Transition Towns, grassroots community groups and transformative change. Uschi Bay BSW, MSW, PhD Monash University Melbourne Australia u [email protected] Transition towns –grassroots movement. Transition Towns, grassroots community groups and transformative change.
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1) to set up a steering group (and design its demise during the outset)
2) awareness raising – by building essential networks and preparing the community for the launch of a transition initiative.
3) Lay foundations by developing networks with already existing groups.
4) Organise a great unleashing- a way of launching the initiative in the community.
5) Form relevant sub groups- these may deal with food, seed saving, transport, solar or wind power, permaculture and so on.
6) Use open space technology for running meetings.
7) Develop a visible practical manifestation of the project in the community, for instance food boxes, swap stuff markets.
Theoretical approach informed by critical social theory, ecological systems theory and post-structural concepts that focus specifically on: practices (such as technologies of self), relations between power and knowledge, ethical subjectivities and storytelling
Method- 14 Australian TT sites-participant interviews, document content analysis, observation of hub and sub-group meetings, participant observation of events and workshops.
The idea is to “build resilience through building relationships and increasing local skills” (Interviewee 1.11).
“To communicate a message to the community that it is affordable to live sustainably and in a healthy way – and believe that we can do it. To model it and to have sustainable living more culturally accepted and not imposed” (Interviewee 1.10).
“We need to localise … and get the community back involved” (Interviewee 1.9b).
“It’s about doing positive things for the community and educating to give people trust and freedom and flexibility…generally people involved in things that way then they’re more likely to be productive and helpful than trying to tell people what to do” (Interviewee 1.8).
In 2008 focused on strengthening ties with other local community groups
In 2009 two of the skilled women facilitated a Community Visioning Fair with several hundreds of community members and the following four questions were asked:
-What do we need to RECOVER from the past?
-What aspects of life in this town will we REFUSE to bring into the future? -What do we CHERISH and want to ensure continues?
-Is there anything new that we need to CREATE? (Interviewee 1.1)
The local Council then invited this Transition initiative to support their efforts at consulting with the local community around their strategic plan (Interviewee 1.1, 1.4, .1.3, 1.5, 1.10).
There was a notion that when climate change and peak oil begin to seriously impact on the community that there will need to be “enough of an underground network of people who have got the confidence of finding other ways of doing things” (Interviewee 1.3). Partly this is to be able to resist conflict over resources and totalitarian ways of reacting to such conflicts.
There is an understanding that all community members in the transition town are interdependent. There was evidence that the group is reaching out to other community groups and to the local Gumbaingiir people, especially the elders in the area.
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