About Us


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.

NEWS AND RELATED EVENTS... Common Room - Low Carbon Cookbook - Magdalen-Augustine Celebration - Norwich FarmShare - Transition Free Press 4 - Visions for Change -On the Blog Harvest: Looking in the Archive 2009-2013 - Flight of the Butterflies - Where We Are Now

Friday, November 6, 2009

Climate Action in Norwich and London - TN reports

In December 2009 in Copenhagen the world’s governments met for what might have been be the last chance to agree on joint global actions to cut greenhouse gases to prevent runaway global warming. It was called ‘the most important meeting in history’. Millions of people were pressing their governments to do more – and to agree the best policies, even if some powerful oil, biofuel and aviation businesses oppose this. There were calls for a declaration of a Climate Emergency so that strong measures can be implemented such as 10% emission cuts by 2010, the building of a new green economy, an end to agrofuel use and protection of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.

The Wave in London

On 5 December Transition Norwich travelled down to London to take part in the The Wave, the biggest climate march in history, when thousands converged on the capital to the planetary crisis being discussed by the nations of the world at Copenhagen.

It was a big march with 50,ooo people dressed in all shades of blue: royal blue dragons, sky-blue banners,turquoise wigs, indigo-striped faces. While MPs and campaigners spoke eloquently and passionately at Speakers' Corner, thousands gathered in Grosvenor Square before moving through the great shopping and political highways of the West End towards Parliament. Placards supplied by political and religious organisations declared an end to climate chaos, poverty and capitalism, brightly coloured homemade ones (including our own) from all round the UK declared Climate Emergency, Cardiff is Ready and There is No Planet B. Along the way and as we circled the Houses of Parliament both sides of the Thames we met fellow Transitioners - from Ipswich and Bungay at Speakers' Corner, from Berkhamsted by the Houses of Parliament, from Brixton, who were carrying a banner over Westminster Bridge. At three o’clock Big Ben sounded and a great cheer went up from us all. Was anyone listening? Is this the time when ordinary people get to speak out about the 101 issues that climate change brings to light, rather than give the authorial voice to the scientists and politicians and the corporations who pay for them behind the scenes? It was a beginning. Our voices were quiet, but we were there resiliently nevertheless (Charlotte Du Cann)

You can find a full report on the day on
http://www.transitionnorwich.blogspot.com/ and check out the big blue pictures taken by Josiah Meldrum on flickr (http://tinyurl.com/ye2xjvv)

Climate Emergency Rally and March in Norwich

On Saturday 21 November several transitioners gathered in Chapelfield Gardens to join the biggest ever Norwich Climate March while Tom Harper set up the TN stall on Millennium Plain ready for the Climate Emergency rally. There was a buzz in the air as the organisers and police negotiated the route which had already been agreed. At last the Samba Band with its drums and colourful dancers started and we were on the move, but not for long as the traffic ahead of us came to a standstill on St Stephen’s Street. This gave us lots more time to hand out leaflets and get the message across to the fascinated shoppers that climate change is real and we need to act now. The Transition Norwich banner was up there near the front and was clearly visible on the TV News bulletins that went out over the weekend.

Then hundreds of people gathered outside the Forum for the Climate Emergency Rally where speakers including Dr Ian Gibson warned of the dangers of runaway climate change and of this being the “biggest issue of our time”. County Councillor Andrew Boswell said: "Gordon Brown should declare a National Climate Emergency and tell it like it is” and our very own Tully and Kate spoke about some of the solutions and all the positive things that are already happening in Transition Norwich and Bungay. (Christine Way)

While many people travlled to Copenhagen for a Global Day of Action midway through the talks.
candlelight vigils and call-to-actions took place all over the planet. On Saturday 12 December Norwich joined 800 cities in 81 countries in mourning for what we have lost, celebrating what we care about and want to preserve and demanding that those in Copenhagen act while they can. (Lesley Grahame)

TckTckTck includes Avaaz, 350.org, Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, and many others.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Transition Circles– Strangers' Circle and TC West - Wednesday 13 and Monday 26 January

Winter transition talk is all about home energy and heating most of all. There was a lively flurry of emails when the temperature dipped at the beginning of November and everyone shared their tips about keeping warm and retrofitting their houses. Long johns appeared on our front page and in the TN blog. Some of us turned the radiators on very low, most of us were holding out till the first frosts. Meanwhile keeping a 50% cut in our carbon emissions as our main intent, TN2 is collating a skills audit and individual case studies, so that others can see both the narrative and the numbers involved. The neighbourhood circles are now looking at Stuff (TC West) and Food (Strangers') in relationship with radical carbon reduction. Meanwhile Christine Way of Transition Central checked out Carbon Conversations in Cambridge (watch this space next month for a full report).

Strangers' Circle. The Strangers (after Strangers' Hall, originally a meeting house for the Huguenot weavers), are a group of us that live in the hinterland of Norwich. At our first meeting in Shotesham we laid down the tracks of our personal powerdowns that ranged from nearby issues (non-green teenage sons, a clothes habit, hot baths) to the wider ones, such as social equity in relation to our pursuit of resources and the clash between a new culture of limit and spiritual concepts of endless universal energy. In our second meeting at Mangreen we got down to details: we laid our electricity, gas and oil bills out on the table and discussed how we could live without all that central heating and hot water.

Last night in Reydon we had a meeting based on Transport (giving everyone an opportunity for serious car-share!). We brought our mileage records and sitting by a roaring wood stove Tully crunched the figures. We were all about the same with our car habits, around 1 ton. Some of us were still flying, others of us had stopped. Our bus and train travel carbon use was minimal. What becomes clear in this simple but exacting scrutiny is what fossil fuel you think you are using bears almost no relation to what you are actually using (which is way higher). That no matter how we look at it, we have been living in an artificially powered world for so long, it is a challenge to face reality together and discover a way out of it. (Charlotte Du Cann).

The Transition Circles meet regularly in people’s houses (see calendar for full details). If you would like to join a neighbourhood circle or start one up do get in touch with any of the following people: TN2 and Strangers' Circle - contact Tully at tully@transitionnorwich.org. Transition Circle West (NR2) - contact Helen Wells on heavenwells@mac.com. Transition Central - contact Christine at transition@innerspace.co.uk.

Communications: Read All About Us!

TN is getting in the news. Not only have the Buildings and Energy group been interviewed by BBC1, but we have also been invited to join the OneWorldColumn on the EDP, specifically to write about the Transition movement and its related issues. The OWC is written by a co-operative of six writers that comes out each Saturday. Last month Charlotte Du Cann of TN and Trevor Phillips of Campaign Against Climate Change both focussed on climate change and the need to radically downshift our lives. Check out their respective articles, It’s Time to Leave the Pleasuredome and Slaying Dinosaurs in Copenhagen at OneWorldColumn.org. Meanwhile here is the news of our TN blog, now entering its second round... (You'll have to visit the TN blog to find out why Primark is in the picture!)

Since the November bulletin, the TN blog (www.transitionnorwich.blogspot.com) has gone from strength to strength.

The vision of a low-carbon life can be a daunting one, and last month we have tackled some difficult subjects. Charlotte talked candidly about the mental challenge involved in consciously letting go of our addiction to the oil-fuelled consumer lifestyle we’ve grown so used to. Tully wrote about the pressures from those around us to consume, and the way in which the public spaces in our society reinforce that pressure. There may be no easy answers, but understanding the question is often the first stage in finding a solution.

Yet, proving that transition has its own richness and sense of fun, we’ve also talked about everything from meeting strangers on buses, to the pleasures around us in nature; from hot baths to tents, to the realisation that Real Men Wear Tights. Oh yes!

But perhaps the dominant subject this month has been food, starting off with carrot and cumin scones before moving on to the subject of growing our own food. A series of passionate posts by Jane C, including some fabulous pictures, on the subject of baking bread had me heading for the kitchen, while Mark W’s picture of Breakfast with Friends made me realise that I didn’t even know what a quince looked like. If you don’t either, head to the TN blog to find out! (Jon Curran/Comms)

Little Melton Cycle Path – Friday 4 December

We are campaigning for a safe, off road cycle path that will enable children to get to the schools in Little Melton and Hethersett and will enable everyone to quickly reach places of work at the Hospital, UEA and Research Park. There are proposals to enlarge the Research Park and for 1000 more houses at Hethersett – without action the roads will become more dangerous, more congested and more polluted.

Please come to one of the locations below – it just needs to be for a few minutes in order to show your support and maybe get your picture on TV!

08:00 to 08:45 at Hethersett Village Hall – South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon will meet children as they ride to school. A crew from BBC TV is expected – as well as the local press. If you come on your bike please wear bright clothing and have lights as it will only just be light!
09:00 to 09:15 at the pedestrian crossing over the A47 at end of School Lane, Little Melton – MP Richard Bacon will see how dangerous the existing crossing is.

The full details are at http://www.little-melton.org.uk/news/CyclePath.html. If you can help with the campaign then please contact John on 01603 812472 or john@heaser.com or visit http://cyclelinks.org.uk/.

Lights Out! TN Filmed by BBC1 on Energy Audit – Sunday 6 December

One of the ideas of the Buildings and Energy group of Transition Norwich was to carry out an audit of the lights being left on in shops and offices around the city long after anyone was using them. As part of a programme looking at climate change issues both in an international context and at more local level action, the BBC politics show filmed a report on this project on the evening of 11th November.Maria Price and Mark Crutchley from the group were interviewed by the show's presenter in Norwich, and filmed looking at the lighting in various city centre shops. The report is scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday 6th December in a programme which will also include an interview with Professor Kevin Anderson, head of the Tyndall Centre. (Mark Crutchley/Buildings and Energy)

World Cafe on Creating Personal Change - Tuesday 8 December

The Resilience Plan group together with the Heart and Soul Group invite you to join us in a discussion about "getting from here to there". A lot of the Resilience Plan has been written and gives some clear ideas about how we need to change our food, transport, home heating etc. But how do we get from here to there? What are the inner, as well as outer, obstacles to change, and how do we help to overcome them? Come and join the cafe to answer these questions. (Note: this was going to be an Open Space, but in the interests of reaching a conclusion that can be written up in the Resilience Plan, we've decided to go for a World Cafe format instead. This involves a series of small-group discussions, each with a predefined question and a facilitator. We're sure you'll enjoy it and we aim to engage all of your wisdom and insights.) (Erik Buitenhuis/Resilience Plan)

The cafe will be held in the Alexander Room, United Reformed Church, Princes Street, Norwich NR3 1AZ. Arrive 18:45 for a 19:00 start, bringing cake is optional.

Meeting to discuss the Transition Circles, 16 June 09

Transition Circles - TN2 and Circle West - Friday 27 November and Tuesday 1 December

It’s all about heating this month. All the Transition Circles are talking long johns and fingerless gloves, we’re getting out our electric, gas and oil bills and getting down to the nitty-gritty. We are also deciding how to work together. TN2 is now becoming a hub, exploring the main ideas and philosophies behind carbon reduction and disseminating them to the outside world. 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 will be the main drivers of Carbon Cutting – energy, transport and food.

TN2 On 6 October we shared the last of the party cider and a delicious meal at Christine’s flat in central Norwich. We introduced ourselves by speaking about the qualities and experiences we bring to this project. We went in order of age (22-74) and our skills ranged from oceanography, local government funding and research into sustainable communities to creative directorship, psychology, consciousness and on-line collaborative learning. We then had the “big discussion about how we see this group and the Transition Circle process” that included the recent funding bids, whether we should use a fixed programme such as Carbon Conversations or Totnes Together with a curriculum and workbook, and whether we were still committed to cutting our emissions to half the national average over the next year. In amongst the many tangents concerning bees, neighbours, co-operative food sharing, car-sharing and how to keep cheerful, we were discovering a creative and fluid structure that will not only enable us to work together but want to. (Charlotte Du Cann/Strangers' Circle)

Transition Circle West met on 26 October, starting as usual with a bring-and-share meal. This month Teresa Belton gave a somewhat abbreviated version of the Social Science Cafe workshop she had developed for CUE (Community University Engagement) East’s first Sustainable Living Festival in the Forum in May, called “Increasing Happiness, Decreasing Consumption”. This combined a setting out of the findings of research into wellbeing with exercises to explore aspects of life that nurture wellbeing. Of course, Transition people know all about the downsides of consumption already, so the consumption element of the workshop which would be included for a more general participant group was left on one side. Afterwards the group said they felt it was well worthwhile to be helped to be reminded of those things that really do cultivate our sense of wellbeing - none of which have either an environmental or a financial cost. (Teresa Belton/TC West)

The Transition Circles meet regularly in people’s houses (see calendar for full details). Transition Circle West will be held in NR2 on 1 December - contact Helen Wells on heavenwells@mac.com, Transition Central will be meeting in central Norwich during December (date to be confirmed) - Contact Christine at transition@phonecoop.coop, The Strangers’ Circle will be meeting on 30 November in Reydon - contact Charlotte at theseakaleproject@hotmail.co.uk

Sunday, November 1, 2009

FILMS: Vanishing of the Bees directed by George Langworthy and Maryam Henein (UK, 2009)

Today is the last day of Bee Action week and cinemas all over England are buzzing. The documentary film, Vanishing of the Bees, investigates the syndrome known as colony collapse disorder that has decimated honeybee populations throughout the world, affecting not only the production of honey, but the pollination of trees, fruit, vegetables and herbs that make up a third of what we eat every day.

The mysterious disappearance of billions of bees has coincided with the use of systemic pesticides known as neonicotinoids. These damage the bee’s immune system in subsequent generations, making them vulnerable to disease. Manufactured by the pharmaceutical corporation, Bayer (CropScience), these toxins also affect the ability of the bees to navigate - they suffer from loss of memory and co-ordination and literally cannot find their way home.

Neonicotinoids are illegal in many European countries, including France, Germany and Italy. Governments in Britain and the United States have made no move towards banning their use. Meanwhile other organisations, such as the film’s distributor the Co-op (Plan Bee), the WI (SOS for Bees), Waveney Beekeepers (who run free beekeeping courses) and Transition initiatives, such as Sustainable Bungay (who are starting their own Community Supported Beehives), are taking matters into their own hands.

Perhaps the most effective way individuals and families can help every day is by eating fruit and vegetables grown without chemicals on organic farms or in local allotments and gardens which support a strong diversity of wild and domestic plants. By “voting with our forks” we will be giving back pollen and nectar to one of our greatest and most ancient allies on earth. (Charlotte Du Cann/Communications)

* STOP PRESS * In reference to the above some of you artists out there may have noted that there's an art exhibition planned for January 2010 at The Forum entitled 'The Elements' which is sponsored by Bayer CropScience. The Forum Trust is currently inviting entries from artists working with themes of 'Man and the Environment' from across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Essex and Hertfordshire. So please think twice before you pick up that paintbrush! (Andy Croft, Communications)

Transition East Gathering - 14 November

Transition East is a regional collective of all the Transition initiatives in the Eastern Region. On 14 Nov the second Transition East Gathering will take place in Diss (the first, pictured here, was organised by Downham Market and Villages). This will a great opportunity to meet everyone in Transition, share in our successes, grapple with our issues and identify people who can provide specialist support and expertise. The day's programme will include mapping, open space, Transition Troubleshooting and of course lunch (please bring a dish to share, soup will be provided by our Diss hosts). Suggested donation to cover costs: £3. For further details of all events contact transitioneast.net. To book places for the Gathering contact Gary Alexander garyalex@earthconnected.net or tel 07766 711999.

Communications: The Blog Report

The two Transition Norwich blogs were launched on our first birthday party on October 4 and both have become active areas on our (soon-to-be-redesigned) website. The news blog carries all the up-to-date news and reviews and appears on the front page. It works like a live bulletin and supplies the material for this monthly in-house update of everything that’s going on in Transition Norwich. The TN blog (http://www.transitionnorwich.blogspot.com/) is a low-carbon community blog. It’s written by Transitioners in different groups and showcases the personal lives of people in Transition.

Last week we began to take turns as the TN writer-in-residence (weekends are kept open for anyone in the crew to post). Jon Curran has been talking about sweet chestnuts, children, nature, energy, wind power and all things low-carbon. Find out how to make chestnut soup and other practical and philosophical insights amongst our book reviews, bike rides, medicine plant walks, midsummer parties, zero-carbon holidays and allotment news. Do post your comments. Blogging is all about response. We’d love to hear your feedback.

FILMS: In Transition by Emma Goude (UK 2009) - Sunday 22 November

This month the Comms group is preparing a programme of events for the winter and would like your views. Please go to http://www.doodle.com/zazzr95xyrbpwxvh to select any films you would like to see and add other events that you would like in the comments below the doodle. Those who enjoyed moving across the dance floor at the Transition-supported ceilidh at The Keir Hardie Hall in September might like to step out to the low carbon acoustic band, Shufflewing, on 18 November http://www.reeldance.org.uk.
At the heart of learning how to transition to a world beyond oil is building community. In Transition successfully portrays the real 'getting your hands dirty' approach that is the hallmark of transition work, and shows it active in groups across the whole of the U.K. and the world. Also clear is how far transition work has progressed in a year. Not just in terms of numbers of groups across the country - they have proliferated !- but through the seriousness with which we are now taken by local and national politicians, policy makers, and big media personalities. "Transition Towns has become mainstream", proclaims one person in the film - but not at the expense of its fundamental creativity, infectiousness, and grassroots soul. It's great to see Transition Norwich featured so prominently in the film too - watch it and be inspired! (Chris Hull/Core)

Transport: Norfolk and Norwich Transport Plans – 28 November

Transition Norwich Transport Group has prepared guidance notes for those of you who would like to comment on the proposed transport strategy for Norwich and North Norfolk (deadline 28 November). Do please spare the time to comment if you can; the guidance notes (Word doc attached with this bulletin) give a brief overview of the plans, some of which are excellent and others which are clearly unsustainable. The consultation document can be downloaded here: http://www.norfolk.gov.uk/consumption/groups/public/documents/article/ncc071290.pdf

Transition Norwich is not a pressure group; it's up to you to make an informed response - we hope the attached notes (TNTransportNotes.doc) will help to give you the information you need. For more info contact Jane Chittenden at editor@transitionnorwich.org

* STOP PRESS * The majority of the County Council is pressing the Department of Transport for a 'Yes' decision on the Northern Distributor Route (NDR) and 80,000 new houses. http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/content/news/story.aspx?brand=ENOnline&category=News&tBrand=ENOnline&tCategory=news&itemid=NOED30

Reskilling/NR3: Save Christmas, Save the Planet – Saturday 28 November

As a way of building community, relearning old skills and affording Christmas we have decided to run a Green Christmas Fair at the local church hall. In Sewell ward ( part of NR3) the local transitioners (reskilling and NR3) have got together with the existing Church fete which was already green - bric-a brac, homemade jam and cakes and handmade knitwear. Already there is great excitement particularly amongst the churchgoers and the local community. We are planning a range of workshops to show you how to make your own Christmas gifts and generally having a low carbon Christmas which is about loving each other and not buying loads of stuff.

If you feel you can contribute in any way then please contact me, we need storytellers, reskillers (making gifts) and stuff to make things with. So if you have any of these skills or any old fabric, pine cones or hazel or willow twigs then please let me know. Kind regards, Helen Simpson Slapp – helenofnorwich@hotmail.com

Resilience Plan: Open Space Discussion on Changing Culture, Values and Behaviour – Tuesday 8 December

We all recognise that communicating the facts about peak oil, climate change etc is only the beginning of the challenge. We don't necessarily change our lives overnight just because we become aware of the facts. Other obstacles get in the way - some of them practical, others to do with our identity, values, culture and beliefs. We in the Resilience Plan group are moving towards pulling together information about the practical changes that Norwich could make to become more resilient. But we need your help in exploring how we're going to get from where we are now to that more resilient future - that is, to build a vision of how the culture and values of the people of Norwich might change to enable those practical changes to happen. Of course, building this understanding will help the whole of Transition Norwich, not just the Resilience Plan.

We're going to use an Open Space format, which means that you can bring your own ideas about different aspects of this question and invite others to join you in discussing them. Tuesday Dec 8th, 7:30pm. Check http://www.transitionnorwich.org/ for details of the venue. (Tully Wakeman/Resilience Plan)