Transition Stories #7: Powering Down and Shifting Power


Nation in Transition:
Stories from the Field Issue #7

Rob Hopkins

Help us plan Rob's trip!

We are seeking great ideas, strong local hosting teams, and volunteers to help us make Rob Hopkin's visit this fall as impactful as possible. Read more on our website.

Slow Living Summit

Transition featured at Slow Living Summit

Check out this interview with Chuck Collins of IPS & Transition Jamaica Plain on politics, diversity, and language in Transition.

Heinberg on the New Economy

Heinberg on the New Economy

Watch Part 1 and Part 2 of Richard Heinberg's talk on new economic opportunities at an event co-sponsored by TUS and Transition Santa Rosa – focused on NorCal but with useful info for all.  

Transition Under Palm Trees and Joshua Trees

July Roundup of What's Happening in Transition across the United States...

Above photo: Community Garden at Holy Nativity Church in Westchester, Los Angeles, from Environmental Changemakers (Transition LA).

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Building on the monthly "Roundup of What's Happening in the World of Transition" pulled together over at Transition Culture, here are some highlights of what's keeping Transition Initiatives busy across the US...

Transition Cville logoThis month we welcome the 140th official Transition Initiative in the US, Transition Charlottesville-Abermarle, Virginia! Affectionately known as "Transition Cville," their working groups include Edible Yards, Skill Share, and Home Movies (where Transitioners host home viewing parties of Transition-related documentaries...nope, not your favorite home videos). We love their idea of having community members vote online for future projects (an outcome of their community visioning event), and this local news video on their Memorial Day Solar Cookout.

Moving up to Maine, Tohidu Transition in Portland transformed the Rosemont Avenue neighborhood by planting 49 fruit trees in one day! The project was filmed by Orchard Revolution to be included in their 2014 documentary.

And now to the Midwest, where Transition Milwaukee rocked PowerDown Week with community members unplugging their power and participating in activities to celebrate the beauty of living on less energy: a kickoff party, bike-to-farm challenge, partner yoga, fire-by-friction learning lab, candlelit game night, a honey tasting, and a chicken coop building party to name a few! To charge the necessities, folks used this sweet bicycle-powered generator.

We asked Transition Milwaukee members to reflect on their experience Powering Down:

“In my household, we tried to use no lights for the week. It was beautiful to go to bed and wake up with the sun. To live by candlelight. I was very aware of the sun going down. I truly looked forward to and was energized when I woke up in the morning. I could see and get things done more easily. It forced me to rest in the evening. To slow down, which I sometimes forget to do.” ~Zahner

"I think what I liked most about turning off the power in our house completely was the slowness and intentionality it created. There was nothing to keep me up wasting time instead of sleeping. If I wanted to read at night, it had to be by candlelight. I tried to keep my cellphone usage at a normal level which meant I had to pedal to charge it more often, but that helped me to understand the effort that would have to go in to powering even small things a little bit better. By far, my favorite event was candlelight game night though. It was filled with old and new friends and nearly everyone commented that the light created a much more pleasant atmosphere to be in than lightbulbs. We may have to start a tradition!" ~Lauren Poppen

In the Colorado Rockies, Transition Lab, an alternative education program that equips young people with practical skills and systems-thinking for Transition, organized a four day workshop on “Working With Nature to Meet Your Mind” to empower students to embrace nature as a tool to overcome anxiety, boredom and distraction in school in the digital age and reach full creative and learning potential.

Sonoma Clean PowerFurther west in Sonoma County, CA, Transition Initiatives in Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Cotati, and Sonoma Valley worked with local partners to encourage their city governments to sign onto Sonoma Clean Power, a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) clean power option. After months of spreading the word to friends an neighbors, attending City Council meetings, and writing letters to local newspapers and elected officials, all four cities agreed to participate in the formation of Sonoma Clean Power.

Maggie and pigsFinally, we follow our lovely and talented Co-Director Maggie Fleming on her expedition to see what Transitioners are up to in the deserts and urban/suburban jungles of SoCal! Read more about the happenings of Transition LA – Environmental Changemakers, Transition Mar Vista, Transition Laguna Beach, Transition Joshua Tree, and Transition Aliso Viejo in Maggie's blog post: Transitioning Under Palm Trees and Joshua Trees.

In closing, we offer you these words of wisdom from 7-year-old Elliot Leeds in Transition Aliso Viejo on why Transition is important to him:

"The potlucks are great! They are a lot of fun. I like being with my friends. We have tons of fun! We eat yummy food, make forts in our houses, play games like tag and play with a ball. We spend time outside. My favorite thing about Transition is the friends and learning new things. Without our Transition, our world isn't clean. We pick up trash and plant things that we can eat and plants that smell good. And they all give us oxygen. If we don't plant plants, we will die.


I would like to see us do activities like making stuff with clay and make things from natural stuff. I want to go camping with my friends. I want to tell you all that you are THE best because you are nice and together we make good things happen. 

Be Grateful that you are in Transition!"


Images (from top): Rob Hopkins photo by Jim Wileman; Transition Santa Rosa canning pickles; Richard Heinberg video by Euston Video Production and Share Exchange; Environmental Changemakers (Transition LA) Community Garden at Holy Nativity Church in Westchester, Los Angeles; Transition Charlottesville-Albemarle Solar Cookout; video of Tohidu Transition Rosemont Dig-In by Orchard Revolution; Bicycle-powered generator at Bayview Eco-village from Transition Milwaukee; Sonoma Clean Power; Transition Sonoma Valley Solstice Dinner announcement; TUS Co-Director Maggie Fleming hangs with pigs at Swallow Valley Farm in Freestone, CA.     


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