After many months of dedicated work, Transition Whatcom County, the 17th Official Transition Initiative in the US, held their Great Unleashing on the sunny weekend of April 10-11th in Bellingham, Washington. The two-day event was enjoyed by hundreds of people from the community and was also attended by members of nearby Transition Initiatives including Vancouver, BC, and Portland, OR.
Day 1 began with a parade across town to the main venue, Bellingham High School, followed by a recorded presentation by Rob Hopkins. The rest of the day featured 24 workshops from community currencies to gardening in small spaces to health care and transportation -- all led my members of the community -- and three keynote presentations by Vicki Robin, Trathen Heckman and Frances Moore Lappe.
Day 2 saw the formation of working groups to begin getting into the nitty-gritty of how to address the critical issues facing the community and start the process of articulating an Energy Descent Action Pathway. (Download the Event Flyer [PDF])
Here is a delicious recap of the Great Unleashing through the eyes of a few members of the Initiating Group.
Chris Wolf: "The People-Powered Parade was a total blast and a huge success. We had about 100 people join up-- on bicycles, on foot, kids on tricycles, scooters, a pedaled contraption made from old appliances, an elder in a wheelchair carrying our banner, pedicabs, big wigs (literally), a dog, a unicycle, a juggler, a giant chicken, a giant carrot yelling chants into a megaphone, and all sorts of fun and carrying on. Without a doubt, everyone we passed watched us go by and thought, 'Those people are having more fun than I am. Maybe I should leave what I'm doing and join them.' PEOPLE! POWER!"
Cindi Landreth: The Great Unleashing was a Grand Success!! Between 700 and 800 people attended Day 1 - with 24 sessions and 3 incredible keynotes - Vicki Robin, Trathen Heckman and Francis Moore Lappe!
There were over 30 exhibitors, valet bike parking and the People Powered Parade! Oh my, that was fun! Chris had us all chanting as she bellowed with a homemade megaphone...on the back of a flat bed pedicab! We had a 92 yr old woman in a wheel chair, a recumbant bike made from appliance parts, some costumed children and wigged out adults,....about 40 or so people enriched their Saturday morning for this!
Day 2 we expected about 80 people to show up to start working groups - we were blown away when it turned out to be 180!! Working groups have been formed and membership on the website is jumping up quickly! It won't be long until we hit 600! -- Hoorah, Whatcom County!
Rick Dubrow: WOW! 700 - 800 of us showed up on Day 1 of The Great Unleashing, with 180 returning on Day 2. But that's just a 'quantity' report. Quality? From the TWIGs' point of view, the weekend proved stellar, surpassing our wildest dreams. I have never expereinced such a community-building event in my life..... we, together, have branded a memory in my cerebrum that can never, ever be erased.
Transition Whatcom County Initiating Group members get a standing ovation at the end of Day 2!
For more info visit www.transitionwhatcom.org
Photos taken by David Waugh (wide angle shots), Rebecca Meloy and Ben Kunesh (Frances Moore Lappe)