Transition Whatcom

Hi there - Juliet speaking,

We moved the Blog from the Twog to the Blog page - this came from a member's suggestion, and helps to provide a bit more coherence when looking for this weekly blog posting.


We've got a proposal that we'd like to get members feedback on - so if you see this Blog posting, we'd really love to hear what you think about this proposed annual renovation to the ning site - and New Year's is the perfect time to talk about it - a time of renewal and reconsideration of how to improve our efforts for the coming year!




Background: We've received many comments about how to make the ning site easier to navigate, especially when it comes to the GROUPS. This also connects to our larger Transition Mission - How do we help people have a clear call to Transition related action? How do we help create meaning by inspiring groups to meet face-to-face and take on the physical effort of working together on projects, documenting their work, and inspiring others? We know that this social network site is merely a means to an end - and is supposed to help make it easy to spread the word - which is:  HEY - YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THIS TRANSITION THING BY YOURSELF! IT CAN BE AN AMAZING AMOUNT OF FUN! 


More nuts and bolts reasons to make changes to the groups:

  • Groups become inactive - peoples' interests change.
  • A group Creator moves to new neighborhood and no longer want to lead their Transition Initiative (ie. Transition Birchwood, Transition Samish, etc.), 
  • Some groups are merely discussion groups and do not intend to meet or do much more than share their best thinking on subjects ( a valuable process in and of itself - but we may want to clarify that).

The Proposal (Thanks to Rick Flug for this proposal):  Every year (in January?) we will archive the ning site. The Ning site creator (David McLeod) has the capacity to archive the site. That way any important information will be available to the group leaders - though I'm sure there is more to find out about this process - we don't have all the details yet.

The Twogs will make their best effort to determine who is leading each group, whether or not it is the group creator. They will ask the person if they want to continue to lead the group into the new year. If the group creator needs to be changed because the group is either inactive, or the Creator is not participating in the group anymore, the group will be deleted. (I've deleted a group before, it's not so bad).

Then the group can be recreated with a fresh leader, and any other renovations the group leader proposes - to the photo, the group's mission, etc. The trick will be is that everyone will need to rejoin the groups that have been deleted and re-created. This will give each member an opportunity to re-consider what groups they want to participate in during the coming year. That's basically it... What do you think?


The personal contact to each group leader will help the Twog to provide guidelines regarding what we've noticed that helps make for an effective group, and will help us to focus and guide groups that want to participate in creating the EDAP - the Energy Descent Action Plan for Whatcom County.


So PLEASE give us any feedback you have on this proposal - it would be super helpful to hear from you....


THE ASSEMBLY ON DECEMBER 11TH was a wonderful event! Thanks to all who participated. A wonderful innovative idea came out of this event - Warren will be posting the minutes from the Assembly, but I encourage all the Twogs to continue to celebrate and write about the important and fascinating group interactions that occurred on that day at the Center for Creative Expression. My deepest thanks to all who attended.

Back to the idea that I am hoping will unify us, get us meeting each other face-to-face, and provide a huge dose of participatory fun to our local Transition effort: Adam Ward and Chris Wolf will organize a monthly Transition Drinks at a roving location (very similar to Green Drinks) with areas for focused conversations and idea sharing around major EDAP subjects:  i.e., Food Security, Transportation, Energy Production, Heart and Soul, Economy, Housing, Education, Waste - with some note taking and summaries created at each gathering. So stay tuned - we should be hearing from the organizers soon. Or contact Adam or Chris and ask how you can help make this happen. 


A Very HAPPY NEW YEAR  to all - I'm off to trim the goats hooves!!

Love, Juliet


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Comment by Juliet Thompson on January 15, 2011 at 10:16am


Thought I'd respond to some requests I've seen on this blog. I'm going to move the requests to the discussion "Collaborating with the Twog" so that other twogs (or anyone else) can feel free to answer.

Comment by Erin Dixon on January 10, 2011 at 4:35pm
cut/pasted article sections referenced in my previous post:  

The Transition Town Movement’s Initial Genius

  "However, the transition movement strives not to “go back to the land,” but to increase the resilience of communities. If there is a guiding romance in the movement, it would be less the self-sufficient rural life, than the engaged town or neighborhood, rich in human contacts and cooperation.

...Part of the appeal of the transition movement is its quiet doubt about this assumption [economy returning to some semblence of normal...or recovery; eg., no such thing as peak everything]. Perhaps we can find an even better way of living, even under conditions of “energy descent.” .....

In the face of the challenges it has taken aboard, the transition movement will succeed at the very least in raising consciousness, in part because it suggests tangible constructive action. With each row of vegetables planted and each solar panel installed, it wins the right to say, “oh, this is necessary, but it’s also enlivening to do, isn’t it?”....

Repeating the observation of a leading environmentalist, Brownlee says that Martin Luther King did not tell the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial, “I have a nightmare.” King did not need to describe the nightmare because his people were living it. They needed a dream. “But we, I fear, are living a dream,” Brownlee continues. “We need to be reminded of the nightmare ahead… We will never do the things that are needed unless we know the full extent of our predicament.” "  excerpts taken from

The Transition Town Movement’s Initial Genius

By Craig Comstock

30 November, 2010


Comment by Juliet Thompson on January 10, 2011 at 4:34pm

Hi Erin,

If you're online, I'd love to talk with you about the TW ning site, and give you a few pointers as to where you can go with this conversation or in general, give you a brief tour by phone. Call me if you have a few minutes, or send your phone number: 398-9750.


Comment by Erin Dixon on January 10, 2011 at 4:21pm

Hello everyone!  I am seeking inspiration for some perspiration today.  I am whipped - 24 hours, precisely of our first ever attempt at 'birthing chicks' with no chick mama.  Made a number of mistakes despite obsessing over reading all the blogs, ebooks, online experts, chicken egg dealers, etc whilst awaiting their arrival - but there is an art, a knack perhaps at hatching chicken eggs that takes practice.  If I had not learned from these mistakes (and trained my helpers (husband and kidlets) I would have to retire before getting started.  24 hours of no sleep and 'helping' eggs I messed up - more tedius than peeling a fresh/organic hard boiled egg - with super hard, uncooperative shells.  I felt more like a surgeon than a homesteader starting a herd of chickens.  But success - I only killed ONE personally, the others just didnt take - so out of 18 eggs, we have 13 alive and peeping-pooping baby chicks today.  Sorry, this is not the chicken blog but to the point my explanation for my need for inspiration - I am tired, its cold, cloudy and frankly - I deserve a break today, and won't go to McDonalds, so am reading, researching and seeing where the internet leads me, too tired to focus. Interestingly, I found some articles that are relevant to recent posts here at the Transitions site (I may be in the wrong space entirely, if so I apologize, I have not entirely figured out this site nor can I devote any more time to doing that - so I read what I find where my auto emails land me and I try to contribute - too much I am sure - but looking for something useful to do despite this being the 'time of rest' - the winter season.  No doubt, most folks are doing just that having had a productive spring, summer, fall behind them - but we were in the process of moving, the job transition and so on, so I am itching to do something towards or with the 'transition movement'.  Long story short - I am posting articles I found of interest and links to same in case anyone out there now or years from now finds them useful or interesting as I did.  Perhaps some have already seen these, and if so, we read the same stuff so give me a call and lets find a project or some face to face 'movement' for the remaining winter weeks/months.  The reading that inspired me to post this is in the next post - really worth checking out.  I read a lot of stuff and not all would I bother passing on, most of it too often, is not all that unique - mostly repetitive or lacking usefulness.  (see next post for better writing/info sharing than this was!)    

Comment by Erin Dixon on January 10, 2011 at 4:02pm
Angela - Thanks!  I recall seeing something like that my first few visits to the site looking for events, gatherings, activities - now that I am thinking along the lines of sharing/swapping (since Heather brought it up  :-)  I will go back and locate that link on the site and check it out.  It *might* have been that I did go there and there wasn't much there or not much current and so erased it from my mental 'revisit this' list.  But, will check it out again, thanks!
Comment by Angela MacLeod on January 9, 2011 at 4:09pm
check out Asks and Offers in the groups section. here on this ning site.
Comment by Erin Dixon on January 9, 2011 at 3:07pm

Sharing skills and resources is something I would like to see a topic/blog/forum for.  Maybe something like a classifieds??  For example, I am a highly skilled massage therapist/body worker.  My practice in Iowa was called 4 Aspects Healing and Wellness (body-mind-heart-spirit) as interconnected not separate pieces to be worked with or paid attention to separately and at different times - as these are all woven together and interconnect one cannot be impacted without touching the other three.  This in part comes from First Nations or 'North American Indian' healing traditions/philosphy (all based in Nature/teachings from the natural world).  I do not plan to become licensed in Washington State (although I was in Iowa and Nationally Certified as an LMT and ABT (Asian Bodywork Therapist).  I have had a lot of success most recently helping people with serious body problems (knees, frozen shoulders, neck, back, etc).  My practice (clients) pushed me that direction where I focused my practice for the past few years. 

Becoming licensed in Washington was something I began working on and increasingly it felt counterintuitive so I bagged the idea.  I miss the work although my family gives me many opportunities to be of service!  :-)  At any rate, this is one skill (to serve as an example in response to Heather's suggestion) that I could offer and no doubt this could be a starting point for a 'classified' section on the website for trading/swapping etc., as a means to something alternative to the usual currency. 

Comment by Erin Dixon on January 9, 2011 at 2:57pm
In response to Heather and do-ing type groups/topics, I would love to connect with some people who have been dreaming of adding some solar panels to their house either to supplement the usual electric/propane or to replace the need for one or both.  We have a solar back up panel which is more for power outages/short term emergencies.  We have a gas powered whole house generator also but just looking at it gives me the sense it is obsolete!   As I watch oil prices climb (and the obvious peak oil issue that brought many of us to this site) My fantasies of some sun powered 'juice' for the home are becoming more of a "must have".  Anyone catch the History Channel last week?  Impressive show on this topic (peak everything).  I was planning just to check out and/or someone local to hire to guide us through the ins and outs of this and order them.  This doesnt feel very "independent" and we are really focusing on how to do more things for ourselves vs. hiring things done.  If a small group wanted to get together, share research on the topic, products needed, best ones to use, pricing, etc., maybe we could even install at each other's homes as a group - ?  I for one think we are overdue for this personally, and so if no one is interested at this point in time, we will go ahead and look at the options to purchase/install through a company as we have many projects and pursuing this alone (comparisons, installation, etc) is too time consuming.
Comment by Erin Dixon on January 9, 2011 at 2:44pm

Heather -

I would be interested in sharing our land for garden space/anything harvested from same.  We missed the planting season as we moved in not long ago and there is *no* garden where we live but we are on nearly 9 acres (also pasture, horses, etc., dont get too excited!)  I have been scoping where to put a garden or two in relation to sunlight, drainage, etc., and there are a couple of good sized spots.  I am told the soil is good 'sandy' type vs. clay or whatever else is less desireable in this area.  Feel free to pass along my email address to anyone who needs a place to garden and would like to work together on getting as much variety/quantity that we can.  We would benefit from the guidance of anyone who has gardened around this area before and we hope to grow more than we need anyway for sharing, swapping, what have you.  I have ordered a large number of seeds from the site you recommended (so yes, they are the best kind!) Can't remember the name of it now -sorry, but you sent me the link - local seed distributor.


Comment by Heather K on January 9, 2011 at 2:28pm

Thanks Angela & David for your last post and the work you both do on this site!

And thanks to all who've shared their thinking.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am interested in working with twog and rural neighbors on hands-on events & workshops, and wonder if there are any ideas on skill-sharing events that the Twog is working on together as a team for this year?


We all have so much combined wisdom & energy to share with each other. I recall there has long been an interest in having a Reskilling or Green Fair, and that lots of rural & city folks would enjoy being part of a combined music/craft/reskilling weekend.   Jeff W with non-profit Sustainable B'ham is planning to continue the revolving home & garden work-parties he initiated years back.  We've helped neighbors build a greenhouse and create or plant their gardens, and then enjoyed a meal together afterward. I'm looking forward to more hands-on projects building cob-pizza ovens, rainwater-drinking water installations, and plain old planting seeds & trees.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

PS - I may be out of the email/online loop for what the website plans are, but I have noticed that this past Weds Jan 5th), that at least 2 TW groups and all the resource lists/discussions contained within  are gone or missing, and are now listed with the words: “We Sorry- this Group does not Exist”.

There may be more than 2 groups, but the two I'm aware of, were formed after the unleashing event - 'Small scale food & garden' and the “Affordable housing for homeowners”. Both groups contained useful resources that multiple TW members had contributed too. ( I'm just stating the facts and don't mean to offend anyone with whatever decisions have been made )....moving on....


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Now's the time to make hearty soups, to order from seed catalogs, and to organize seeds for the upcoming Jan 30th Seed-Swap - And to help each other find land ready for new food & edible forest gardens to grow from our lawns & pastures....Folks are sharing with me they are needing for community garden space!


Here is a quote to share from the plant & soil professor Professor Fred Megdoff - ( I plan to post a blog later on his concepts of 'Ecological Civilization'):


“ The natural world contains many interesting examples that may have some analogies in human activity.......When a large enough number of bees agree about a site, they end up selecting the best one. There is an analogous situation with humans.

 People in groups, provided with the necessary information, tend to make better decisions than individuals making decisions for the group. A diversity of people (backgrounds, skills, outlooks) allows a group to evaluate issues better. Because they are, as a group, involved in the decision-making process, they feel more ownership of the decision and a desire to help implement it....”


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