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June 17, 2009

Transition movement gathers momentum

An increasing number of communities are asking themselves what action they can take to reduce their carbon emissions and are joining the search for more sustainable ways of living.  Transition Scotland Support are helping to organise a series of regional gatherings to give folk an opportunity to get together and share their ideas and plans. The next two gatherings are at Falkland on the 27th June and West Kilbride on the 11th July.  Last weekend a gathering was held in Hawick

On the 13th of June, a fine sunny day, 37 folk from the Scottish Borders and beyond gathered in Hawick Rugby Football Clubhouse (generously offered for the event by the aptly named ‘Greens’ Rugby Club) for a day of networking and nattering.  The meeting was co-organised by Transition Scotland Support and the local Transition group ‘A Greener Hawick’ to provide a chance for local community activists to meet up – whether they were from Transition Towns, Development Trusts, or any other groups working to make their communities better places to live now and for the future.

After a rousing introduction from our local hosts, Graham Bell, a long time permaculture activist (amongst many other things) led a workshop on ‘creating your perfect village’, a fun exercise, which allowed people free reign to imagine the kind of very locally based, self-sufficient network of communities that Transition groups are working towards, as a way of tackling climate change and peak oil.  We then spilt into smaller groups for an ‘open space’ session to discuss obstacles to and resources for our community and environmental work.

After a fantastic lunch prepared with mostly local ingredients, we were treated to some very interesting talks.  Pete Ritchie of Whitmuir Organics spoke about the history of farming in Scotland, and the kinds of issues that face communities who want to start re-localising the food system in their areas.  Dr. Lindsay Neil of Selkirk Regeneration Group told us about the community wind farm plans that Selkirk are working on, which, if they come to fruition, may end up making the community £5 million a year….!  One of the questions was whether, after super-insulating all the houses in the community, the next step would be to put on some nice gold plating!  Jane Gray from ‘Let’s Live Local’ in Moffat  told us about her most recent project, an on-line local social network, to get people more involved with what’s happening in the community.  It’s already being used for a wide range of purposed from collecting plastic bottles to make a greenhouse to sourcing wild mushrooms!  After an interesting Q and A session, we moved on to another ‘open space’, looking at ‘What work can we do together?’.  There were several useful conversations including: ‘Can we get together to learn about local food production?’ and ‘how do we share skills across different groups?’.

It was a full day, and judging from the calls for more of the same, an inspiring and energising one.  Transition Scotland Support is co-organising 4 more gatherings across the country, so please do come along to one that’s near to you.  We’re also organising a National Food gathering (co-hosted with One Planet Food and the Soil Association) in October, and a national Transition gathering in December.

Dates and booking for the other regional gatherings:
East Central: Falkland on the 27th June.  Click here to book.
West Central: West Kilbride on the 11th July.  Click here to book.
There will also be gatherings in Laurencekirk and Forres, dates to be confirmed.

We intend to organise future events in areas such as the north and south west, where we currently have fewer contacts.  Please get in touch if you have views on what would be helpful.
Eva Schonveld,
0131 657 2555
07756 290 608