Transition US Awards Ceremony Honors Movement Leaders

2018 Collaborative Design Council

As part of “Unleashing the Collective Genius: Celebrating 10 Years of Transition in the US!” the first national online summit hosted by Transition US on October 27, 2018, members of the Transition US Collaborative Design Council presented seven awards to 10 individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to community resilience-building efforts here in the US over the past decade.

The winners of six of these awards (the Community Impact Award, Grassroots Leadership Award, Building Bridges to Justice Award, Walking the Talk Award, Municipality in Transition Award, and the Transition Ally Award) were nominated by the general public. A seventh award, the Living Legacy Award, was created by Transition US staff in partnership with the Collaborative Design Council to honor a few of the founders of Transition US.

As our awards nomination form stated: “we are not seeking perfection. Transition can be difficult and full of surprises. We particularly value inclusion, persistence, and creativity.” All of this year’s award winners (and all of our runners-up) exemplify these critical qualities. Their work should be celebrated, studied, and emulated. You can watch a recording of the entire awards ceremony here or continue reading for a brief synopsis of each award below.


1. Community Impact Award

Description: This award will honor a Transition Initiative that has made a big difference in its local community through leaderful, grassroots efforts.

Award Winner: Transition Town Media


"Transition Town Media has been one of the most steady and successful Transition Initiatives in the country since its inception in 2009. They have a full calendar of events, over a dozen working groups, and several large projects (the Media FreeStore, Solarize Greater Media, and the Media TimeBank) that they coordinate. I also appreciate that Transition Town Media members are very active in the wider Transition Movement, serving as representatives on the Transition US Collaborative Design Council, holding leadership positions in national working groups, participating in the Mid-Atlantic States Transitioners (MAST) regional hub, and sharing their experience through presentations at national Transition gatherings. Their creativity and commitment should be an inspiration to us all."

Runners-Up: Transition Longfellow and Wilmington in Transition.


2. Grassroots Leadership Award

Description: This award will honor a local or regional Transition leader who embodies the best qualities of Transition leadership.

Award Winner: Leslie MacKenzie of Transition Twin Cities


"Leslie has been a remarkable visionary, action-oriented leader and stalwart promoter of Transition in the Twin Cities. Not satisfied that Longfellow has an active and vibrant Transition presence, Leslie wrote and received a grant to start and support Transition initiatives across the Twin Cities with great success. Leslie is hands-down the most effective voice for Transition in this region and should be recognized for her achievements, actions and impact."

Runners-Up: Sari Steuber of Transition Town Media, Sylvia Holmes of Transition Pasadena, and Margo Duesterhaus of Transition Howard County.


3. Building Bridges to Justice Award

Description: This award will honor an outstanding movement leader, project, initiative, organization, or collaboration between groups for their work bridging community resilience and social justice.

Award Winner: Jul Bystrova of the Inner Resilience Network


"Acting purely out of her own deep commitment to justice and inclusion, Jul has almost single-handedly built important bridges between the Transition Towns Movement and indigenous communities throughout the US. She worked for months to bring Standing Rock elders Phyllis Young and Pearl Means to the first Transition US National Gathering to provide a keynote talk and lead a groundbreaking conversation on 'Decolonizing Transition.' More recently, she made a trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation to explore the possibility of Transitioners helping out with a few different Permaculture projects there in 2019. In addition to co-facilitating the Inner Resilience Network and serving on Transition US's Collaborative Design Council, Jul is an active participant in our national Social Justice Working Group."

Runners-Up: the Transition US Social Justice Working Group and the Alliance for Sustainability.


4. Walking the Talk Award

Description: This award will honor an individual or group who has made a significant effort to align their lifestyles with Transition values.

Award Winner: Peter Kalmus of Transition Pasadena


"Peter truly lives an extremely low carbon lifestyle and has written a book about this. In spite of living in a metropolis Peter does not fly. He is a climate scientist who understands very well the impact of flying being the WORST contributor to climate crisis. He rides bike, has a grease fueled car named Maybe, raises food, gleans dumpster food, cans excess produce, raises chickens and two sons. He meditates daily and hosts a weekly meditation. He speaks freely about his convictions and his book Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution has gone into a second printing. All the book profits go to Citizens Climate Lobby. Peter says he is much happier living his low -nergy lifestyle."

Runners-Up: Marissa Mommaerts of Transition US, Ruah Swennerfelt of Transition Town Charlotte, Marion Yaglinski of Transition Town Media, Mark Dixon of Transition PGH, and Sean Gosiewski of the Alliance for Sustainability.


5. Municipality in Transition Award

Description: This award will honor an effective collaboration between a local government and a Transition Initiative.

Award Winners: Local 20/20 and the City of Port Townsend


"Local 20/20 seems to be building meaningful bridges to government and other local institutions. They've partnered actively with their local city and county government, port authority, public utilities district, transit advisory board, and junior college. They also have a regular column in their local paper. They have partnered very prolifically and are influencing local climate policy."

Runners-Up: Transition Sarasota and Sarasota County Government, Transition Town Media and Media Borough, and Transition Laguna Beach and the City of Laguna Beach.


6. Transition Ally Award

Description: This award will honor an individual, project, organization, or movement that has significantly contributed to or supported community resilience building efforts in the US.

Award Winner: The Permaculture Movement


"Rob Hopkins was initially a Permaculture teacher and was deeply inspired by David Holmgren's 2002 book Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability in his creation of the international Transition Towns Movement. Although Permaculture and Transition are often thought of as separate and distinct movements, it is perhaps more useful to think about Transition as an important social technology for the propagation of Permaculture ethics, principles, and strategies into mainstream culture. The potential for ongoing collaboration here is tremendous. Permaculture practitioners often teach longer Permaculture Design Certification Courses and shorter Reskilling workshops through local Transition Initiatives. Transitioners frequently present at regional and national Permaculture Convergences. Although Permaculture is primarily focused on the household level, while Transition seeks to engage entire communities, Permaculture groups and Transition Initiatives routinely support and participate in each other's work all over the world in ways that are simply too numerous to count."

Runner-Up: the Fellowship for Intentional Community.


7. Living Legacy Award

Description: This award will honor an individual or group that has made a significant and lasting contribution to the national Transition Movement here in the US.

Award Winners: Carolyne Stayton, Pamela Gray, and Raven Gray of Transition US


“Carolyne Stayton has served as the Executive Director of Transition US since its inception 10 years ago. Initially taking this on as a short-term temporary position, she has successfully guided the organization with remarkable skill and selfless commitment through its often-tumultuous start-up phase to increasingly-profound levels of engagement, service, and impact. It is not too much to say that without Carolyne, our Transition Movement here in the US would not be as interconnected, cohesive, and robust as it is today. Her positive influence will be felt both nationally and internationally for a very long time to come.”

“Raven and Pamela Gray are co-founders and ex-board members of Transition US. Their dedication and passion grew the non-profit organization in the early years in parallel with the parent organization, Transition Network, based in the UK. Since leaving her service with Transition US, Pamela has been producing a blog and preparing a series of e-books on the physics of the human body and its application in medical practice, both allopathic and complementary. She remains interested in Transition US and supporting its advancement. Raven was a pioneer of the Transition Towns movement in the UK, having set up the world’s second Transition Initiative after Totnes. She is a writer, permaculture and nature-awareness educator, and an activist with a strong commitment to environmental, social, and economic sustainability. She is currently supporting Transition US through her writing, editing, and website design.” 

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