there said ‘I see all the things that haven’t been done, you see all the lovely things that have been done’.  The lesson being to remind ourselves of the inspiring bits, don’t get discouraged. In the same way, a condensed story is inspiring, but represents months and years of work and challenges.

Here are some notes on the presentations – please view the video to hear the whole story.

1. Transition Creswick – Tim Drylie

Started Transition Creswick about 6 years ago. Have a strong connection with Creswick Neighbourhood Centre, a venue for many events.

Other connections:

Hepburn Shire – Tim is currently the Mayor

Hepburn Z-net, with a Community Plan aiming for net zero emissions by 2030

Community Round Table at Shire level.

Events and activities over the years:
  • Monthly food swap – has been ongoing for years
  • Film and Discussion
  • Co-housing
  • Sustainable building and design
  • Permaculture
  • Tap into the knowledge and expertise of the local community
  • Boomerang bags
  • Garden blitzes
  • Home energy efficiency – have done 64 upgrades, in partnership with the Shire and Hepburn Wind
  • Indigenous food and fibre plants – involving school children
  • Biodiversity walk and talk
  • Market stalls

A Harvest Festival was fully planned, all set to go, then cancelled because of lockdown.

A lot of elders have moved out of the area in last few years.

A time of rebuilding after Covid, numbers at events 12 – 15 people lately, whereas before Covid used to be 40 – 50 people.

Most recent event was Sustainable Hepburn launch 29 October 2022

Link to Transition Creswick Facebook

2. Transition Streets Geelong – Monica Winston

Started 2017 with groups based on the Transition Streets workbook.

Had just managed to complete 11 major workshops and a festival with a $150,000 grant, when Covid hit.

At that time had 25 Transition Streets groups across Geelong, some of these groups have fallen over due to Covid.

Recently received a Council grant for $10,000 for strategic planning with a focus on food sovereignty and food security. Tried a community picnic for community planning, but attendance very low. Observed that, since Covid, attendance at large events is unpredictable.  Instead tried several edible garden blitzes and used those for strategic planning. That has worked well.  In the past, for someone starting a Transition Streets group, have supplied the host with 200 flyers. Did the same this time, supplying the host with 200 flyers inviting people to an edible garden blitz and an ongoing food-growing group. Have had 20 – 35 people turn up per blitz.

This change in focus illustrates the importance of reading the social landscape. Focus on connection, real grassroots connection. Allow things to move organically. The Transition Streets movement draws leaders out of the community.

Link to Transition Streets Geelong Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/transitionstreetsgeelong/

Read more about Transition Streets here

3. Transition Margaret River – Karen Majer

Margaret River has had its share of climate damage (fire, not floods), and shortage of housing.

Focus is wholistic and wide ranging – including individual interests and a wide range of partnerships.

Share everything: information, ideas, the work and the good times.

Run seminars and workshops, as do many other groups.

Are ‘non-political, but make voices heard.

Newsletter holds everything together, produced by two members; a way for 18 organisations to share good news.

Stalls at markets and Ag Show allow creative engagement, and especially appeal to young people and parents.

Represented on Council and contribute to local planning, work with the local chamber of commerce.

Partnerships for events are often funded by the shire.

Provide local models for gardens and ways of living.

Each year decide on a theme as a focus for events  eg food, water, energy (a wind-farm grew out of this), the climate emergency (lots of actions), transport (this one is a challenge).

Events currently also include a coffee morning to share news in a community garden.

Death And Dying:  a new group recently incorporated, has created a natural burial ground.

Peace And Social Justice: nuclear power, refugees come to speak.

CHALLENGES:  grief of a member – this led to ‘‘a mourning community’.

Covid – workshop burnout.

Big Transition – provide a narrative for groups to form; and Small Transition – many small groups forming.

Community building and having fun – have annual festive celebration.

Karen and her husband are living their values by building in an ecovillage, as are some other Transitioners in WA.

Links for further reading:

Transition Margaret River

Transition Margaret River presentation for Webinar Oct 2020

Life in an Ecovillage

 

Notes compiled by Kit Shepherd and Mary Stringer Nov 2022