This is the first of a series of posts under the general heading of “Signs of Hope”. This post focuses on our initial efforts in my own locality, but it provides a good sense of what Transition Initiatives are all about.

Transition Hampton Roads is a proposed non-profit focused on improving the resilience of the region. Resilience improves our ability to gracefully weather shocks such as economic dislocations, climate change, or a natural disaster. The Transition Initiative (TI) began a decade ago in England and has spread to 50 countries speaking 17 languages and more than 1200 communities. A central principle for TI is that each community is unique and is best able to decide what is needed in their region. The Transition Network (United Kingdom) and Transition US (United States) provide inspiration, encouragement, support, networking, and training.

TIs commonly work on a broad array of issues including mitigating climate change, restoring ecosystems, localization (e.g., local economies, currencies, and food), shifting from fossil fuels to renewables, and building social resilience (i.e., the networks of people who are able to help each other as needed).

John Stewart from the Lafayette Wetlands Partnership suggested beginning with a focus on Colonial Place (my own neighborhood). For instance, we could work for 1) green infrastructure storm water management practices to mitigate flooding, or 2) boost “social resilience”, or 3) develop a transportation service for older adults living independently. I am interested in Arcadia Power because that allows one to switch electricity from fossil fuels to renewable energy for a couple of extra dollars per month. What Transition Hampton Roads does will depend on: 1) the interests of its members and 2) what critical “resilience gaps” exist in what others are already doing. A task for new TIs is an inventory of existing efforts in their region … and Hampton Roads has many such.

These web sites are good sources for additional information on the Transition Movement