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, October 1, 2011

Welcome to our October News 2011!

Read all about what's happening in the city this autumn from our Transition Norwich news crew: Magdalen Street Celebration Big Day (today!), Norwich FarmShare's Indian Summer harvest, TN's third birthday celebrations with Rob Hopkins, This Low Carbon Life's 650 blogposts in two years, St Augustine's Visioning Day, plus Transition Circles, Low Carbon Cookups, the Oil Game, Norwich Community Bees and more . . . .

FILM: Just Do It - 18 October

Just Do It is an observational documentary from award-winning film maker Emily James and it lifts the lid on climate activism. Emily spent a year embedded with a group of climate activists following them as they blockade factories, attack coal power stations and glue themselves to the trading floors of international banks in an attempt to force businesses and governments to adopt more environmentally responsible approaches.

The film is a powerful testament to those who refuse to sit back and allow the eco-systems and environmental infrastructure to be destroyed. Their adventures will entertain, illuminate and inspire.

It will be screened in Lecture Theatre 1 and is free to attend thanks to support from PSI and an anonymous donation. Doors open at 7pm. The film will be followed by a Q&A with Ella Gilbert, a local climate activist featured in the film; Dr Rupert Read (Reader in Philosophy, regional co-ordinator and Norwich Councillor for the Green Party), and Lucy Baker (Doctoral student in DEV and academic observer from within the Bella Centre at the Copenhagen Climate summit). Erik Buitenhuis

Watch the trailer here

Just Do It Time: 7pm Venue: UEA Lecture Theatre

3 years of Transition Norwich - A celebration with Rob Hopkins - 15 November

An evening for Transition Norwich and the City of Norwich to celebrate, reconnect, remind, regenerate, share and discuss where we are and what we have achieved since the 'great unleashing' back in 2008.

The evening is set for Tuesday the 15th of November- 7.30pm at the United Reform Church (Princes Street). The plan is to have a happy and relaxed celebration, an opportunity for further dreaming and planning, with stalls to display the various projects throughout Norwich that have been a direct result of TN or link directly with TN in their ethos and vision.

Rob Hopkins will be joining our celebration, sharing the broader story of transition as he witnesses it as well as discussing his upcoming book The Transition Companion (including sections about the TN blog, Norwich FarmShare and a great pic of the NR3 Reskillers by helenofnorwich).

Plus.... there are plans to put a short 10 min film together that reflects on Transition Norwich, the place, the people, the projects.For inquiries about the event please contact Christine Way at training@transitionnorwich.org

The Transition Companion by Rob Hopkins (Green Books) was published on October 27 and now has its ingredient and tools on line.

Magdalen Street Celebration Today!

Today on Saturday October 1st, Magdalen Street is celebrating its unique character in street festival style with performances, exhibitions, fashion shows, workshops, family activities and local history tours.

Following on last year's memorable and groundbreaking success, even more musicians and activities have been arranged.

Norwich Taiko Centre will be opening the event under the Magdalen flyover and some of the best-known bands in the city will be playing on the street throughout the day, using a cycle-powered PA. The audience will be able to hop on the bike and power up their favourite bands!

Helen Simpson-Slapp of the organising committee said “The goal of the day is to bring together neighbourhood residents, regulars and visitors to highlight Magdalen Street's role as a hub of creative, independently-owned, ethnically diverse and environmentally sustainable businesses.”

The art events, stallholders and historical aspects to the day will bring to life Magdalen Street's rich heritage. The street still boasts a range of food, clothes and shoe shops and is classified by the City Council as the busiest in the whole of Norwich for numbers of pedestrians and buses. Some of the shops from 1905 have survived - most notably 2 of the original fish shops.

The Magdalen Street Celebration themes for 2011 are Creativity, Diversity and Sustainability. Known informally as the 'Creative Quarter', the area houses a multitude of creative businesses. 'Diversity' refers to the street’s ethnic diversity as well as the range of disability-related charities operating in the area and 'Sustainability' is represented by the plethora of second-hand, vintage, antique and craft shops in the area.

The event is spearheaded by members of Transition Norwich seeking a fun way to engage community, celebrate the range of cultural backgrounds represented and promote the opportunity to live more sustainably by shopping locally, buying second-hand and making friends locally. Transition Norwich is a community-based response to peak oil, climate change and economic recession. The organisers are grateful for the financial assistance of Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council who are supporting this year's event. Chris Hull

Contacts: Helen Simpson-Slapp helenofnorwich@hotmail.com Tel: 07747 751656 Stefi Barna Tel: 07964 494836 Web: magdalenstreet.blogspot.com or join our Facebook page

This Low Carbon Life is Two Years Old!

On October 4 This Low Carbon Life will be two years old. As Mark Watson wrote recently for the Transition Network's Social Reporting Project:
"For almost two years now the bloggers on This Low Carbon Life have published between us over 650 posts on everything from house insulation, saving toads, economic collapse, addiction to love and stuff, the Uncivilisation festival and
the woes of rural (and city) public transport, to celebrations, recipes, sharing meals, growing food, cycling, recycling, communications, plants, bees, lacto-fermentation and downshifting in low-carbon style. I’m not going to put links to all of these – but there is truly a low carbon post for everyone so do have a look."
The national Social Reporting project was inspired by our community daily blog and stars two of the TN bloggers, Mark and Kerry Lane (now up at Transition University at West of Scotland). The pilot will run every day with guest editors writing on a Transition theme and a crew of 12 reporters around the country responding during the week. Don't miss tomorrow's first guest editorial by Peter Lipman, Chair of the Transition Network on The Big Picture. You can read my editor's welcome to the project here.

Meanwhile back in Norwich we're celebrating a brilliant year with a "retroblog" and you can enjoy some of our fave posts next week. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed, commented cross-posted, photographed and read us through these months. It doesn't happen without you. Charlotte Du Cann

Photos: Mark Watson leading a bee and flower walk at Bungay Beehive Day by Muhammad Amin; Kerry Lane working in her Transition office in Glasgow from Stories by our Social Reporters

Grapes Hill Community Garden - Task Day 23 October

Summer is becoming autumn in the Grapes Hill Community Garden, but there are still late flowers and vegetables to see. The meadow has been cut and we will be adding Yellow Rattle seeds this autumn. This beautiful plant, with its yellow flowers in June and dry rattle-like seedheads, is a semi-parasite on grasses, so will keep the height of the meadow down once established. The seeds need cold to germinate, hence the autumn planting.

There are two task days in October: Sundays 9th and 23rd. We will be in the garden between 2 and 4pm on those days - come and meet us and join in!

The garden has been open all summer, 9 - 6pm every day, but winter opening hours will start on Sunday 30th October, when the garden will close at 4.30pm. Admission is free.

For more information on the garden see our website and Facebook page. Jeremy Bartlett.

Photograph by Vanna Bartlett: Rudbeckia and asters give late summer colour.

News from Norwich FarmShare - Workday 22 October

We’ve had another busy month, but I suppose that’s farming: the quiet time is always just round the corner.

Tierney, our assistant grower has stepped in to take up the reins (though as yet we’re not using draft animals) as Head Grower, she’ll be assisted day to day by Martin, Christophe and the rest of the part time crew and will have help once a week from experienced organic grower Michael Knights. It’s no small undertaking and Tierney will need as much support as possible from the FarmShare volunteers. And the volunteers turned out in force to help Tierney on her first work day on the 25th when beanpoles were cleared, weeds pulled up, mesh moved and the poly tunnel prepared for winter salads.

The vegetable shares have been fantastic this month and, as we slip from Summer into Autumn, tomatoes and salads are being replaced by squashes, cavolo nero and leeks. A bumper crop of potatoes – too many to store – means we’re planning a potato harvesting day for October where members can come and pick their own sack of spuds from the soil behind the harvester.

Our activities have attracted a bit of national media attention too and next week FarmShare volunteers and staff will be interviewed about the project for Radio 4's Farming Today – we’ll keep you posted!

The next work day will be on Monday 10th October, 10am to 3pm; we’ll be planting onions – not as sets but as plugs each with half a dozen tiny grass-like seedlings and Saturday 22nd October when we'll be digging for potatoes. Josiah Meldrum

See our website for recipes, blog posts and information about joining FarmShare or email us

Gathering the Harvest - Low Carbon Cookbook - 11 October

Last month the Low Carbon Cookbook crew met at the Friends Meeting House for a Kitchen Conversation at the FoodCycle Cafe. Our meal and discussion came just after watching The Shock Doctrine at Little g's first film night and it was hard to concentrate on the niceties of domestic food waste, after watching the violent way Chile, Argentina, Russia and the UK had been chewed up and consumed by the voracious appetites of the Chicago School of Economics.

The food however was delicious and the atmosphere very buzzy in its spiritual surroundings: Thai nut curry with rice and mixed salad and organic bread, followed by a knockout blackberry and apple crumble, served with a seriously industrialised Dream Cream (ah, the perils of freegan food!)

This month we are celebrating a year of low-carbon cooking and sharing and talking about everything edible and grown (including the kitchen sink) with a harvest meal. We are also deciding now how to cohere all our findings and get down to our winter work of Writing The Book.

If you would like to contribute to this TN project or come along and find out what we are up to do get in touch Charlotte Du Cann rootsshootsandseeds@hotmail.co.uk

Photo with Norfolk Biffin apple from Foraging for Abundance (This Low Carbon Life)

St Augustines Visioning - Economics and Livelihoods - 26 October

As you are probably already aware, the North city is a development priority for Norwich City Council. There are plans in the pipeline for the redevelopment of the Anglia Square and the surrounding brownfield sites and public space improvement has already begun with the implementation of the "Gyratory" one-way system for St Augustines Street.

When it comes down to it, though, it is we, the people of Norwich, who define the place by the shops we run, the places we choose to use and care for, and the personal character which each one of us gives it, rather than simply what developers choose to build. Where property is in shared ownership, public, or is currently unoccupied, we must have a collaborative effort to consciously define the place in a way which is appropriate to all our needs.

With this in mind, there will be a visioning session for anyone with an interest in St Augustines Street on Wednesday 26th October 2011 at 6pm. Meet at the Corner of St. Augustines and Pitt Street, in front of the furniture shop.

We will be looking at what kind of personality we want the area to have, and how we can encourage the type of development that would create that personality. Are there any types of shops which would revitalise the street whilst bringing cash into the area? How can we improve the local economy in a sustainable way?

The full blog post on This Low Carbon Life explains more. Simeon Jackson

Please let me know whether or not you will be coming at simeon@simeonjackson.co.uk or for any other questions or comments you may have.

Transport - Northern Distributor Road - 14 October

Norfolk County Council has submitted a funding bid to the Department for Transport for the Norwich Northern Distributor Road and Postwick Hub schemes for a decision by December 2011. There is a good chance of stopping the scheme in the current economic climate of tight public funding, but this is the last chance to do so.

PLEASE TAKE URGENT ACTION TODAY. Last week the EDP and Evening News ran a week of articles on the NDR. Please write letters to eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk and edpletters@archant.co.uk - and blind copy (bcc) i_oppose_the_ndr@fastmail.co.uk so we can keep track. Keep them short and focus on your most compelling concerns about this wasteful road scheme.

If you need further details on the articles, or suggestions of issues to write about, then contact andrewboswell@fastmail.co.uk.

We also need people to write further letters to the DfT and ministers (with more technical content) between now and October 14th. If you would be willing to write a letter, please email andrewboswell@fastmail.co.uk, and Andrew will send you details, probably a proforma letter for you to customise, nearer the time.

NNTAG and other campaign groups have also produced a postcard to send to the transport minister who will make the decision Norman Baker. To stop this devastating road from being built, please also send in the postcard (for cards ring 01603 611909). Also, if you can help with delivery of cards to homes in parts of North Norwich close to the proposed path of the road, then please call Richard Bearman (01603-504495). Andrew Boswell

Norwich Community Bees - Buzzing with Excitement

The Norwich Community Bee scheme is officially up and running - our first bees arrived at the Norwich Farmshare site on 23rd September. Erik, Bee, Elena and Tierney were there to see it happen, and it was a proud moment when the hive was moved into position and the bees were liberated from their temporary travelling home.

It's been a long journey from the initial idea to finally getting the bees on site, but we're so excited to be a proper community beekeeping scheme at last! And it has really been a community effort, so a big thank you to everyone who's joined in the planning and doing, contributed their ideas, enthusiasm and skills. This is only just the beginning!

For more information on Norwich Community Bees, visit our website. Jon Curran

Oil Game goes global!

Norwich Transitioners develop a home grown project called 'The Oil Game' that is now being played around the world.
Originally the seed idea of the Oil Game was created by Rob Hopkins for Transition Tales. It was discovered locally here in Norwich by Charlotte Du Cann and delivered as part of a workshop by Charlotte and Tom Harper at Catton Grove primary school in 2010. Since then, it has been expanded, developed and configured into a usable workbook for schools and other educational settings from key stage 2 up.

So What is the Oil Game? The Oil Game is a fun, innovative art and drama based workshop that engages participants with the concept of peak oil, inviting an exploration into our oil dependent lifestyles and questioning how we might move beyond that oil dependency to a low carbon, more sustainable world. The workbook was funded by CUE East and supported by the UEA as they were keen to research any pro environmental behaviour change in the students as a result of playing the game.

The workbook was created by Jane Chittenden, Alex Haxeltine and Tom Harper who set up a not for profit Norwich based company called Community Solutions East at the end of 2010 for the purposes of developing community schemes and initiatives that focus on strengthening our local resilience in the face of the challenges of climate change, peak oil and economic recession. Teresa Belton from the UEA also lent her expertise to the project in the form of a 'pro environmental' behaviour change researcher. The game is now being played around the world from Albuquerque New Mexico to France, Wisconsin U.S.A, Scotland, Bali and Wales to name a few!

And that is thanks to Rob Hopkins for sharing the 4 min film of the workshop on the Transition Culture blog. Since then, emails and phone calls have been coming in from all around the world by people wanting to play the Oil Game.

If you want to see the film you can also do so here and the workbook is currently free to download and is ready to be played at home as well as abroad! If you want to play the Oil Game or find out more, do contact Tom Harper- tomharper@ekit.com

RELATED EVENT: The Economics of Happiness - 21 October

'Going local' is a powerful strategy to repair our fractured world—our ecosystems, our societies and our selves.

Economic globalization has led to a massive expansion in the scale and power of big business and banking. It has also worsened nearly every problem we face: fundamentalism and ethnic conflict; climate chaos and species extinction; financial instability and unemployment. There are personal costs too. For the majority of people on the planet life is becoming increasingly stressful. We have less time for friends and family and we face mounting pressures at work.

The Economics of Happiness describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. On the one hand, government and big business continue to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. At the same time, all around the world people are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance—and, far from the old institutions of power, they’re starting to forge a very different future. Communities are coming together to re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm – an economics of localization.

This is the second Little g film night (September's was The Shock Doctrine). The idea is to relax over a film and food (bring something shareable if you can), and have time to talk about it. Lesley Grahame

Little g film nights run every third Friday of the month at 6pm, Friends' Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane.

RELATED EVENT: Visions of a Green Community/City - 29 October

On Saturday 29th October 2011 we are holding an exciting event entitled "Visions of a Green Community/City", a chance to see a truly inspirational film and to have a party at the same time.

The film is made by Tom Bliss from Leeds, but the ideas are really relevant for our beautiful City of Norwich and to Transition Norwich.

Tom clearly presents the problem of our unsustainable lifestyles and the need for radical change to green and sustainable solutions. What is different is that he has good practical solutions, which bring together the doers, who like to create green spaces and community gardens, and the thinkers and decision makers who can get things changing City-wide.

This is a must attend event for all those wishing to put some energy into green action in our local community.

Bring along your councillors, and decision makers and your green activists. Hopefully the outcome will be a local action group to work alongside Transition Norwich and other green initiatives.

Get inspired by viewing the revolutionary ideas at http://www.turnstone.tv/theurbal%20fix.html. If you send me an e-mail at philipyoung@btinternet.com I’ll send you a poster to display Philip Young, Vicar of St. Thomas’ Heigham

The event will take place at the St. Thomas' Parish Hall, Earlham Road, Norwich. Gather at 7pm; film screening starts at 7.30pm and will be followed by interaction and discussion and a party until 11pm. Bring something to drink and a sweet/dessert to share so we can enjoy new friendships and continue sharing ideas and visions, hopefully leading to community action.

RELATED EVENT: UEA Cafe Conversations Autumn Series 12 October

The UEA's Cafe Conversations series will begin again with an all-philosophy line-up in October and November, at two new venues. Discussions kick off on 12 October with an introductory session on "What is Philosophy?". Other topics to be placed on the cafe table will be "What is freedom" and "Philosophy against depression" and also in relation with money, consumption and the environment.

All Conversations are free and open to anyone. Come join us lunchtimes at Take 5 or evenings at Marzano's. Stefi Barna

Check out the full fall programme here.

Photo: Deepak presenting a precis of Nicole Foss' talk on Financial Crisis at TN discussion, Aladdins Cafe, May 2011.