Transition Town Missoula officially dropped the question mark from its name last Friday—nearly one year to the day since the group's first introductory meeting at the University Congregational Church. In other words, the mulling over whether Missoula should join a global movement toward more resilient and self-sustaining communities is over. Now comes the doing.
"We knew that we'd be approved because Missoula is even already a Transition Town," says Transition Town Missoula coordinator Claudia Brown. "All the layers of environmental nonprofits and groups that are working to strengthen the local food system here—there's already a lot of interest in Missoula."
According to Brown, roughly 50 people gathered in the UCC Nov. 23 to welcome Transition Town Missoula to a network of more than 1,000 Transition initiatives across the globe. The movement started in late 2006, when Rob Hopkins and Naresh Giangrande co-founded the original Transition Town in Totnes, England. Their goal of building a sustainable community to combat the impacts of peak oil and climate change quickly went viral, eventually taking root in towns on six continents; besides Missoula, some of the latest official Transition U.S. initiates include Two Peaks, Colo., Bedford, Mass., and Milwaukee, Wis.
"The real overarching theme is that we're working on this transition from a fairly unstable and unsustainable way of doing things towards something that is more stable, resilient, sustainable, regenerative," says Transition Town Missoula spokesman Justin McCoy. "As we move in that direction, we have such a long way to go. We plant the seeds and see how they sprout."
Erasing the question mark in Missoula is less a first step than an acknowledgment of the challenges ahead. One of those challenges is time, and with so many nonprofits already working to solve their own pieces of the sustainability puzzle, McCoy says lots of Transition-minded folks in town are already busy. Transition Town Missoula hopes to take some of the networking pressure off those very nonprofits that give Missoula such Transition promise