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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.

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

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Transition Circles

Strangers' Circle - Wednesday 13, Transition Circle Cafe - January 15, Circle West - Tuesday 26 January, TN2 (TBA)
Having investigated home energy and transport last year, the regular circles get into gear with Food (Strangers') and Stuff (Circle West). Meanwhile TN2, our carbon reduction “think tank” is preparing their individual skills list and narratives. We’ll be posting up our case studies on the TN2 googlegroup during the next month. This picture is from Erik Buitenhuis's narrative, getting an early start on low-carbon travel! Check out Erik's One Planet Living post on the TN blog (Dec 27) where you'll also find a post on the hot topic of the month, woodburners by John Heaser http://transitionnorwich.blogspot.com/

At our next TN2 meeting we’re going to be looking at how best to seed 6-12 new groups in the coming year ( we have just secured £1000 funding from Norwich City Council to help us get going) and at the various other low-carbon programmes on offer. We’ll be discussing everything from the 10:10 campaign and Eco-Teams to the Scottish food initiatives, the Fife Diet and the 50:50 challenge, as well as hearing reports from Christine Way on Carbon Conversations from Cambridge and Tully Wakeman on Transition Together developed in Totnes. (date tba - keep an eye out for the calendar or join the downshift debate on our lively googlegroup). All full-on carbon-cutters welcome.

CIRCLE WEST Transition Circle West is open to anyone living in the west of Norwich who is interested in raising their awareness and cutting their carbon. Our monthly meetings start with sharing food and then go onto the theme for the night and how we can support each other to reduce our consumption and therefore our carbon footprint. The idea is 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 meetings so far we have 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.

At Transition Circle West's last meeting we compared our use of gas and electricity based on our bills with the national average and the average consumption per household in Norwich. Seeing our relative use on a graph enabled us to see where we each are now and, in a great discussion, where we could reduce our consumption. The whole evening brought awareness to our different "norms" and how we can shift them. We will be recording all this over time in our TCW scrapbook.

Our next meeting is going to look at Stuff. Everyone is invited to bring a bit of STUFF they think is useful or valuable but that they no longer want (Helen Wells).

TRANSITION CIRCLE GET-TOGETHER Several people lamented how it was all nice and productive to focus on the agenda items during Transition meetings, but it resulted in us not knowing each other very well, and so we decided to hold a purely social get together on 15 December at the Alexandra Cafe. About 8 people came and although the temperature was a bit excessive for many of us who have turned down our heating at home as much as we can stand, it was a great success and we decided to continue having them. The next one will be on the 15th again in January from 7pm in the Alexandra again. We decided on the 15th so that those who couldn't make it because it was on a Tuesday in December hopefully will be able to come on Friday 15 January. We haven't discussed yet whether we want to keep going to the Alexandra or will rotate pubs as we rotate days of the week, or maybe meet at people's houses instead. If you can't make it but want to make a suggestion for the February date or venue
do get in touch. (Erik Buitenhuis)

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 Stranger’s Circle - contact Tully at tully@transitionnorwich.org. Transition Circle West (NR2) - contact Helen Wells heavenwells@mac.com . Transition Central - contact Christine at transition@innerspace.co.uk.


Crude (US 2009) dir. Joe Berlinger - 26 January
Cinema City

Three years in the making, this cinéma-vérité feature from acclaimed filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Brother’s Keeper, Paradise Lost, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster) is the epic story of one of the largest and most controversial environmental lawsuits on the planet. The inside story of the infamous “Amazon Chernobyl” case, Crude is a real-life high stakes legal drama, set against a backdrop of the environmental movement, global politics, celebrity activism, human rights advocacy, the media, multinational corporate power, and rapidly-disappearing indigenous cultures.

The landmark case takes place in the Amazon jungle of Ecuador, pitting 30,000 indigenous and colonial rainforest dwellers against the U.S. oil giant Chevron. The plaintiffs claim that Texaco – which merged with Chevron in 2001 – spent three decades systematically contaminating one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth, poisoning the water, air and land. The plaintiffs allege that the pollution has created a “death zone", resulting in increased rates of cancer, leukemia and birth defects. Chevron vociferously fights the claims, charging that the case is a complete fabrication, perpetrated by “environmental con men” who are seeking to line their pockets with the company’s billions.

While the environmental impact of the consumption of fossil fuels has been increasingly documented in recent years, Crude focuses on the human cost of our addiction to oil and the increasingly difficult task of holding a major corporation accountable for its past deeds.

Food, Inc. (US 2008) dir. Robert Kenner
release date 12 February

Food, Inc. lifts the veil on the US food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that's been hidden from the consumer with the consent of the government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. The global food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the farmers, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of e coli, we are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield Farms' Gary Hirschberg and Polyface Farms' Joe Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising -- and often shocking truths -- about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a people and where we are going from here.

2009 looking back in celebration 2010 looking forward with resolution(s)

Happy New Year to everyone in Transition! Since those “top down” talks in Copenhagen it’s become clear more than ever that the changes climate change requires us to make are going to come from “bottom up” (that’s us). And now as the light is on the increase and the birds are starting to sing, instead of thinking about holidays abroad we’re looking ahead to the small steps we can do at home in the new decade.

In 2009 the communications crew covered all the hot topics: the midsummer and birthday parties, the CSA and TN2 start-up meetings, the progress of the Resilience Plan and the creation of the Transition Circles. The Bulletin has run theme group roundups and reviewed books such as Local Food, blogs and films (The Story of Stuff, Home and Vanishing of the Bees). As well as announcing up and coming events this on-line monthly also acts as a “feedback loop”, reporting back on everything from allotments to zero-carbon caravans. Seeded from the bulletin were our innovative and flourishing TN blogs.

Meanwhile looking forward to 2010 here are some of our Transition Voices speaking out about what we plan to do next year:

Tom Harper from the Core Group writes: For 2010 with my young family, TN and the wider community in mind, I plan to invest in a small solar panel to cover hot water for the home. I plan to find a permanent local job! To design and build with permaculture students a vegetable patch in front of the house, to facilitate some Be The Change symposiums. I plan to enagage more with potential and definite TN projects, to be more thoughtful about the things I buy and to find or form a story telling group (primarily for the purpose of positive visioning).

Transition Circles aim to grow and appear in 12 different areas of the city. Key carbon-cutters in TN2 are aiming to keep to their 50% of the national average target (for review in midsummer).

Tully Wakeman from the Strangers' Circle writes: for myself I’m determined to reduce my greenhouse gas footprint to below half the national average – at least in respect of the big areas i.e. home heating, transport and food. Personally I’m also committed to starting a new group in Shotesham. About 20 people in Shotesham attended a showing of the film, In Transition, in November 2009 and we hope to build on that to create some kind of new group there.

Transition Circle West sent a collection: Do a detailed inventory of my consumption and reduce it to half the national average; start making more of my own food like preserves and herbal tea; reduce my use of resources by 10% this year; I'm only going to do what I really want to do; reduce my household carbon emissions to 1 ton; get my vegetable patch growing; I'm going to interline my front door curtain; make my own bread.

The Food Group is ready to get going with the proposed Community Supported Agriculture scheme, Market Garden School Farm and the Local Flour Mill at the Wholefood Planet in Hall Road (see News section for full report).

The Transport Group wants to see an end to the daily gridlock in the city centre. We're campaigning for better public transport to keep those cars at home; and we're continuing the challenge to the Northern Distributor Road. The Department for Transport has approved it in principle, but we don't have to accept that decision!

The Resilience Plan Group is determined to publish the first edition of the Resilience Plan early in 2010. We aim for the Plan to be a really clear and useful document, both to people within Transition Norwich who are thinking about future directions, and for policymakers in our local authorities.

The Reskilling Group resolves to teach those that want to learn at least three new skills in 2010 and plans to carry out a skills audit of Transition Norwich in 2010.

The Communications Group are looking forward to expanding their press coverage, running a Transition Summer Camp, a film documentary week, and a Transition Tales and Visions event with Transition Cambridge. Jane Chittenden (who's been writing about resolutions in the TN blog this week) wants to see more local shops in the city selling goods from local producers at a fair price. My food-shopping resolution is to support local shops and the market; to make the extra time to track them down and not to fall for the convenience of one-stop shopping. Note to self: supermarket shopping is much more expensive than independent shops!

NEWS: New Shoots in Transition

The headline story this month is a new development within TN, as the initiative decides on its "legal" framework. There is an FAQ all about this new organisation at http://www.transitionnorwich.org/jan10docs/faq.pdf . This is an on-going process and open to debate, so do write in with your comments and further questions.

Meanwhile in 2010, year of projects, the TN food projects are expecting to hear about their funding bid soon and the TN allotment team is all set to go for all those who want to grow-our-own. You can find them at the friendly set-up at Bluebell Allotments North, with seeds and tools, a community apple press and plenty of opportunities to share lunch and produce.

New Company to Form
One of the things we really value about Transition Norwich is that there is very little central control. Members of different theme groups, Transition Circles etc. can organise whatever activities they like as long as they broadly fit with the objectives of Transition Norwich. We are keen not to lose this creative freedom.However, when it comes to bidding for money for specific projects, funders like to see an incorporated not-for-profit organisation where there is a structure that enables certain individuals to take responsibility for the successful delivery of that project.

The Core Group therefore feel that there is a need for Transition Norwich to create a not-for-profit organisation that can bid for funding for significant projects, on behalf of Transition Norwich. We are not suggesting that Transition Norwich itself should be shoehorned into this new organisation, but that the new organisation should run alongside Transition Norwich.We suggest that this new organisation should be a "company limited by guarantee". This is the most common legal structure used in the UK for not-for-profit organisations. It ensures that money can never be paid to shareholders etc. Companies limited by guarantee are listed with Companies House and have "limited" at the end of their name, just like regular profit-distributing companies. Our new organisation might be called, for example, Transition Norwich Projects Ltd. (Tully Wakeman/Core Group)

The new group is at its formative stages and responses, comments and recommendations are welcomed, Please write to Chris Hull at (chrishull@phonecoop.coop). A summary of all comments will be published in a following bulletin.

Food and Farming: New projects for 2010
We hope to start work early in the new year on delivering four exciting food projects in Norwich:
• a Community Supported Agriculture scheme growing organic vegetables on the edge of the city at Postwick. We’ll be recruiting members who will pay an annual membership fee in return for a regular supply of seasonal, organic, local produce with a very low carbon footprint. Members will also be encouraged to get involved in supporting the project.
• another market garden on the playing fields of the Hewett School, linking students and local people into vegetable production and selling through local community outlets including the school kitchen, and ideas like weekly market stalls at local primary schools.
• a flour mill milling local organic wheat at Wholefood Planet on Hall Road, and supplying local artisan bakers who will then be able to bake a “Local Loaf”; and
• brokering local staples such as oats and beans into wholefood shops in the city.

We’ve put in a funding bid to get these projects started, and are hoping for a positive response and to get the projects under way, early in 2010. (Tully Wakeman)

Allotment: Spring is Around the Corner!

Quite a lot is already happening on the allotment. Vegetables: the broad beans have all come through (Sabberton Supreme beans are looking particularly good), the garlic and onion sets are starting to shoot and the spring cabbages are bedding in nicely. Fruit: there are lots of little strawberry runners to plant later and I have discovered that the mystery tree is a self-fertile Stella cherry. Brenna's putting aside some cuttings from pruning the allotment's fruit bushes.

I’ve made good progress on digging. There is more to be done when the weather improves - too cold at the moment. Over the winter we can propagate some herb cuttings – any offers from people with interesting herbs?

Our outline planting plan needs to be developed in detail before the spring rush in March. Do join us for a planning meeting at the allotment soon. (Jane Chittenden)

Reskilling Survey

The Reskilling group's new year's resolution for 2010 is to teach people skills! So to gauge interest we have made a one question survey. Please do respond if you have a skill you would like to learn or teach even if you are not a member of the Reskilling group. The survey can be found here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WFPMFQV.

Carbon Conversations - 12 and 21 January

Carbon Conversations is an inspiring, practical 6-session course on low-carbon living developed by Cambridge Carbon Footprint. It was recently featured in the Guardian as one of the 20 best climate change solutions. The course engages people both emotionally and practically, helping them overcome the barriers often associated with making large carbon reductions. Members explore the basic climate change problem, their responses to it, their ideas for a low-carbon future and the four key areas of the footprint – home energy, travel, food and other consumption. Most members make reductions of 1 tonne CO2 during the course and develop plans to halve their footprints over a longer period. After the course we hope that members will consider becoming facilitators so that more and more people become involved in supporting each other in developing the resilience needed to face the challenges ahead.

Two courses of 6 fortnightly sessions are being offered at Inner Space for £23 each including the excellent handbook.
Tuesday evenings 7.30-9.30 starting 12th January
Thursday mornings 10.00 -12.00 starting 21st January. Further courses will begin in April.

For more information and bookings contact Christine: 01603 614460 transition@phonecoop.coop

For further details about Carbon Conversations visit: www.cambridgecarbonfootprint.org

REPORTS - All Change on the Western Front

The Wave in London
On 5 December Transition Norwich travelled down to London to take part in The Wave, the biggest climate march in history, when thousands converged on the capital to bring attention 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. The event went almost unoticed by the media, but we were there resiliently nevertheless.(Charlotte Du Cann/Comms) You can find a full report on the day on http://www.transitionnorwich.blogspot.com/ (Dec 7 tag 'Climate action') and check out the big blue pictures taken by Josiah Meldrum on flickr (http://tinyurl.com/ye2xjvv)

Conversation Cafe on Cultural Change

Transition work is as much about how we do things as it is about what we do. So it was no surprise to find that the opening to this evening's event was in the form of a short play/narrative featuring Kerry, Eric, Mark and Alex. Kerry and Eric seemed very busy driving around doing their supermarket shopping and worrying about their next overseas holiday, while Mark was doing his best impersonation of Jeremy Paxman on them as they went about their business. Alex commented that they didn't appear to be listening.

The evening progressed, world cafe style, as we moved around the different themes in small groups and shared how we might see change in those themes - so how we might overcome the perceived obstacles. As we came together at the end there was no shortage of ideas as to how Norwich might look if even some of these ideas became reality. One new person to Transition commented: " I came along here not knowing what to expect, and nervous.... I am going away having enjoyed myself and learnt a lot". (Chris Hull, Core Group)