Transition Whatcom Meeting “How to start a Transition Initiative” 10/18/2009 Held at “Bloom” Vegetarian Restaurant in Bellingham.
These are ideas discussed and proposed by all of the people who attended the meeting, and are not in any particular order of action.
Question: “How are you going to start to create a transition initiative (TI)?”
1. Go to the Transition Whatcom (TW) site and search for members in my local area.
2. Have a movie night and invite neighbors over to see it.
3. Start a neighborhood gardening club to share methods and tips on growing different plants. Find out in casual conversation who among the neighbors is also thinking about transition ideas.
4. Create a team from your neighbors who are like-minded who will be the core members of the new TI. 4 or 5 people are about the right number. You can’t do it all be yourself.
5. Be sure to make the team balanced in regards to having enough thinkers and planners and having enough do’ers who will actually get the work done.
6. Discuss with the team the distribution of different skills present among the neighbors they know. (Doctors, nurses, builders, electricians, cooks, etc.)
7. Make a map of the different skill sets available in your neighborhood and then ask the question “Which skills are missing?”.
8. Have visioning meetings and invite the neighbors in. Ask the question “What do you want our neighborhood to be like in the years to come?”
9. Have a listening project – What do people want out of their community?
10. Create an identity for the new TI. Give it a name.
11. Give a presentation to your neighborhood association about transition ideas and ask the TWIG members to come help you do it. They have resource materials available in the form of movies etc.
12. Decide on how big an area the new TI should encompass. A 20-minute walk across the diameter of the area? A 20-minute walk as the radius of the area?
13. Some neighborhoods obviously are already defined and have names.
14. How can you motivate neighbors to respond and want to join in the new TI?
15. Invite the neighbors with what motivates them. (Needs, hobbies, skills – gardening, parades, potlucks, kids activities, ham radio club, chicken coop tour, etc.)
16. Determine the best way for neighbors to communicate. (Email, local newspaper or flyer, etc.)
17. Make a list of names and phone numbers and distribute it to all neighbors so that in a time of emergency they know they have someone local to call.
18. Include all neighbors in the distribution of ideas and goals even though they may not be on the same page with you at this time. Someday when they finally see the storm clouds and get the message about transition, they will know who to contact and will feel included even though they have not been in the planning up to that point. Inclusion is a transition principle.
19. One local lady who is already doing a lot of these things is Flip Breskin. She has a website.
20. Leave food at a neighbor’s doorstep and leave notes about transition ideas or meeting notices in the basket with the food.
21. Create visible projects to get people involved. Bike parades, bike-moving services, a neighborhood sign that is in a spot that will be seen by all neighbors as they pass by, invite families with kids to join in the fun of potlucks, games, etc.
22. Start small. This is important! The amount of effort put forth to motivate people will have the greatest effect on a small group. Then others from the small group can join you to motivate others.
23. Meeting your neighbors is one of the most important things to do to start the new TI.
24. “We are not used to locating ourselves within our area” Low cost gasoline and transportation enable us to travel to be with our friends, “our community” who we depend on for companionship, etc. So now we need to see our community as where we live and become friends with our neighbors, because when times are really hard we will be dependent on our neighbors for many things.
25. Producing high quality food grown locally to be shared or sold to local people can be a vehicle to get transition discussions started.
26. Join a local organization like the chamber of commerce to introduce the transition idea into local government actions in the community.
27. Write articles and put them into local publications to educate people about transition principles, events, etc.
28. Look up what others have done. Go to and search out what other TI’s have done and are doing. (Vermont, Sand Point Idaho, LA)
29. Meet people where they are.
30. Search on You-Tube for Transition Towns. Try looking for Langsport England.
31. Search for .
32. Delegate tasks within the core group so that all members of the group feel like they own the group or a part of it.
Question: “What are your deepest concerns?”
1. Food security.
3. People’s preparedness or the lack of it, and their reactions to what will happen in the future.
4. People’s lack of awareness and their consumer mentality.
5. Educating people about the coming problems we all will be facing.
6. Conservative investment – sense of being outside, fringe.
7. Difficulty communicating – geographic, social and architectural barriers.
8. Don’t know neighborhood – loss of contact, communication.
9. The economy.
10. Don’t have a community – nomadic lifestyles, no permanent home; this is an issue for many young people.
11. Companion issue is older people who have homes but need help with doing the work around the home.
12. Being isolated.
13. Differences between people.
15. Money differences.
Question: “What are you passionate about?”
4. Bridging the gap between science and community.
5. Community energy projects and development.
6. Interaction with developing countries and communities.
7. Reforesting programs for riparian buffers.
8. Living lightly on the earth.
10. Economic issues.
12. Home composting.
13. Categorizing skills of local transition members.
14. Community gatherings.
15. Community gardens, or a community cow, orchard, etc.
16. Non-Violent Communication.
17. Seed saving.
18. Water quality and quantity.