I first discovered Transition during my third year of university, when I heard about the 'Great Unleashing' of Transition Norwich and thought it sounded exciting and something I would be interested in. I had been bought up with a love of nature and being outside and I was studying all of the ways we were destroying our world at university. I was getting tired of just studying what was going wrong and I really wanted to start doing something about it. I had got involved with a lot of the environmental groups at the university, but I had never really felt comfortable with Protest and Direct Action. I recognise their value, but the anger and negative angle never resonated with me. I was drawn to the positive projects, such as setting up a veg box scheme on campus, but I hadn't really found my niche. It all felt too small, not quite right, too isolated.
I had also been living in Norwich for 2 years and I still hardly knew people outside of the university. And then Transition started and WHAM!
It all started with lots of meetings, lots of discussions. I learnt a lot and met lots of diverse, but all lovely people from across Norwich and East Anglia. It was a gradual process, but we started to build a community, I felt I was part of something, I had found lots of other lovely people who were also trying to do something to make the world better.
I had already learnt about Climate Change and Peak Oil in my degree, but for Climate Change the solutions all seemed very big and imposing and the advice we were given on Peak Oil was stockpile food and buy a gun......so Transition's positive vision for the future and can do optimism were the balm I needed. They gave me hope that another world was possible, that enough people cared. And I came to realise that solving all of these problems could actually lead us to a better world as well.
So I jumped in with two feet and pretty soon I was attending 3 or 4 Transition meetings or events a week and my life was revolving round Transition. When conflict reared its head I was shaken and disheartened, but Transition had given me an enduring belief in what is possible. So I developed an ongoing interest in non-violent communication and healthy group dynamics ('Groups' are something we are missing in our current society and we need to relearn how they work.) And we got through and were stronger for it and we moved into the action phase and there were lots of wonderful events and activities and projects that emerged.
I have learnt so much from other inspiring ordinary people and through my experiences about how we can live a happy low carbon life. So when it came to finding a job I wanted something that could help create this world, hence the fact that I have been working for a Transition Project since May. My contract finishes in March but one of the criteria for my next job/location is that it needs a Transition community...
I do not know where I would be now if it wasn't for Transition, but I am sure that the last 4 years wouldn't have been anywhere near as exciting, eventful and happy. And I wouldn't have such hope for the future.
Photos: One of the first Transition Norwich Open Spaces, the Transition Norwich contingent in the Lord Mayors procession with Celeste the dragon, A rag bag that I made in a reskilling workshop and the flier of Transition University of West Scotland who I work for at the moment.