Transition Whatcom

Wednesday, Nov. 16th at 7:00PM, Transition Whatcom hosts a Literature Live event at Village Books, to introduce The Transition Companion by Rob Hopkins.



The 16th seems to be sustainability day in Bellingham.  There are a number of good events happening around town, from a bicycle travelogue to a film about Aldo Leopold.  Why would you want to attend this one?


Should you attend?  Here are some reasons you might want to.

  • If you're new to Transition - this will be an excellent way to learn about the basics of who we are and what we do and why we do it.
  • If you've been around TW for a while - this will be an excellent chance to learn what the latest thinking is and why the Transition Companion offers an approach that is somewhat different from the Transition Handbook.
  • If you missed the Great Unleashing - you'll get a chance to see Rob Hopkins' video greeting to Whatcom County (not yet available online).
  • If you're curious about Riverhaven Community Farm  - Chris Wolf will be on hand to share about this exciting experiment in DIY resilience building, as well as her time working with the TW Initiating Group.
  • If you're curious what the TW Operating Group is currently working on - Warren Miller will be in attendance to share about TWOG activities.
  • If you're wondering what photos from Transition Whatcom are included in this international book - we will show you what's on page 133.
  • If you're fascinated to know why David McLeod (Rob mis-spelled my name) is listed in the book's acknowledgements - we will read what's on page 135.
  • If you'd like to have a flavor of the book's contents - we will read some short excerpts.
  • If you'd rather watch creative short videos - we will have those as well, from nu-projects "Transition in 10 Objects" series and Cultivate's "Surfing the Waves of Change".
  • If you want to be home and curled up with your own copy of the book before nine o'clock - we will conclude by 8 or 8:15pm, to ensure you don't have to expect a late night out on a weekday!

Well, I could go on, but I think you get the idea.  We'll have a variety of options, depending on who shows up and what the interest is, and we'll entertain questions and comments.


The primary focus bringing us together is the new book on how to make our communities more resilient in uncertain times.  Hopkins calls it a "revolutionary leap forward in the Transition model" and refers to it as a "replacement" of the Transition Handbook.  I think I'll always feel a strong affinity for the original Handbook, but Hopkins has two valid reasons for calling it a replacement:

1. The Handbook isn’t actually available any more apart from as an ebook (Village Books still has copies, get them while you can).
2. The Companion is a completely reworked, far more up to date evolution of what was in the Handbook, that far more accurately reflects that Transition has now become.

I personally think this book is an extremely valuable contribution.  The largest section of the book is devoted to the "Ingredients" of Transition - a compendium of various tools, techniques, and ideas that could help any group, Transition Initiative or not, to be more effective in working together for the positive changes we would like to see happen in our communities.

As reviewer Jeremy Williams has noted:

There is no one way to transition your town or city beyond fossil fuels. Only tailor made local approaches are going to work, approaches that honour local history and tradition, and that respond to the specific needs of people and place. But in exploring what others are doing, in looking at what has worked, and what has failed and why, certain patterns emerge – good ideas to try and pitfalls to avoid.

Those ideas are written up as ‘ingredients’ and tools for setting up and running a transition initiative, things to consider or to think through – how to live up to the claim of being inclusive; should you have an office or not; celebrating failures as well as successes; mini how-tos on fund raising and public speaking. Whether you’re starting out or well on already, there’s plenty here to learn from.

In keeping with the  ‘pattern language‘ inspiration of the book, it is divided into short numbered sections. Each has a one or two sentence summary at the start,  and a ‘you may also enjoy’ box at the end. It makes the book easy to dip in and out of, browsing the bits you’re most interested in or are most relevant. The ‘companion’ title an apt one.


Finally, consider the recommendation of Bill McKibben:


What Rob Hopkins has done - in this book, and with the Transition movement - simply couldn't be more important. We're coming to a powerful crunch time for our civilization, and if you read this you'll be well ahead of the curve in understanding how to prepare your community. There's much beauty here, and hope.

I encourage us all to follow McKibben's advice, and learn more tools for how to prepare this precious community that we love. Let's learn from and be inspired by the collective wisdom from other Transition communites that are reflected in this book, and let's continue to make Transition Whatcom a stronger and more potent organization contributing to the resilience of Whatcom County!



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Many thanks to all who attended last night's event at Village Books! I enjoyed the questions and the interaction that we had.

I'll use this space as a place for follow up. One of you mentioned Jeremy Rifkin's book "The Third Industrial Revolution," and I mentioned a powerful video interview with Rifkin which can be found by clicki...


On a related note, one of the chapters in The Transition Companion is called "Where We Might Be Headed: The Power of Future Scenarios."  Hopkins writes, "Taking an interest in peak oil, climate change and economics leads to one being introduced to a wildly eclectic mixture of opinions, models, world views and people, each with differing senses of what kind of future may lie ahead of us."  Hopkins goes on to categorize the range of responses and scenarios in a helpful chart on pages 42 and 43.   Hopkins and Transition Training favors the Future Scenarios offered by David Holmgren (and I do too).  Village Books carries copies, click here.


Because I wanted some flexibility, I had more material prepared than we had time for last night.  Below are some of the things we didn't get to. 


We didn't get to hear from TW Operating Group member Warren Miller. Apologies to Warren, I'm sure he would have shared some exciting TWOG stories, such as telling us about the great Placemaking events held earlier this year, and some upcoming ideas, perhaps related to Resilience Circles or a plan for a Home Energy Efficiency project. 


We only had a chance for one reading from the book, and we missed discussing the Transition Whatcom photo on page 133 from our Great Unleashing, and my claim to fame on page 135:

"David McLeod of Transition Whatcom suggested a 'crazy quilt' [Transition model], where small, irregular pieces are stitched into a practical and attractive whole." 

Actually, this metaphor was introduced to TW by Cindi Landreth, but I was the one who communicated it to Hopkins. But I have to admit I enjoyed finding my name in 3 places in the book: the Acknowledgements on page 9, the quote above on page 135, and the index on page 316.  :-)


Of the videos available, we only had time for the one Greeting from Rob Hopkins, but you can view the others through the links offered in the message above.  One of the nu-project videos is on Transition Streets, where households work together to support each other in energy saving measures.  This is an idea we may try to replicate. In the book, this is on page 201, "Tools for Transition No. 12: Street by Street Behavior Change."

Thanks again to those who attended, and remember, you can still purchase The Transition Companion through this link, which will support both Transition Whatcom and your local independent bookseller.



~ Thank you David!  Great presentation!

I look forward to this presentation happening again soon with more time available to discuss more and hear more..... :)

Do you have a link to the welcoming Rob gave to Whatcom county folks for the Great Unleashing?


In gratitude,  Jamie


Thank you for the good comments.  Would you like one more longer discussion/presentation, or are you interested in the following:

Warren and I discussed the idea of having an ongoing book study group, perhaps with some flexibility to have other options for ongoing discussion.  Is that something people are interested in?


The Rob Hopkins video is not online.  When I was trying to get it online last year I realized I didn't have all of the tools needed.  I have more tools now, so maybe we can make this happen soon.  We also have the keynote presentations from Vicki Robin, Trathen Heckman, and Frances Moore Lappe' on disc, if anyone wants to check them out from the TW Library.  Hopefully we'll get them online sometime as well.

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