Transition Whatcom

Hi Transitioneers-
This will be a weekly posting from members of the TWOG (Transition Whatcom Organizing Group). Our goal is to share some of our personal thoughts about Transition Whatcom; to bring up what we are concerned about, celebrate what we are energized by and in general talk about where we are currently in our own Transition. We promise to cover items we think are current and topical, to not repeat items already in emails and other postings, and to try and share some of our personal thoughts, not just messages from the TWOG as a group.

Our hope is that this will provide a forum for others to share their thoughts and experiences, give us feedback on any questions or concerns we post and in general start good conversations- the kind of thing we might (and hope to!) do around periodic potlucks and other events. We will cycle thru each of the eight TWOG members (and then recycle) to see if Transition Whatcom members find the Blog useful, informative and enlightening- so give us your feedback over the next couple of months and then we will revisit the Blog to see if we need to make changes or do something different. Personally, I’m looking forward to more potlucks and face-to-face conversations, but till then, the Blog seems like a good next step.

So- what has been on my mind? I have been thinking about the Transition Process and reading about some of the Permaculture Principles that are at the foundation. One principle that strikes me in particular I think of as the ‘Energy at the Edge’. The places where different crops, climates and people come together always seem to be the most energizing and productive. Who doesn’t feel energized at the beach or on a mountain top or in a river? Transition Whatcom is at an edge too, with the previous group, the Transition Whatcom Initiating Group (TWIG), moving aside for the new group, the Transition Whatcom Organizing Group (TWOG). We had a great meeting just over a week ago where the TWIG and TWOG got together to share ideas and experiences. It was an energizing and enlightening ‘Edge’ for many reasons. (You can read the notes from the meeting in the TWOG Schedule Discussion).

Take some time and look for the ‘Energy at the Edge’ as we make our way on our Transition journey. I think it will help give you the energy, perspective and resilience you need to help others find their way too.

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11.01.10
Today is the Day of the Dead.
Transition themes storming my head-
my life, post-peak oil, the state of our soil,
"awh...can't I just go back to bed?"

No, I can't, 'cause Transition is a verb.
(And a name, and a balm, like an herb.)
There's choices to make, and actions to take,
with the power to heal or to perturb.

I strive for an element of grace
in these challenging times that we face.
But today I'm bereaved in the paradigms I believed in-
Beliefs I'll have to replace. (at a fast pace)

But how I'm inspired by creation!
and instincts of regeneration-
Oh, and on that note, please remember to vote,
let's rebuild an engaged, active nation!

Transition time, now is the season-
You know in your bones all the reasons.
Let's do all we can and start making a (Energy Descent Action) Plan,
grow food, and build hives to keep bees in!

Thank you for witnessing my yearning
I feel awkward but I'm trying, and I'm learning.
I know we're far better off working together
and I hope that your trust I am earning.

Cheers, Laura jean
Wow! Great limerick work!
Love, Juliet

Laura J Sellens said:
11.01.10
Today is the Day of the Dead.
Transition themes storming my head-
my life, post-peak oil, the state of our soil,
"awh...can't I just go back to bed?"

No, I can't, 'cause Transition is a verb.
(And a name, and a balm, like an herb.)
There's choices to make, and actions to take,
with the power to heal or to perturb.

I strive for an element of grace
in these challenging times that we face.
But today I'm bereaved in the paradigms I believed in-
Beliefs I'll have to replace. (at a fast pace)

But how I'm inspired by creation!
and instincts of regeneration-
Oh, and on that note, please remember to vote,
let's rebuild an engaged, active nation!

Transition time, now is the season-
You know in your bones all the reasons.
Let's do all we can and start making a (Energy Descent Action) Plan,
grow food, and build hives to keep bees in!

Thank you for witnessing my yearning
I feel awkward but I'm trying, and I'm learning.
I know we're far better off working together
and I hope that your trust I am earning.

Cheers, Laura jean
WOW, Nice Poem Laura! There is no way I am going to be able to top this for my blog :)
Awh shucks, thanks guys...
Hello, I am Travis and I am one of the TWOGs. I have struggled trying to figure out what to write about in this BLOG, so I figured I would just tell you a little about myself.

I am an Engineering struggling to transition to a more sustainable lifestyle. This last year has been a major journey for me. I transitioned out of a job that I hated, to a summer of self employment and into a job that I like this fall. The summer of self employment was an eye opener and I determined that I was not ready for self employment, first I need to downscale and simplify my life. But easier said than done when you have family to support and want to provide for them every opportunity that I can. So I have returned partially back to where I was, but I am not beating myself up over it anymore. I am content, at least for now. I have scaled back a lot of my side work, but am still helping people convert diesel vehicles to run on waste vegetable oil and I am still selling berry plants. And rather than feeling the need to transition to a back to the earth lifestyle (farming) in the near future, I have joined a group aimed at creating an ecovillage, which I hope to live at some day, with my family.

We are continuing to meet amazing people through Transition Whatcom and we are teaching our daughters how to care for the planet the best we can, and live more sustainably. But more education on sustainablility will have to come later. I always liked the saying -"He who teaches his child to live on small means leaves him/her a fortune. – E.L. Benedict"

Well, if you want to learn more about myself, there is lots to digest on my personal Blog (http://greenconversion.blogspot.com/) and my website (http://www.greenconversion.net).

Please feel free to post comments, we'd like to see this BLOG become more interactive.

thanks,

Travis
TWOG Blog for the Wk of 11/15

Welcome to fall and the transition to winter transition readers! I had snow at my home this morning since I live at a thousand feet and get the white stuff before most of you. I am Tom Anderson the one member of the TWIG that became a TWOG. I am excited by the energy and talent of the TWOG group and although we may all be frustrated by how fast things do or don’t happen I feel good about this group and their dedication to supporting transition in our local area.

What is most on my mind these days as I work to transition my life is jobs and money. As some of you know I left employment as the General Manager of Public Utility District #1 of Whatcom County in 1996 and became a self employed engineering consultant. I made that change for lots of good reasons and have no regrets about doing it. Financially it worked great until late 2008. However, it is clear to me that with the economic downturn my ability to easily make money in the system we call a society has been impacted by events. Luckily I have no current debt so the tough times can be dealt with. I don’t see how people with mortgages who end up unemployed currently make it work. This brings me to what I see as a major hurdle. The pressure on most families from stagnant or decreasing wages in the face of increasing costs of living contributes to significant stress.

As I have attempted to transition my life towards a more sustainable style, I have become increasingly frustrated by the difficulty in participating in the system in a meaningful way to make a living and make real transitions in my life style at the same time. I am very thankful for my friends in the transition movement who provide me so much inspiration by their own efforts at transition. The examples out there of individuals making real change towards personal sustainability inspire me to keep working at it. This brings me to the importance of our collective effort Transition Whatcom. The real value, for me, of this effort is in the connections to people and inspiration I am provided daily by others. At the same time it is clear to me that with the pressures and stresses being placed on our collective culture by the changes that are taking place it is more and more difficult to keep people engaged and actively taking part in events. I have to remind myself that the urgencies proclaimed by the cracks showing in the big picture are not real threats but only the stress of a system in the throws of major change. Transition Whatcom offers, for me, a possibility of a better future but I have to do the personal work and at the same time help maintain the connections in the movement if I want that future to be positive. I am excited by the progress and at the same time frustrated by the greater need for change and have to remind myself daily to have patience. Please keep up the effort. Transition Whatcom the sprouting seed of our collective brighter future together, it needs all of our gardeners love and patience to grow and flower into its full possibilities.
Twog Blog for the week of 11/29/10

The weather has changed, we're in the dark time now. Our first bout with severe weather has come and gone. The snow was refreshing; I put on my skis and toured around the gravel pit behind the farm on Thanksgiving day. Then the next day it was gone, as if it had never been!

So many things inspire and awaken my heart in these days where there seems to be just a bit more time to read, to listen, to reflect, and to enjoy solitude and quiet. The ideas I cultivate that are near to heart of Transition have as much to do with looking to my neighbors, connecting with my new community, learning how to lead, and coming from a place of groundedness. I notice so often how we're willing to travel for new experiences, and we look to those who are far away for refreshing our perspectives. How often do we look to our neighbors? Who are they? How do we learn to live with them when they sometimes seem difficult or different? And when all of that seems like too much, why not live in this big world while we still can? I always thought I'd travel the world. What difference does it really make if I give up traveling now, or when the cost is really reflective of the shortages we know are coming?

These are questions that take a really strong moral compass to maneuver, and mine is rushing towards Siberia. Have you learned or heard yet that magnetic north is actually moving towards Siberia at an unprecedented rate in correspondence to large shifts in the earth's molten core? Things seem to be changing at a pace faster than anyone had anticipated, so many feedback loops an unexpected convergences.

Change IS coming, and we are all helping to lead the way. And since we can only start where we are....Transition Whatcom's Assembly on December 11th will be held at the wonderful Center for Expressive Arts on Commercial St. above UISCE from 12 to 4. This is an opportunity to plan together, and to become involved in working on a project as a group - Whatcom County's Energy Descent Action Plan. I hope everyone will come and bring their expertise as we make a plan to connect the dots of local food production, energy production, transportation, building and economy, arts and education. We all have our piece of the puzzle to contribute, and I look forward to meeting everyone in TW. Hope you'll be able to take the time to be there.

I've lived in Bellingham for almost 20 years. I moved from town to Inspiration Farm about seven months ago. And what a change! Within that time frame I have changed jobs, closed a company, downsized big time, learning to grow more food, learned to milk cows and goats and make cheese. I totally appreciate being here, and the work we do towards creating community, reskilling ourselves and others, and especially - working with animals. I stay here without going much of anywhere usually 3 days a week. I have good work which I am grateful for - but it's most likely a short-term gig - a grant funded position. My husband is learning the really old way of doing agriculture in Norway, and will come back and show us what he's learned someday, I hope...I look forward to a future where my/our skills fit the world we live in. It's going to be okay. I feel confident in this, and I want to share that.

So that's all for now, feel free to respond with any of your own thoughts, and hope to see you on December 11th. I wanted to add a few Thanksgiving photos, and will do that tomorrow.

Brussel sprouts, broccoli and herbs harvested from the snow
Tom- I was thinking about this just today. I vacillate between purposefully "forgetting" for a while about the problems that we are going to have to deal with, and looking peak oil in the eye and feeling totally depressed and stressed about the possible future and even just so many unknowns. When I am really rock bottom realistic and in full doom mode, I have little energy to engage in group resilience-building activities and socializing-- even though I know that is probably the best remedy! Overwhelmed = tired and introspective. Ug!
12/7/10 Blog from the TWOG

One of the things I have been doing recently is looking oat the membership growth we have had over the last year. We have 783 members as of today- and we are averaging about 30 new members a month! When new members are asked how they found out about Transition Whatcom, a vast majority of them they say a friend told them about us, they looked at what we are doing and decided to become a member.

If you are excited about the opportunity we have to create more self-reliant local communities PLEASE tell your friends about Transition Whatcom! That is the easiest and best way to get people involved. The more people we have working together the more resilient we will become.
LOVE the illustration on the home page!

Thanks twog friends for all to the work you do in our community!

The writing you all post here are great to read and have a wonderful personal flavor!

 

I'm volunteering to be part of the EDAP team within a theme group related to ecological restoration.

I don't know where the current location is online for planning EDAP group meetings & discussion, but David M started a work-group with related discussion here:

http://transitionwhatcom.ning.com/group/workgroup/forum/topics/work-groups-purposeenergy

 

Please pass my name on to a related theme group that is formed during the Assembly & Council, as I will Not be able to attend the full day.

There are other folks interested in helping with the EDAP who will not be able to attend the Dec Assembly.

I've posted a volunteer request to the members of our Earth Gardens Network to assist with the EDA.

 

Response per Warren's twog-blog discussion :

...”Our hope is that this will provide a forum for others to share their thoughts and experiences, give us feedback on any questions or concerns we post and in general start good conversations- the kind of thing we might (and hope to!) do around periodic potlucks and other events.... so give us your feedback over the next couple of months and then we will revisit the Blog to see if we need to make changes or do something different..... Personally, I’m looking forward to more potlucks and face-to-face conversations, but till then, the Blog seems like a good next step....”

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