In Transition 2.0 visits local, sustainable communities where everyone has a value, a place and a purpose. Emma Goude edits and directs.
If you’ve ever wanted to start a sustainable community, or are interested in a community lifestyle, this documentary offers insights and heartfelt strategies.
The Transition Network boasts over 900 registered initiatives and over 1800 communities around the world. The film surveys communities in seven countries, including one group that fails (and resurrects itself); a group in Japan helping with Fukushima disaster recovery, and an urban farm near Pittsburgh.
“Boom” and “bust” economics
Imagine a healthy, sustainable economy without extreme booms and busts. Peak oil economies are linked to “climate chaos” and “economic crisis,” a child named Samadi explains.
As oil supplies dwindle, world economies stall as the cost of goods skyrockets. In sustainable economies, renewables, enterprises and “local stuff” create jobs and prosperity for all.
This “alternative to consumerist behavior” not only creates engagement and social cohesion, Transitioners say. It’s lots of fun.
Stage 1: Dream
Initial meetings provide a space to create and play with ideas. Sophy Banks of Transition Network likes to imagine an inclusive, sustainable, thriving, happy community 20 to 50 years from now. She then asks her group to brainstorm on how to arrive at that place.
This shared vision draws communities towards fulfilling their dream, Hopkins says.
Stage 2: Deepen
Groups become a bit more structured and formal in Stage 2. At the Sustainable Village of Amoreiras in Portugal, volunteers clean and paint the entire village. A local market is created. They are planning local facilities for children and healthcare.
Chris Condello co-founded Whitney Avenue Urban Farm near Pittsburgh. The group has planted a number of gardens near boarded up homes. Food is given away to local food banks and neighbors, or sold locally.
Resident Lorna Taylor cries when she recalls how poverty-stricken Whitney Street has been beautified. One young volunteer says working on the farm keeps him out of trouble.
Infighting forced Transition Lancaster in the UK to fold within a year, says Chris Hart, initiator of the group. Failures like this become learning opportunities, says Banks. The new Transition City Lancaster has over 450 members.
Stage 3: Connect
Transition Town Monteveglio in Bologna, Italy works with the town council, says initiator Christiano Bottone. The process was energized when Transition enthusiast Daniele Ruscigno was elected mayor.
A resolution to reduce fossil fuel use and create an “energy descent” plan was enacted. Six villages in the valley are participating in an Enescom project to develop and use alternative energy. Change has been accelerated by working with local government, says Bottone.
Stage 4: Build
Strategic action comes next. Transition groups have set up energy companies, local currencies and social enterprises. The Marsden and Slaithwaite Transition Towns in West Yorkshire, UK have a community grocery store and bakery to encourage local shopping. This economic activity benefits other local shops.
The Handmade Bakery provides bread to 60 families who pay for bread in advance. Customer loans to the bakery helped it expand. The loans are repaid with bread.
Transition Town Lewes established the first community-owned solar power station in Britain, says Dirk Campbell, OVESCo Director. Leasing the rooftop of a brewery, the station generates power for 40 homes.
E-currency: pay by cell phone
Transition Brixton launched its own e-currency, the Brixton Pound, in 2009. Over 200 businesses accept the currency. Customers pay by text from their cell phones. This avoids having to use the expensive card-swipe method.
India’s first transition community, Heal the Soil, began in March 2011. Snehal Trivedi, co-founder of the group, says it has introduced kitchen gardens to over 100 households in four Tamil Nadu villages.
Transition Fujino in Kanto, Japan is sharing renewable, bio-diesel and even bike-generated energy in its area and beyond to create a green energy future for Japan, says Hiroshi Okawa.
Celebrations foster enjoyment, build trust and recognize achievements, Banks says. A Trash Catcher’s Carnival held a town parade to celebrate the recycling of millions of plastic bottles, shopping bags and crisp packets.
Small, local efforts add up for significant change, says Hopkins. He believes that sustainable communities can be effective where government and individual efforts fall short.
In Transition 2.0 2011 / NR / 1 hour, 6 min
Cast Overview: Rob Hopkins, Sophy Banks, Samadi van Coten, Chris Hart, Christiano Bottone, Daniele Ruscigno, Susan Steed, Chuka Umunna, Snehal Trivedi, Hiroshi Okawa, Julie Lee
Director: Emma Goude
Genre: Documentary, Sustainable Communities, New Thought