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We're part of a world-wide community movement in response to peak oil and climate change. This site gives you details of our up and coming events and meetings, as well as reports and related matters that are going on in Norwich and East Anglia.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Transition Circles

What if we only had three years to save the planet? was the question Tully posed to the whole of Transition Norwich on June 16 2009.Inspired by the Transition Conference in London, he wrote a challenging paper Transition 2.0 and called an extraordinary meeting where a more urgent, ambitious and bold approach to creating a better world was laid out. 54 people came together to step up personal action in the face of climate change.

After that initial meeting a group who decided to dedicated themselves to a year of cutting carbon emissions came together. We discussed our ideals, our aspirations, our doubts, what we had already let go of (ranging from dramatic reductions in use of water and fuel, cycling to work, almost zero waste) and how we should log our personal carbon footprints and make connections with other groups who are embarking on similar explorations. Subsequently three Transition Circles met during August in order we could swop stories and start building a co-operative network of people and resources, as well as map out what a low-carbon way of life might look like.

Transition Circles are neighbourhood groups that concentrate on personal carbon reduction and how these actions might influence and impact the local area. Initially the subjects under discussion are the main drivers of Carbon Cutting – energy, transport and food.

Each of the circles has it own style of meeting but covers the four main subjects: energy, food, transport. At the beginning we are laying down our personal powerdowns and considering everything from small issues to the (non-green teenage sons, a clothes habit, hot baths) to the larger ones such as social equity in relation to our pursuit of resources, the clash between a new culture of limit and spiritual concepts of endless universal energy. Our meetings are social occasions where we share our low-carbon high veg recipes as well as look at our electricity, gas and oil bills, car log books. Where our feelings about the future, and the data and our ordinary lives meet.

TN2 Transition Norwich 2.0 (TN2) was the original hub group of the Transition Circles. It explored the main ideas and philosophies behind carbon reduction and disseminating them to the outside world. Unlike programmes such as Carbon Conversations or Totnes Together which work to a fixed curriculum and workbook and have a designated faciliator, the group was engaged in a creative discovery and cutting edge of carbon reduction. We took turns in facilitation and note taking. One of its main aims was to create a collaborative community of people taking practical steps to reduce our carbon and environmental footprints.

TN2 looked at how best to seed new groups, securing a £1000 funding from Norwich City Council, as well as collating a skills audit and individual case studies.

It enjoyed a lively downshift debate on the googlegroup, which then became the platform for carbon reduction, the TN community blog, This Low Carbon Life.

The Strangers’ Circle is one of the Transition Circles established through the “Transition Norwich 2” discussions. Like Transition Circle West, we are a small group of individuals who are working to reduce our own carbon footprint and environmental footprint, coming together to learn from each other and support each other in this endeavour.

The members of the Strangers’ Circle all live outside Norwich, and mostly south of Norwich. (The word Stranger was used in Norwich in the middle ages to describe someone who didn’t live in Norwich).

During our first year we looked at the main drivers of home energy, transport, food and “stuff” (that is, consumption of goods and services in general). We set out to quantify how far we managed to reduce our footprint, most of us determined to reduce below half of the average UK footprint, and then work on further reductions after that. We then set out to discuss the wider ramifications of Resilience.

Because we live in geographically dispersed locations, some of us are thinking about seeding new groups in the places where we live.

To find out more about this group or to take part please contact Tully Wakeman tully@transitionnorwich.org

Transition Circle West began at the same time as Strangers and was open to anyone living in the west of Norwich interested in raising their awareness and cutting their carbon. The group met monthly in each others' houses. Meetings start with sharing food and then go onto the theme for the night, which can be energy in the home, stuff, travel, food, and how we can support each other to reduce our consumption and therefore our carbon footprint. The idea was to form neighbourhood groups- as each group attracts new members and grows too large to fit in a living room- it will split into two - so the Transition ethos will spread like cell division.

In the course of a year we collected and measured our use of household energy and created a baseline that we will measure again next year to see how we have reduced our energy consumption. Part of what the group does is share stories and experiences of how each of us lives, what is working, what is difficult, real lives making real changes.
In August 2010 Transition Circle West split and seeded into three groups -Transition Circle Earlham North and Earlham South and Transition Circle Hethersett.

Contact: Kerry Lane(kezereky_the_first@hotmail.com) for Earlham North and

Photos of the Strangers Circle by Mark Watson and Carbon Conversations by Christine Way; illustration of the Transition Circles West by Helen Wells.