The State of the Movement: Transition in Colorado

The Transition Movement first landed in Colorado in May of 2008 when Transition Boulder County became the first official Transition Initiative in North America. Then, in September of 2008, Colorado played host to the first two-day Training for Transition on this continent, facilitated by Michael Brownlee and Lynette Marie Hanthorn, unleashing a flood of new Transition Initiatives throughout Colorado and beyond.

Since that time, in the United States, fifty-two initiatives have been officially recognized, including five in Colorado: Boulder County (now Transition Colorado), Lyons, Denver, Louisville, and Westminster/Arvada/Broomfield. This makes Colorado the second-most active state in the US, after California with thirteen official initiatives. Now—a year and a half later—it is time to look back on what Transition in Colorado has accomplished so far and where it is headed.

For this article, I interviewed leaders from six of the most active and successful Transition Initiatives in Colorado, including a major city (Denver), a few small and mid-size towns (Manitou Springs, Louisville, and Lyons), a collection of suburbs (Westminster/Arvada/Broomfield), and a university (Naropa), asking questions such as: “What would you say is your proudest accomplishment?” “What has been the most challenging aspect of your Transition work?” “What advice would you give to someone starting a Transition Initiative in their community?” and “What is your vision for the continued growth of the Transition Movement in Colorado?” The following is what I found.

Most of the work that has been done so far by Transition Initiatives in Colorado has been laying the foundation for Transition in these communities: raising awareness about The Long Emergency and Transition, building relationships with individuals, other nonprofit organizations, local businesses, and local government, and hosting practical Reskilling workshops. This is not surprising, as most of these initiatives are only about a year old. The first Transition Initiatives in the UK, which were founded over four years ago, are just now starting to publish their Energy Descent Action Plans, and only one initiative in the United States, Transition Sandpoint in Idaho, has reached the point of hosting a Great Unleashing event and forming working groups.

Nevertheless, many of the accomplishments made by Transition Initiatives in Colorado during this short period of time are actually quite impressive. Transition Louisville has started a Neighborhood Supported Agriculture program, based on Kipp Nash’s Community Roots Urban Farm in Boulder, hosted a solar home tour in the Fall of 2009, and is working towards bringing carsharing to Louisville—among other activities. Together with the Living Earth Center, the Denver Botanic Gardens, and the Mile High Business Alliance, Transition Denver launched the Grow Local Colorado campaign, which this year planted a garden in Denver’s Civic Center Park, passed a citywide Grow Local proclamation, and was honored with the creation of Grow Local Day by Mayor John Hickenlooper on May 14, 2009.

Read full article - by Don Hall, originally posted on January 15, 2010, Transition Times: Colorado Edition

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