climate change events transition towns

Transition Network Conference, the debrief

So, back from a very long weekend at the Transition Network conference, at the Battersea Arts Centre in London. It’s been a fascinating three days. I’ve not been to a conference quite like it before, with such a focus on conversation and on learning from each other, rather than from experts. Entirely fitting for a grassroots movement of course.

If you did want to hear some experts, they were there, or speaking by video-link. I heard Chris Vernon from the Oil Drum, and David Strahan on peak oil. David Fleming, the originator of the Tradeable Energy Quota, was on hand to talk about ‘wild economics’, which was a blur of genius ideas. Chris Martenson from the Crash Course was very good, and so was Richard Hawkins, author of the Climate Safety report.

It was great to be part of Open Spaces too. I’d heard plenty about these, and Transition Towns use them regularly, but I hadn’t seen them in operation for myself. I might do a separate post explaining how it works, but suffice to say it’s a way of getting 350 attendees to write their own conference programme and then host it. We also had the premiere of ‘In Transition’, which is a rather fine little movie, and the Reverend Billy made a guest appearance. I ended the conference closed with a guided walk around South London, where we saw community growing projects, and zero-carbon houses. Great, after all the talk, to see it actually at work on the ground.

Ultimately, the Transition movement is about people, and this was a very friendly, knowledgeable, creative and inspiring group of people. As one delegate said to me, it was nice to have conversations that didn’t feel “like you were pedalling uphill” – everyone already knew about peak oil and climate change. There is a real energy about Transition at the moment, and it’s a fun thing to be part of.

It’s been quite an exhausting weekend, (not least because we were commuting in, and the trains broke down and I didn’t make it home on saturday night) but a very rewarding one. I feel like I have about a thousand ideas to think through and process, and I will post some of them in the coming weeks.

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