Transitioning Humboldt Village

April 12, 2012
Larry Goldberg
The NorthCoast Environmental Center


Humboldt Village began as an offshoot of the Occupy Humboldt movement. After a few early meetings as an Occupy working group, participants decided to become an independent organization (Humboldt Village). Its expanded mission includes the lofty goal of  “building an interconnected sense of community; implementing ventures that strengthen our resilience as a geographically semi-isolated and primarily rural population against the fickle nature of economic, environmental and resource instability.”

AThe Transition Handbook: The book that started it all.The Transition Handbook: The book that started it all. public forum called “Humboldt Village Talks” began in January, with showings of films on alternative economics, followed by an open discussion by the attendees. Approximately 20 people attended the first meeting, but after a favorable article in the North Coast Journal (“Concrete Activists” 2/16), and despite a stormy, windy night, the March showing of “In Transition 1.0”—a film about the burgeoning Transition Movement—was a standing-room only crowd of over 35 people. Moved and fired-up about the Transition Movement and the positive benefits that this area could see as a result of joining the growing citizen-based initiative, Humboldt Village decided not to reinvent the wheel.  The Transition Movement embodied a way to see community that illustrates how best  to apply ourselves to maximize our local resources, unleash others still unused, and become the strongest and most resilient community possible.

The Transition Town Movement (now called the “Transition Initiative”) is a global effort of local communities to address the combined forces of climate change, peak oil and economic instability through localization efforts that promote community resiliency.  Regular, systemic shocks are destabilizing to a society.

As a community, we need to come up with solutions of our own.  The Transition Movement follows this principle: while one person cannot change enough on their own—because the impact is too small—if you wait for the government to do it, it will never happen.  The only solution, and the only practical means by which to accomplish any significant change, is for a community to get together and work as a group.  As more and more communities step up to become Transition Towns, this will eventually change the world.  There are over 500 transition initiatives underway with dozens being added each month.

Transition Towns worldwide.: © Google MapsTransition Towns worldwide.: © Google MapsLocal currency is one Transition principle that a Humboldt Village member has helped put into action. A new online HUMbucks “Community Exchange System” (CES) allows people to share services without exchanging currency. Instead, “credits” are given that can be exchanged for other services and goods.  Today over 100 different services exist on the system ranging from hair cutting to massage. HUMbucks is also set up to coordinate RideSharing, GardenSharing (connecting would-be gardeners with available spaces and mentors with beginners), and a wide variety of other resource sharing.

Discussions also include topics of housing, such as how to offer units that “need a little help” to be on the rental market (renting at lower rates and/or allowing sweat equity where tenants themselves could bring a property up to snuff), and  arranging community teams to provide maintenance help for low income and disabled residents that might not have the resources to care for their property. Other projects underway include a Really, Really Free Market; Skill-Sharing Fairs; and a Village Commons Demonstration Project.

Watch for more about this active and motivated grassroots group—or better yet, get involved! Find Humboldt Village on Facebook or at

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