Monday, October 6, 2008

Transition Towns, an Introduction

Whether peak oil and climate change actually will cause the degree of chaos that is predicted is not the issue, if we can develop a confident, self-reliant community, we will be better placed for the future whatever it brings.

The process of mobilising the skills and goodwill of a community to get prepared is called ‘transitioning’. The movement is called ‘transition culture’ as it aims to help communities develop their own strategies for moving into a world of decreased energy and resources, and developing food, water and transport security. The process has been proven to be an exciting and joyful one (tried in many areas of the UK and other parts of the world) as it does not concentrate on ideas and facts, but looks at the needs of people for social interaction, creativity, meaning in their life, hope for the future, and basic needs security .

To quote Rob Hopkins, author of The Transition Handbook:
The transition process is a process of re-localising all essential elements that a community needs to sustain itself and thrive. It builds local resilience in the face of the potentially damaging effects of Peak Oil, while dramatically reducing the community's carbon footprint. In this way, it addresses both Peak Oil and Climate Change.

If we plan and act early enough, and use our creativity and cooperation to unleash the genius within our local communities, then we can build a future that could be far more fulfilling and enriching, more connected and more gentle on the earth than the lifestyles we have today.

The three levels of action – global (eg Kyoto, oil depletion protocol and C&C), national (eg tradable energy quotas) and local (eg transition initiatives) – hold much promise to see humankind through the great energy transition of the 21st century.

As a species, we’ll be transitioning to a lower energy future whether we want to or not; Far better to ride that wave rather than getting engulfed by it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Past Films and Actvities

Hepburn Relocalisation Network film screenings at the Savoia Hotel in Hepburn and other activities (since 2006):
  1. The End of Suburbia (2nd August 2006)
  2. The Power of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
  3. The Future Of Food, Directed by Deborah Koons, 2004. (88 minutes)
  4. The History of Oil with Robert Newman (2006 and 21/2/08)
  5. 2013: Oil No More (French)
  6. What a Way to Go – Life at the End of Empire (7/2/08)
  7. Eat The Suburbs (6/3/08)
  8. The Yes Men (6/3/08)
  9. Ancient Futures – Learning From Ladakh by Helena Norberg-Hodge (8/5/08)
  10. The Gleaners and I by Agnes Varda, and Rob Hopkins on energy descent (3min)
  11. Talk by Dave Kerin from…Manufacturing Union (5/6/08)
  12. Baraka (19/6/08)
  13. One Man, One Cow, One Planet (3/7/08)
  14. The World According To Monsanto (31/7/08)
  15. The Gleaners II (28/8/08)
  16. Garbage Warrior (25/9/08)
  17. The Revolution Will Not be Televised (9/10/08)
  18. Manufactured Landscapes (30/10/08)
  19. An Inconvenient Truth – Al Gore (27/11/08)
  20. Zeitgeist Addendum (11/11/08)
  21. The Eleventh Hour (26/2/09)
  22. Telling The Truth (23/4/09) with discussion by Josh Gilligan
  23. Slow Food Revolution (28/5/09)
  24. A Farm For The Future (11/6/09)
  25. Escape From Suburbia (9/7/09)
  26. Kids' Business (13/8/09) 
  27. In Transition
Other Activities
  • The HRN funded a bus to a ‘Peak Oil & Permaculture’ event as part of a National tour with Richard Heinberg & David Holmgren at The BMW Edge Auditorium, Federation Square, Melb for 20+ people.
  • Hosted Roberto Perez from Cuba (who appeared in the Film “The Power of Community- How Cuba Survived Peak Oil”) at the Daylesford Town Hall, an event that was attended by nearly 300 people.
Note: A great deal of effort went into making this the huge success that it was. We produced a database of local food producers and many contributed with displays on the night.

Book Study Groups
  1. Facilitated with U3A study group of “Permaculture:Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability” (6 weeks)
  2. Study group of “The Transition Handbook” by Rob Hopkins (3 weeks)
Visiting Speakers
  1. Dave Kerin on green manufacturing cooperatives, combining jobs with sustainability and rural resilience.
  2. Janet Millington and Sonya Wallace on Transition Towns and their work at SEAC (Sunshine Coast Energy Action Centre).
  3. Presentation by Sue Ewart on the Daylesford Community Bank followed by discussion. 
  4. Dr Mark Diesendorf and David Holmgren speak at Words in Winter event (9/8/09) (organized with SHARE and Hepburn Wind)
  1. ‘Maximise Your Memory’ Workshop (5/2/09)
  2. ‘Understanding Energy’ Workshop – Adam Grubb (9/4/09)
  3. Stuart Hill workshops:
  4. ‘Healthy Wealthy and Wise on the Land‘ (23/7/09) and
  5. ‘Sustainability, Leadership and Change’ (26/7/09)
Bush Fire Forum with key note speaker, Joan Webster and David Holmgren, Clare Claydon, John Anthony, and Jay Gardiner (CFA) (4/3/09)

Community Dinners:
  • 5 affordable, shared meals where the focus was on ‘sustainable eating out’, sourcing the food locally, minimising waste, etc and promoting community connectedness…. 3 at the Savoia Hotel and 2 at Continental Guest House. At two of these we had a Shire Councilor speak.
  • Winter Solstice dinner at the Town Hall (19/6/09)
  • Assisted Simon Evans in the production of the (Melb/D’ford) public transport timetable.
  • Prepared a submission to Council for funding for various proposals for 2009 : resulted in work on a food survey, workshops with Stuart Hill and more films
  • Linda Hancock pilot
  • Climate Action Forum with Mark Diesendorf & David Holmgren and showcasing Hepburn Wind, SHAre & HRN activities 9/8/09. Shared event with Hepburn Wind and SHARE
Major Work:
  • Food Survey  - to determine the extent of local fresh food production in the Shire.
  • Want to produce a Household audit along the lines of HOPE specifically for HRN
Facilitator In-service:
  • Transition Towns workshop (Maureen 21/2/09, Su 22/2/09)
  • Biological Farmers Association workshop

About Us

The Hepburn Relocalisation Network is a loosely formed community group based in the Central Victoria regions of Hepburn and Daylesford.

The Network has been screening films that show local initiatives strengthening communities and building local resilience, and other films that are relevant to the issues of Peak Oil, Global Warming or the concept of Relocalisation, with an attempt to find films that inspire.

The group recognises the urgent realities of Peak Oil and Climate Change and is responding by;

• Raising awareness of how peak oil and global climate change affect our community, and then
• Looking at how we can respond to these realities with a plan for the future.

Our local responses will vary from other communities’ responses, as local needs differ from place to place. The specific situations of each community can only be addressed by a relocalisation strategy i.e. a return to looking at the local situation and looking for a local response.

A couple of years ago our group was inspired by the work of permaculture students at the Kinsale Further Education College, who under the mentorship of Rob Hopkins in 2005 produced a very important report outlining how their small town of West Cork, plans to move from a high energy consumption town to a low energy one.

This town, similar in size to Daylesford/Hepburn seemed like a mirror town of our own. We then set out to begin on a process of articulating, in our own way, to also develop a plan for our town, which will help us to move to a low energy future. Our plan may be a story, a written vision, of how we see our future unfold during the next few years, decades and over the century of decreasing ‘cheap’ fossil fuels.

This year HRN has hosted an international guest speaker from Cuba, Roberto Perez (who featured in the film The Power of CommunityHow Cuba Survived Peak Oil), at the Daylesford Town Hall for an extremely successful event that brought together people and groups interested in sustainability from all over Central Victoria.

We are continuing to show films and plan to keep building networks within our community, our neighbouring towns, as well as the larger cities of Ballarat, Bendigo and Melbourne.