Transitioning from Transition US

It is with mixed feelings that I share the news that I will be moving on from my role at Transition US. I will be shifting to focus on another area of community resilience, working at the local Department of Health Services. 

My last two years as Co-Director of Transition US have been full of inspiration and growth for me. I am constantly in awe of the creativity and importance of the work being accomplished by Transition leaders across the country, as well as the work that our team at Transition US has done to support this movement.

I wanted express my gratitude to many of you that I’ve had the chance to work with through Transition US, and to share a few of my favorite memories.

To start with, I had the pleasure of working with an amazing team based out of our Sebastopol office. I’ve been continually encouraged by Carolyne’s dedication to the Transition movement, and I’ve benefitted from her perspective on how the movement has evolved over the years. Through Carolyne, I’ve gained insight on how to navigate between local, national, and international Transition activities. Marissa, with her passion and impressive community organizing skills, constantly reminds me of the urgency and importance of community resilience work. It’s been a delight to work closely with these two leaders, as well as our committed board of directors.

Thinking back on my time at Transition US, here are a few moments that stand out:

  • Rob Hopkins’ whirlwind national tour. In the months leading up to the tour, I got to see Transition leaders across the country orchestrate an impressive multi-city national speaking tour. While traveling with Rob and Peter Lipman through Boston, New York, and Maine, I had the chance to meet many of the Northeast Transition leaders, several of whom hosted me in their homes during this trip. During our Northeast visit, we toured Transition neighborhoods, met with local political leaders, and enjoyed the kick-off of a Transition regional gathering that was financed with time bank hours. I was tasked with making sure Rob made it to all his speaking engagements in time, and had a close call when we missed the ferry to leave our homestay on Peaks Island, ME. Fortunately, after catching a later ferry and driving through several states, we pulled into the Omega Institute just in time for Paul Hawken’s introduction to Rob’s talk.
  • Visiting Southern California Transition Initiatives. With family and friends in Southern California, I tend to head south a couple times a year. While working at Transition, I always made a point of visiting local Transition leaders during these trips. These visits took me to edible churchyards, eco-business vendors at farmers’ markets, a tour of backyard chicken coops and desert gardens. Here’s a blog post I wrote about one of these trips.
  • Global Exchange Gathering: Last summer I was invited to speak at a gathering of Time Bank organizers in Rhode Island. I was so inspired by what I learned at this gathering that I’m currently working on starting up a time bank here in Sebastopol. During this trip, I met the Transitioners at Revive the Roots and visited Mowry Gardens, with a community garden and food forest that is an educational and recreational hub for the town and state.
  • Transition Sebastopol and the Village Building Convergence: Working at Transition US has put me in contact with Transition leaders across the country and across the world. Yet my local Transition activities have had the most impact on my understanding of the importance of this work. Here in Northern California, I’ve skilled up with other Transitioners and allied organizations through LAUNCH, Effective Groups, and Art of Hosting trainings. I’ve attended regional Transition gatherings, where we’ve shared best practices with each other. And most inspiring has been my work as part of the founding team that put on the Sebastopol Village Building Convergence, which came out of a Transition Sebastopol working group. Here’s an article about the event, written by my friend and fellow Transitioner Shepherd Bliss. 

I’m leaving Transition US at an exciting time for the organization and the movement as a whole. Transition leaders across the country are wrapping up the pilot of Transition Streets, and TUS is preparing for the national rollout of this program. The organization is deepening its work through “Courageous Conversations” about race, class, White privilege, and environmental/social justice struggles. TUS is working at the international, national, and local levels to explore how the REconomy model and other new economy activities could continue to strengthen the Transition movement here in the US. And Transition US, in partnership with Daily Acts and groups across the country will be engaging in the annual Community Resilience Challenge this May, which will result in thousands of actions to improve our communities. Though I will no longer be on staff at Transition US, I will continue to support these activities and the Transition movement in general through my work with local Transition activities.

To each of you that have touched my life these last two years through your work with Transition – thank you. May our communities and all communities continue to benefit from our work to transition to a more sustainable world.

--Maggie Fleming

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