Transform Your Beliefs, Transform Your Community

Submitted by Chris Thompson, Transition Bozeman

I was paralyzed from the waist down after a 50’ fall, introduced to the concept of oneness in religion with ample time to challenge the religious ideologies that had controlled my life, working to eradicate their subsequent fears. This gave me the confidence to also challenge the doctor’s prognosis that there was a 4% chance I would ever walk again as science is simply another religious institution, and I am proud to say I am mobile today with little use of ambulatory aids. The recent economic recession led to a contentious divorce, allotting me time to challenge the religion of money, and the results have been a level of wealth beyond my imagination.

Like many during the recent economic recession, I returned to school, to learn that 60 years prior Montanans produced  80% of what they used. At that time, in 2010, the number was down to 10% so I began the Neighbors Helping Neighbors bartering network in my community to reinvigorate the local economy. Concurrently, the now infamous Snowden leaks were occurring that showed our government was working with multi-national corporations to increase their stranglehold on American citizens, so I began approaching local producers and businesses with a plan to keep these financial parasites out of our lives.

I began to network, armed with the economic devastation abound, the Gross Domestic Happiness model emerging in Bhutan, and the gift economy being implemented around the country, to discover the majority relieved with the proposal, eager to take part. Truth be told there was always the occasional “Nothing’s free hippy!” Regardless, the concept immediately took hold in our progressive minded community, allowing members to pursue their respective skillsets to provide the community as a whole with a product or service that made both producer and consumer happier, thereby happiness for all.

This, in turn, allowed more of us time to reevaluate the status quo, using the community commons of the internet to join the grassroots revolution occurring around the globe. The Transition Town Network is the grassroots revolution restoring power to the people by implementing concepts such the gift economy, tool sharing, alternative building ideas, alternative power, and alternative transportation. Transition Town-Bozeman, my community, recently helped implement free, biodiesel powered public transportation. The Transition Network will be taking this story and 20 others to the United Nations Climate Change Conference this December and we sincerely hope world leaders listen to the changes we are making…

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