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

Saturday, May 29, 2010

REPORT: Seedling Swap

We came from Bungay by bus and Hethersett by bicycle (and from quite close by, by car - but with very heavy boxes). The list of plants we swapped was huge: kale for valerian, quinces for sunflowers, squashes for raspberries; tomatoes, Slovak white peppers, lettuces, aubergines, datura, feverfew, chillies and much more.

The Playhouse kindly hosted us and brought lilies and mint to the swap, happily taking away chillies and basil.

It was a fun, relaxed day. We chatted with friends old and new. Some people heard about Transition Norwich for the first time, others had been with us since the Unleashing.

It felt good, to be sharing something of ourselves, these tiny plants we'd nurtured from seeds - in airing cupboards and on windowsills; and to share our pleasure and our passion with other plant lovers.

To give freely, to share and receive, and to plant something in hope. A symbol for Transition. (Elena, Food & Farming/TN2)

Solar Panel Scheme

The previous government's announcement to pay households for micro-generation in different forms (the feed-in tarriff) has caused a surge of interest - and Transition Norwich is no exception. The scheme does feature in the current government's recent manifesto document too.

On May 19th 24 people gathered at The Greenhouse to hear Ramin and Emily, from the Solarcentury company, to explain in detail how the new government scheme works for photovoltaic panels (PV), why it came about, and how it has worked in other countries who have pre-dated the U.K.

Many detailed, and some technical, questions were well answered, and the sense seemed to be that everyone who attended came away with a clear idea of how both schemes work: outright buying, and the 'hosting' ( or third party ownership) scheme.

TN's role has really been as the messenger and local organiser, and it is up to interested individuals now to follow up directly with Solarcentury. Their telephone number is: 0207 803 0100. Their website also has an online calculator which should tell you what energy generation you can expect from your particular dwelling: http://www.solarcentury.com/

Thanks are due to Tigger and the Greenhouse Trust for hosting this meeting, and to Emily and Ramin for travelling from London to do the presentation.

For further info contact Chris Hull
chrishull@phonecoop.coop (01603 664928)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Transition Circles - Monday 7 and Wednesday 9 June

Strangers’ Circle – The Resilience Sequence -Monday 7 June
Our May meeting at Elena’s and Alan’s was a celebration of two birthdays, a wedding anniversary, and the arrival of our first food order as a co-op. The food was great, the company was great and the way those lentils, rice and chickpeas were skilfully and quickly weighed, measured and sorted into reused plastic bags and tubs, it was as if we’d been doing it for years. You can read more by clicking here.

Over the past months at the Strangers’ meetings we have examined our home energy use, food, transport and stuff and discussed and taken steps to reduce our personal carbon footprints. We decided to look at Resilience in our next six meetings (beginning with a discussion about this key transition concept) and Tully spoke about the feasta report in respect to current non-resilient systems. Charlotte then briefly mapped out a joint project for our low-carbon cookbook. And lastly we decided to host a Transition Circles Midsummer picnic on 21st June at Mangreen in celebration of our low-carbon year in TN2. There'll be a carbon cutting quiz and Naomi will be Quizmaster! Everyone is welcome. (Mark Watson)
Carbon Conversations – Energy & Transport - Wednesday 9 June
“To measure is to know,” remarked Erik as we debated at the end of one of our sessions about the efficacy of numbers. Some of us intuitive carbon-cutters find facts and figures dry or disempowering, but whichever way you swing it unless you count the KW or the car miles you don’t grasp the reality of the situation. The trick is to bring our real lives and feelings to bear into the discussion. To bring attention to the practical moves we need to make to get to that four-tonne target, the course includes playing games – a kind of reverse Monopoly - that show how middle and high income families can downshift, accompanied by innovative government policies.

This time we went home with a single-use energy monitor (to check oven and washing machine) and a DVD of Crude Impact (2005). While the world is grappling with an oil spill it can’t contain in the Mexican Gulf, British banks underwriting tar sands extraction in Canada, pristine Peruvian rainforest being plundered by Conoco, Shell continuing its desecration of the most densely populated area of Nigeria, it’s good to remind yourself of the price other people are paying for our oil addicted lifestyle. Puts all those resistances in a sober light. (Charlotte Du Cann)

If you would like to know more about Transition Circles, join one or start one in your neighbourhood please contact Tully Wakeman on tully@transitionnorwich.org. If you want to join a Carbon Conversation contact Christine Way on transition@phonecoop.coop

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This Low Carbon Life: saying it with flowers

In May whilst the political world turned blue and yellow, the TN blog went totally green: there were plants spiralling round everyone’s posts - bluebells from the woods, strawberries in the field. Lemon balm was the talk of the town. Charlotte talked about the emergence of the TN2 Walnut tree, Jon Curran about the oak tree he grew from an acorn, in spite of what his biology teacher told him. Elena showed a video of her newspaper pots for the TN plant swap and mints and ground ivy starred in this season’s dazzling dessert, Mark’s Medicine Jelly.
Perhaps most successful of all was our topic week, The 7 Deadly Resistances. As co-editor Jon Curran reports about that acorn: “For me, it's become a metaphor for what can actually happen when you go ahead and do what conventional wisdom tells you cannot be done.Which is why, despite all the deadly resistances we talked about last week, despite guilt, sloth, lack of time, ignorance, denial - people telling you it can't be done - and our own conditioning, and all the many more things we could have written about - despite all these things, amazing people all over the world are doing amazing things to make the world a better place. Planting trees, raising crops, tending bees, learning skills, sharing and helping each other in all sorts of ways. It's all got to start somewhere."

In June we’re joining in with National Bike Week and cataloguing Travels on My Bike as well as reporting from this year’s National Transition Conference. Watch that space! (Charlotte Du Cann/Communications) www.transitionnorwich.blogspot.com

For further info on the TN blog contact theseakaleproject@hotmail.co.uk

Sunday, May 23, 2010

NR3 - Neighbourhood Meeting - Monday 24 May

NR3 – Neighbourhood meeting - Monday 24 May
Seed swapping grew into tree swapping at the last NR3 meeting. I came home with 4 saplings and a tray of beetroot! Thanks to Greta for hosting and supplying us with drinks while we put the world to rights.

Our next meeting is at Karen Steadman's art space on 27 St Augustine's Street on Monday 24th May at 7 pm. We don’t have a theme as yet but maybe something eco-crafty? Speaking of which her event called Let's paint the town green is on Saturday 8th May. You meet at St Augustine's Church at 2.30p.m. for the parade or 5.30 at the hall to celebrate all the garden sculptures coming together. Contact Karen on 0770 848 5998 for more details.

She is having some regular craft evenings at her space on Thursday evenings starting on the 29th April for three weeks. These are at 7p.m. and you can come and do anything creative.
Lastly, if you have not exhausted your creativity at Karen’s then you can join the knit with pride project by knitting squares to show your support for the LGBT community. They will be joined to make a mammoth woolly to hang off the city hall balcony on the day of Norwich pride festival in July. (helenofnorwich/NR3)

Free wool can be got from Anna's Farm Stores, 125 Magdalen Road and details of Knit-Ins are on the website www.norwichpride.org.uk. For more info about knitting nights www.artoftheordinary.co.uk

Reskilling: Clothes Swap and Mending Sessions- Saturday 22 May
The idea of our Reskilling textiles sessions is to provide tasters of a skill that may then launch you off into a whole new area, or just give you the basics you need from time to time.

Mending and altering clothes: we will be having an ever popular clothes swap, followed by a session to learn how to mend or alter any new clothing that you have acquired, plus anything else that you have brought along, without using a sewing machine. This event is happening on Saturday 22nd May from 11-3 and will include a bring and share lunch. It will be a free event and all abilities and body shapes are welcome (10 spaces available).

: there are a plethora of Knit-Ins happening around the city where everyone is very welcome and you can learn the basics or pick up some good tips:
1. To celebrate Norwich pride this year, artist and transitioner, helenofnorwich is encouraging everyone to knit a square that will be joined to make a giant rainbow scarf. The idea is that everyone can show their support for pride in this simple way. To find out more about how to knit a square and knit-ins that are coming up visit http://www.norwichpride.org.uk/ (also see NR3 entry below)
2. Another transitioner Karen Steadman is hosting some knitting nights on Thursday 6th May and 13th May, 7-9.30pm at 27 St Augustine's Street, all abilities welcome. For more info http://www.artoftheordinary.co.uk/

Both sets of events will provide some materials if you don't have your own.

Rag rug making session: Monday 17 May,7.30-10.00pm in Karen Steadman's craft space, 27 St Augustines Street (5 spaces left) learning the art of making rugs from rags! This event is free, but booking a space is necessary so we have enough tea and equipment.
Spinning: we are currently trying to organise a session to learn the basics of spinning with a spindle. (Kerry Lane/Reskilling)

The finalised details will be sent round the theme groups and booking will be necessary on all but the knitting sessions. For booking and information contact Kerry: kezereky_the_first@hotmail.com

Above: Knitting squares by helenofnorwich; dressmaking by Elena Judd; Heart illustration by Elena Ray

Monday, May 17, 2010

REVIEWS: Tipping Point, The Last Oil Shock and The Shock Doctrine

The Tipping Point by David Korowitz
Many peak oil commentators anticipate a gradual decline in our economy, echoing a reduction in oil supply of a few percent each year. The long-term effect might be similar to the end of the Roman Empire and other past civilisations, playing out over decades and centuries.

In this new report, available from
www.feasta.org, David Korowicz argues that we should expect a much more sudden collapse. He suggests that many of the things we take for granted – from running water to computer chips to the rule of law – are hugely interdependent on each other. He explains why the financial system will break down following peak oil, followed closely by manufacturing, services, government and so on.

I find Korowicz’s analysis persuasive, and useful in thinking about what resilience really means. We ought to be planning a water supply that doesn’t depend on mains electricity, and an electricity supply that doesn’t depend on microprocessors. And we ought to be preparing ourselves for difficult times ahead. (Read Tully on the TN Blog
1-3 April)( Tully Wakeman/Core Group)

Abandoned house in Detroit by Kevin Bauman

The Last Oil Shock by David Strahan

"30 billion barrels. This is the number you need to remember from this talk," said David Strahan speaking about Peak Oil in Framlingham in March. These 30 billion barrels of oil are what the world uses each year. That’s about 82 million barrels a day. When the media reports massive new oil finds these are the numbers we need to measure them against. (In 1999, for example, Britain’s North Sea oil output ‘hit its all time high’ at 2.9 million barrels a day.)

The Last Oil Shock is the book to read for everything to do with oil discovery, production and decline, and contains not just the facts and figures (which are excellent) but interviews with those in the field, from geologists to Shell’s senior vice-president for the (Canadian) Oil Sands. Strahan reports his visits to the luminaries of the oil world in an accessible and often humorous way, and he writes as clearly about the link between oil and the present economic system as he does about the problem of biofuels. This book is for anyone who wants to understand more about peak oil and its implications for the (very near) future. Strahan's articles and updates can be seen here (
http://www.davidstrahan.com/blog). (Mark Watson/TN2)

The Last Oil Shock – A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man by David Strahan (John Murray, 2007)

The Shock Doctrine
by Naomi Klein
There are only a handful of books that I would recommend as ‘must read’, and apart from the Transition Handbook, this is the first non-fiction on my list. Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine is about disaster capitalism. The thesis is in a nutshell, that devastating actions will only be tolerated when people are too disoriented and traumatised to resist.Examples are given of personal breakdown (psychiatry, torture), coups in Chile and Burma, land grabs in Palestine and communities hit by Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Not all of these are caused by the military industrial complex, but all are taken advantage of by it.

The outcomes of these disasters are seen from this perspective not as failures, but successes. They have allowed wealth and power to concentrate in ever fewer hands – currently ‘the richest 2% of adults in the world own 50% of global household wealth’. Klein lays the blame squarely on the dominance of Chicago School economics (Milton Friedman) that preached the privatisation, deregulation and government cuts that the IMF and World Bank imposed as a condition for getting credit. Many of the individuals are now in jail or facing criminal charges from which they expected to be immune.

It's the last chapter which makes the book a real must read. 'The shock wears off' describes how communities have come together to share insights, develop independence of thought, social solidarity and economic resilience... Sound familiar? (Lesley Grahame/Communications)

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein (Penguin 2008)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Transition Plant Swap - Saturday 15 May

Growing more of our own food is a great way to start designing a better future. Very environmentally friendly, doesn't require fossil fuel and kind to our pockets too! So we're having a plant swap, where we’ll have seedling plants (tomatoes and other veggies plus herbs and flowers too) and we invite people to bring along their own plants to swap. If you haven't got anything to swap for our plants, a donation would be much appreciated. Do come along with your plants - organic for preference, labelled and with advice on growing tips if possible!

Playhouse Bar terrace, Norwich Playhouse, St George's Street. Saturday 15 May 11am - 3pm. For more info contact info@transitionnorwich.org.

Monday, May 10, 2010

This Low Carbon Life in the Spring

In synch with spring the TN blog stepped up its pace and introduced a three day week for our regular contributors. Our keen eyes were on all the season’s activities - woodland flowers, hedgerow medicine, unholy cows, therapeutic dogs, local carrots, nettle soup, insulated attics, city bicyclists, children hiding among cardboard boxes, the mythology of bees and fennel, as well as the key Transition topics of inner resilience, economic collapse and peak oil. One of our Sunday contributors John Heaser reported how 6000 toads were rescued from the roads of Little Melton and Costessey. And there was a lively debate about population control after Erik’s posts on the biosphere in transition.

We also began our first monthly topic week: our March elephant in the room was on Flying, the second on the Industrial Food System. We also had an innovative photoblog week called What is Happening in My Garden (18-24 April) – John’s and Erik’s hardworking organic vegetable plots in the hinterlands, Jane’s city sanctuary (with tomatoes on the windowsill, small fruit trees and woodland fritillaries), Mark’s magical morning in his wild medicine garden, Elena’s new edible flower garden at her neighbour’s. In May we’re having a tongue-in-cheek look at the 7 deadly resistances (to Transition). Why not become a follower and join in the conversation? (Charlotte Du Cann/Communications)

For further info on the TN blog contact: theseakaleproject@hotmail.co.uk

Transition Circles - Wednesday 26 May and Monday 7 June

Circle West discuss waste and “stuff” and how to begin a Transition Circle Hethersett; The Strangers’ dry run their first wholefood coop order; a new cycle of Carbon Conversations begins in Norwich and Diss and Elena Judd finds the perfect book for those of us who can’t let the plane take the strain any longer. Keep the date Friday June 21 free, as we’re planning a Transition Circles party to celebrate a whole year of low-carbon living.

Strangers’ Circle – Monday 7 June
At our Strangers' Circle in April we started our get-together as always with a feast of home-cooked food: Angie's onion pakoras, William's egg salad with new lettuce from the Mangreen polytunnel, Elena's carrot and cumin soup, Mark's spelt rolls, my cherry-plum and rhubarb compotes . . . . and in-house nettle soup. Our low-carbon supper set us up so we could get down to draw up our first order as a Transition wholefood co-op - a real community exercise! We had all kinds of debates on the merits of poppy seeds, whether we should choose raisins or sultanas, what colour lentils. Some things we were unanimous about - extra virgin olive oil, fairtrade brown basmati rice, local bread flour . . . Tully did the figures on his laptop, Elena held sway over the catalogue, Mark made tea, Naomi and I negotiated kilos of gluten-free pasta. Oh, and we laughed a lot.

This week we’re meeting to divvy up the goods! As well as celebrating the birthdays and anniversaries in our group with low-carbon cakes and ale. Now we have to work out where to put everything - invent storehouses in ingenious corners of our houses.

Carbon Conversations – 9 June
If you had said to me that I’d be finding out exactly how many KW the washing machine takes on a 40 degree cycle, or considering sharing a car with my neighbours a year ago I would have laughed. Me an anorak! But then TN2 happened and I vowed to reduce my carbon to four tons. And now I’ve started Carbon Conversations, a structured approach to carbon cutting, and I’m looking at those unglamourous statistics even more.

The first of six sessions was an introduction to the main ideas behind the course - which is to focus directly on what changes individuals and communities can make. Following a workbook we had lively two-hander and group debates about low-carbon challenges, the responsibility for climate change and our beliefs about humanity and the earth’s resources.

"I prefer to face reality," said one of the group afterwards. "When I know, I can have hope." It’s true you need to look at facts, otherwise you remain conveniently in the dark (especially when it comes to car mileage). Reality, even when it's tough, is something you can share with people and laugh about, illusions are solitary and frightening because you spend your life in hiding, fending off the truth of the matter. We went home happily with Jeremy Leggett’s Half Gone and a DVD of An Inconvenient Truth in our hands. And of course, homework . . . haven’t done that for about 30 years! (Charlotte Du Cann/Strangers' Circle)

Carbon Conversations continues this month and will discuss Home Energy and Transport

The Man in Seat 61 by Mark Smith
I've long known about the website The Man in Seat 61, which provides lots of information about travelling through Europe by train. I've looked at it a couple of times, and gone away, defeated by the sheer amount of information and the way the site is laid out. I'm sure other people get along just fine with it, but it was always a bit much for me.

Then, wandering around Poringland Library, I spotted The Man in Seat 61 - the book! What a wonderful find! It's clear, precise and full of inspiring ideas as well as information. I had no idea it is possible to travel from London to Greece in 48 hours by train and ferry.

It tells you exactly where, how and how much. There's phone numbers and websites for buying tickets; scenic route recommendations; language guides and information on what to take.

The book is a couple of years old now, and if you're planning a journey, it's probably worth supplementing the book with a peek at the website. (Elena Judd/Strangers’ Circle)

If you would like to know more about Transition Circles, join one or start one in your neighbourhood please contact Tully Wakeman on tully@transitionnorwich.org
If you want to join a Carbon Conversation contact Christine Way on transition@phonecoop.coop

Above: Charlotte (Strangers' Circle) and Kerry (Circle West) meeting at the Bicycle Shop Cafe; Man in Seat 61; Christine introducing the Carbon Conversations.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

NEWS: Solar Panel meeting - Wednesday 19 May; Core Group Reshuffle

Solar Panel Meeting - 19 May
Since the last bulletin there has been a healthy interest in the TN solar panel scheme, and about 30 people have filled out the survey monkey - thank you!

There are many questions that people have, and so we have invited 2 representatives from Solarcentury in London to come to a specially convened meeting in Norwich to cover everything there is to know about this scheme. The meeting will take place at The Greenhouse on Wednesday May 19th, 7.30 p.m. A DVD will also be shown and the two reps will explain how the feed-in-tariff works and how the third party ownership will work. Everyone who has responded to the survey will be invited directly, but this meeting is open to anyone who is interested in installing photovoltaics.(Chris Hull/Core Group)

The Greenhouse, Bethel Street. Wednesday 19th May, 7.30 - 9.30 p.m (including DVD showing). For further info contact Chris Hull chrishull@phonecoop.coop (01603 664928)

Core Group reshuffle

The core group is changing its membership. Christine Way and Chris Hull, as the longest serving members, are due to stand down at the end of July 2010. The group decided some time ago that we should have a revolving membership and recently we decided that the best way of 'revolving' is to have the longest-standing 2 members to stand down each year (in July), to make way for 2 new members to join. This way there is both continuity and fresh input of energy and ideas. The other current 4 members - Tully Wakeman, Jane Chittenden, Alex Haxeltine and Tom Harper - will remain.

If you are interested in becoming a core group member, the broad criteria are:
• to have done the transition training ( or be signed up to do it)
• to be able to demonstrate a commitment to Transition Norwich through work thus far
• to be able to commit to the group for a minimum of 2 years

The core group is not an executive body, but functions to bring together the different strands of TN and review general progress. Some transition groups do not have a core group, but in TN we decided, through general consensus, to continue with it.

The process for recruiting/joining will be announced in the June bulletin, but meantime if anyone is in principle interested, do feel free to contact any of the current 6 core group members for a chat. (Chris Hull/Core Group)