Transition Whatcom

Hello Transition Whatcom,

We are the newly formed Transition Whatcom Organizing Group (TWOG). To be working on your behalf is an exciting honor. Our process began with a few small steps, a potluck, some brainstorming and a great weekend workshop. We are currently working on clarifying our role as a working group as well as lining up some big pieces that we see as integral parts of our mission and vision.

As we continue to collaborate, we anticipate some great opportunities to bring the values of the Transition Movement into the fabric of the Whatcom community. To do our best we will need lots of support from the growing transition network and now is a great time for that to start. Give us your input. What role does the TWOG have in Whatcom County? How can we help your transition efforts? Share your thoughts and ideas while we all work together on bringing about a healthy local future.

We look forward to seeing ALL of You at the Harvest Fest on October 2nd. Polecat and Umami will provide the entertainment in Cornwall Park from 4-9pm. Bring your own picnic, food, games etc and let's celebrate our local abundance.

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is the Harvest Fest on October 2nd a TW event? it is not listed on the events page. Where would you-the TWOG- like to receive the input that you invited in the above announcement? During the above event or just in general?

Nice group photo! you all look like an enthusiastic group.

Angela Macleod

The Harvest Festival was entered as an Event on the website today, and was in the que waiting for approval. It's now posted, located here:

For those who want to learn more about the TWOG, they now have their own page under the About Us tab. Direct link here:

For public interaction with the TWOG, I suggest replying to this discussion.

And to find out how to contact them privately, the Contact Us page is here:
Congratulations to the newly formed TWOG! I appreciate your work and initiative.

Re: "What role does the TWOG have in Whatcom County?"

Help Whatcom County achieve...

1) More and safer bike lanes.

When people (especially parents with small children and the elderly) feel safe enough to walk and bike, more people will do so. Separate car lanes from biking/walking paths. Then further separate fast moving (commuting) bikes from slower bikes and roller bladers/skate boarders.

2) More ubiquitous and frequent public transportation.

My recent experiences using the bus, accompanied by two small children, have been extremely frustrating. Some of the buses we use only run every hour or half-hour. Combine that with having to transfer from one bus to another, and it takes ALL DAY to run errands or get to appointments. Although I prefer not to, I can use my car and do the same errands or appointments in one-quarter the amount of time.

The last time we used the bus, we missed a bus because my 4-year old had to go to the potty "right now." The next bus didn't come for 30 minutes.

I would love nothing more than to get rid of my car, but as a family with two small children, we find it extremely difficult, inconvenient and unsafe to get around Bellingham and Whatcom County without one.

I am a member of TW's Sustainable Transportation group and look forward to helping with Whatcom County's transition to more and better alternative modes of transportation.
I've been to places that have seen disasters. I've learned from the survivors what factors contributed to their survival and it came down to these three: skills that made them self reliant and useful to a community; a community; and blind luck. We have no control over the third, so it's good to have the first two covered. The transition movement worldwide seems to have come to the same conclusions.
I guess then I see the TWOG as serving two main purposes:
1. Helping to identify useful skills to have and then create the means by which we can learn them. The extension office and BTC would be great partners in this! CLSR, Re-Sources, etc - you already know!!!
2. Facilitating a sense of community. You are already working with the neighborhood associations, which is a good start. More outreach to the Hispanic and Russian/Ukranian/Sikh communities?? Talk about folks with good skill sets!!
I really see what you are doing as crucial to our future - keep up the good work! Thank you so much for stepping up to this important task!
Hello TWOG,

Thank you for agreeing to take on the extra work of organizing and guiding this exciting Transition effort. I want to suggest yet another resource to guide our individual and collective work. As you may know, the Earth Charter is an amazing document of commitment to creating a just and sustainable planet. Its drafting took over a decade and was one of the most inclusive processes for an international document ever undertaken. It is now considered soft law with the same moral authority of other soft law documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You may also know that Bellingham has endorsed the Earth Charter and has been listed as an endorser at the EC website for several years. I would like to encourage consideration of the Earth Charter as a guiding set of principles, particularly as we think about how Transition Whatcom can have an impact on policy at the city, county and state levels. Here is a link to the Earth Charter Initiative:
Victor Nolet
Thank you for asking for input.

I value the continuation towards creating the energy decent plan. I hope your efforts will be directed towards that goal. I was drawn to the transition process by reading from the Transition Handbook so I enjoy continuing to use that resource and other Transitions world wide in our transition process.

Would it be possible for the TWOG to write a summary of their meetings and post them here at the ning? (maybe this is already being done, I admit that I don't function as well with this tool as I'd like to)

I would love it if transition groups would post a summary of their meetings and events at this site. So many people would be interested in keeping in the loop. Not everyone can make it to all the wonderful events and projects that are happening but are still very interested and supportive. It would be helpful if even just an outline or agenda were printed if no one has the time/energy to summarize. Could the T.W.O.G. encourage groups to share on the ning after events? It would also help people join in later on a project or group if there were ongoing summaries printed, and that would help groups not get slowed down with trying to update late joiners.

Could there be an occasional 'workshop' offered to help those of us who aren't tech savvy to learn how to use this ning site? I know there is a place to ask questions here but I learn better with a real human. I know other people have had difficulty figuring out how to navigate this site.

Thanks again for asking for input. I appreciate your willingness to do this work.
GREAT Picture, new leadership people! Good Time for a press release! Interviews! I have a draft if you want to use that to craft your own final announcement...Somebody inviting the press to the Harvest Gathering? We have Julie Shirley and I think one other Herald person on the site, and for sure invite the Weekly folks.
Hi all!

I feel like I want to hang one of those signs on the TWOG that say "Please excuse our mess during remodeling" except I guess in this case we're under new construction. You have my apologies for the delay in response. We value your input and we will constantly seek to improve, so please keep it coming! I want to say we all really care about this group and we want to see it succeed marvelously so when you have your concerns we need to hear them. If you can be compassionate and constructive, of course that's easier to work with. We want to hear your brilliant ideas and dreams as well. Thanks!

So starting from the bottom...hi Kate! Of course it's too late now for the Harvest Fest, but yes, we're thinking press release (Rick brought the idea to attention as well), and we'd love to see what you've got. And possibly some words of encouragement why the broader community would care enough about the change in leadership to read about it in the paper. We're currently conducting a workgroup survey to see what's going on in all these wonderful workgroups, and that, now that I see as noteworthy. We are starting to get a better sense of the mental and physical inventory of tools we're inheriting from the TWIG, and the more we know about, the more we can use. Thanks!
Hi Angela,

Absolutely, beginning the EDAP project is a top priority. We thought, however, that connecting with the workgroups and making sure they are supported was just a bit higher priority right away, because they are already formed and we want them to continue the momentum that was created at the Unleashing. EDAP, coming right up.

Did I read this right, that you are researching what other Transitions are doing? If so please share what you come up with! I have been as well, as I can--mainly my field trip to Kinsale, Ireland to find out what they've been doing, and reading Totnes' published EDAP. Very cool.

The TWOG has agreed on a meeting minutes format and Warren has agreed to post them today. We have also set deadlines for reviewing the notes for posting so in the future you will get them a lot faster. I believe they will be posted on the Forum Discussion "TWOG Schedule." So THIS page will be broader conversations, and THAT page will be focused on meeting schedules, content, TWOG meeting guests, and the like. So to answer your question from Sept. 7, we'd like to receive the input right here. (And thanks, we are an enthusiastic group.)

I really like the idea of "debriefing" TW events! I've recently been made aware of a TW scrapbook, as well, where we 'should' be recording our events and successes. I will bring that idea up at this Wed. meeting. I doubt anyone will be able to attend all events and it would be great to be able to look them up and see how they went and what occurred. Likewise, I certainly encourage the groups that I work with to post what they're doing. We sure can't make them do it, but we can encourage.

I am working on creating a sort of "TW orientation" space, where new members could come, get an overview, meet some people, ask some questions. Possibly this would occur before a social event like Party Up for Power Down. I could see adding a ning site orientation piece to that, would that be of interest to you? Another possibility might be that the tech committee, once it's more populated, could give a little orientation for the site, but now I'm on the verge of promising someone else's time--dangerous. Is that helpful?
Thanks Laura, Yes everything you wrote in the last post is helpful to me and addresses all the points in my previous post (Sept 21). Meets my needs for being heard, having a way to contribute and participate.

I really like the idea for the TW orientation. I remember David (MacLeod) that he wanted to offer a ning site orientation at the Party Up for Power Down events in the past but it seemed like it didn't get fit in. (can't do every good idea.) Both this idea and the idea that every event or project have a summary posted requires time and that is difficult for a lot of us.

Thanks for pointing me towards the Forum Discussion "TWOG Schedule.". to track what our TWOG is up to.

Thanks for all your work.....I know it is all volunteer and done with heart and the best of intentions and a lot of skill
Laura, Paul, & all the Twog: Bravo on a great first event this Sunday outdoors at Cornwall Park for our "First Annual" TW Harvest Fest! I was only able to attend the last hour or so but found setting, neighbors, music, & energy such a wonderful delight to be part of.
What an excellent vision to bring us together to share outside on the earth in the urban forest!
Thank you for the time & resources you've gifted us all creating the Event,
and especially with holding the TW vision & principles at the center of our TW community efforts.
Hi Carmen,

Thanks for your encouragement, your input, and your patience! I agree that safe, reliable, sustainable transportation is critical element in a thriving, resilient community. It sounds like you care deeply about this and have some passion that may drive you to action. The place to put your energy, in my opinion, is the Transportation Workgroup--that's the group that would address the dual issues of bike safety and reliable public transportation. You said you are a member of the Transportation group, so you probably know better than me, but I have heard that group is seeking a convener. Perhaps that's the place to start.

The TWOG is here to serve the mission and vision of Transition Whatcom, and to support the workgroups, which are the hands-on groups that are actually doing the transition work in the community (If you want to know more about what the TWOG does, please see the "TWIG to TWOG Description" under the Discussion 'Transition Whatcom Adopts a new structure', under the Discussion Forum tab titled "Transition Whatcom News and Info"). I acknowledge that as an entirely volunteer organization, the activity and effectiveness of all the groups will vary according to the characteristics of its members, group dynamics and probably the season! So what may have worked or not worked before, could easily change, bloom, wither, spawn...

The TWOG is currently working on creating a basic "TW workgroup meeting effectiveness tips" document which I hope will help. We are also looking forward to the survey replies we get back from the workgroups to see what support they are needing right now. So let us know if there's a problem we can help solve. We could ask for a facilitator to help the group clarify its priorities and some strategies, or try to connect you with other groups in the County to collaborate with, etc. The main thing is, keep trying. I believe we will all get better at transition work, with practice.

Is that helpful? The only other thing I can think of is the community car-share program, might let you achieve your dream of getting rid of your car and still maintain reliablility.

Cheers, Laura jean

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