Shift Together – Transition Rap (SB Version)

I wrote these words mostly on the bus to Norwich via Lowestoft some weeks ago. The song had its first outing at our Big Meeting on August 1st where it enjoyed a positive reception and we all joined in with the music. Due to popular request here is the tailored and updated version:

Shift Together – Transition Rap (Mostly Sustainable Bungay Version)
lyrics by Mark Watson
sung to the tune of ‘Come Together’ by The Beatles

We run on chip fat, we down
Shifting quickly, she got
low carbon gumboot, we got
Handmade beehive
We say grow your own and
Plant for bees
Our soap’s biproduct glycerine
And we wash when we please

He pushing pedals, he got
Roadshow genny,we got
Solstice sunrise, he make
Medicine jelly, she say
Blog and blog and blog in threes
Got to be Transition
Coming up from our knees

Shift together, right now
It’s in the we

She on the network, we got
No-spam filter, we got
Neighbourhood plug-in, we do
Group newsletter, we say
Meet, greet, eat and
Set the scene
Got to be where we are and
Know where we’ve been

Shift together, right now
It’s more than green

We stitch up old sock, we do
Library courtyard, we swap
Local home-grown, we start
Old Spot pig club
We say you and you and you and me
Let’s forage in the the hedgerows and
Eat roots, shoots and seeds

We own production, we got
Sweet jar banknotes, we got
Solar panel, we know
Birch sap tapper, we say
Give and take and take the lead
Join the dots together and
Share what you don’t need

Shift together, right now (oh yeah)
Sow the seeds

63 Patterns

Seedling Swap at the Library- Sustainable Bungay

The following is a precis of the 63 Patterns in the forthcoming Transition Pattern Language. There is an on-line version of the Patterns as part of the 2010 Transition Conference booklet which you can download as a PDF. There will also be an interactive on-line directory shortly on http://www.transitionnetwork.org/.

Set One – What we Start With – Skills and Qualities

1.1. Post Petroleum Stress Disorder awareness of peak oil and climate change – sharing and weathering those End of Suburbia moment feelings

1.2 Critical Thinking the ability to assimilate and disseminate intellectual and scientific knowledge – learning the Transition language from climate science to economic structures

1.3 Understanding Scale Deciding what size neighbourhood the initiative should cover

1.4 Thinking Like A Designer thinking in terms of possiblity and systems e.g. permaculture

1.5 Personal Resilience Making sure some of the qualities that increase an ability to weather shock and stress are included in activities e.g. humour, creative exploration, relaxation and optimistic thinking.

1.6 How Others See Us/How We Communicate being aware of how you communicate Transition

1.7 Civility/Manners How we communicate with each other – agreement to have non-aggressive communications and give positive feedback

1.8 Standing Up To Speak How we speak out what we know.

Set Two Starting Up An Initiative

2.1 Forming a Core Team finding your people and steering an initiative

2.2 Inclusion/Diversity Going out and meeting/ listening to the community, finding out what its strengths and concerns are

2.3 Transition Training weekend intensivecourse  run by the Transition Network to help inititatives get started – covers both the inner and outer aspects of Transitiion, including key information about peak oil and climate change

2.4 Running Successful Meetings One of the principle arts of Transition – making agreements with facilitation and structure so everyone is heard and valued

2.5 Visioning Process whereby communities and inititives can see forward into the future and create the structures necessary for a post-oil world

2.6 Becoming a Formal Organisation Finding a structure that suits your initiative and makes funding possible

2.7 Arts and Creativity Creating the culture of Transition – an essential ingredient of all events

2.8 Awareness Raising Bringing climate change and peak oil to the attention of the community – holding a positive vision for the future – providing throught-provoking and imaginative events where people can meet each other and discuss issues

2.9 Communications with the Media Making links with the local press, radio and television – learning how to write press releases and selecting spokespeople for the initiative

2.10 Forming Working Groups Small interest groups around a specific subject or project, who can take things forward independantly of the steering group

2.11 Building Strategic Partnerships Making links with organisations whose objectives run parallel with Transition (events, funding, speakers)

2.12 The Project Support concept catalysing, inspiring and enabling other local projects to flourish, lending assistance from publicity and administration to sense of common purpose

2.15 Transition Cakes the delicious and creative centrepiece of all good Transition events!

Set Three Deepening and Broadening

3.1 Transition Towers –having an office or not Deciding how to run the initiative from a dedicated space (that could also be a meeting place, library, café . . .)

3.2 Volunteers Making sure volunteers from outside the initiative involved in any project or event have a rewarding time

3.3 Financing Your Work Going beyond self-financing – locating funding and sponsorship – making projects economically sustainable and planning for the future

3.4 Celebrating Celebrating the small and large achievements – anniversary parties, shared meals

3.5 Emotional Support/Avoiding Burnout Creating small self-organising support groups – making sure responsibility for the initiative is shared – having time for rest and recuperation

3.6 Momentum Making sure the initiative keeps focussed and moving forwards

3.7 Celebrate Failure (and Success) Making sure everything is celebrated (even the things that don’t work out)

3.8 Gathering Feedback (how are we doing?) Making time to reflect on the progress and shortcomings of the group

3.9 Practical Manifestations Making sure there are visible manifestations of your initiative at an early stage (and you are not just a talking shop)

3.10 Local Food initiatives Engaging in food-related projects – starting up community orchards, garden-share, CSAs – getting involved with local school gardens and farmer’s markets

3.11 The Great Reskilling events and training in the resilient arts of cooking, sewing, repairing stuff, growing food.

3.12 Working with Local Businesses Offering services to connect businesses with the local economy and more be resilient – forming an Economics and Livelihoods group

3.13 Ensuring Land Access Finding land that can be used for growing food for communities – garden shares

3.14 Unleashings A bold and inspirational celebration of an initiative’s presence in the community – an event that marks the beginning of Transition

3.15 Conflict Resolution Dealing with difficulties between people – making sure everyone is heard and decisions are clearly agreed upon – bringing in outside help if necessary
 

Set 4 Outreach

4.1 Transition Together/Transition Circles Personal carbon reduction in the areas of home energy, transport, food, waste and “stuff” – bringing awareness of climate change and peak oil on a street level

4.2 Form Networks of Transition initiatives Connecting with other initiatives in the region to share resources, skills and experience – organising gatherings so local Transition groups can meet and exchange ideas

4.3 Becoming the Media Using available technology to create stories about what is happening in your Transition group (blogs, making Youtubes) – writing for Transition Network newsletter

4.4 Engaging the Council Exploring ways of interacting with your local authority in a constructive manner e.g. how the initiative can feed into Council policymaking

4.5 Energy Resilience Assessment A tool developed by Transition Training and Consulting that determines the degree of oil vulnerability and business resilience for local businesses

4.6 Community Brainstorming Tools Holding open space and world café sessions to enable people to find solutions to the problems facing their town or community

4.7 Oral Histories finding ways for elders and others to tell their stories about the bio-region –organising events so knowledge from the “living library” can be expressed and handed down

4.8 Engaging Local Landowners involving people who own or manage surrounding areas – rebuilding relationships between local communities and their hinterland

4.9 Engaging Young People giving children a voice in Transiton – involving local school and youth groups in community and Transition activities (including your own!)

4.10 Engaging Schools (training teachers) work with local schools – classes in visioning the future and reconnection with the local area – reskilling

4.11 Meaningful Maps creating maps that engage and inform people about the shifts Transition will make in their neighbourhood – from transport schemes to community orchards

4.13 The Role of Storytelling Telling stories that tell us what a future might be like if we respond creatively to peak oil and climate change – stories from the past that inform us about a low-energy resilient world

4.14 Networks and Partnerships Collaborating with existing groups in your area – organising events and projects together
 

Set Five The Bigger Picture

5.1 Energy Descent Action Plans Designing an engaging and research-based community process for a practical and coherent vision for a lower-energy future – a route map of what Transition will look like so the initiative and the community can plan ahead

5.2 Social Entrepreneurship Finding avenues in the local area for business enterprises in line with Transition principles – providing training and events to help this happen

5.3 Scaling Up Ensuring you have a strong organisational stucture to evolve the initiative – broadening the initiative’s impact

5.4 Community Renewable Energy Companies Making renewable energy owned and managed by the local community (as opposed to distant organisations)

5.5 Strategic Local Infrastructure Reinstalling local infrastrucutre e.g. mills that are economically viable and supported by the community (as directed by the EDAP)

5.6 Strategies for Plugging the Leaks Making schemes which keep money circulating in the local area – developing projects and strategies that link goods and services – exploring timebanks, local currencies, Credit Unions

5.7 Intermediate Technologies exploring low-tech solutions which can be sourced and repaired locally (as well as bringing social benefit to the local area)

5.8 Community Ownership of Assets Engaging in ways the community can have ownership of land and renewable energy and food production

5.9 Community Supported Agriculture/Farms/Bakeries etc Owning shares in local farms or setting up a community farm – increasing relationship between the community and local farmers

5.10 Strategic Thinking considering the infrastructure for relocalisation of power and food production- strategic underpinning to stimulate social enterprises
 

Set Six National Policy Making

6.1 Policies for Transition (the role of politics) Working to change the cultural story on a national and political level – influencing policy making to bring about a sustainable world

6.2 Peak Oil Resolutions Lobbying your local and regional council to pass a peak oil resolution– Transition Training for key staff

Sustainable Bungay: Pattern Portrait of an Initiative

In the recent Transition Suffolk meeting we discussed highlighting the patterns our groups had already engaged in and had created some of the identity/style of the initiative. In our up-and-coming August gathering Sustainable Bungay are going to look at their future in terms of the Patterns. To help catalyse this process I have written a brief (and personal!) summary of the patterns we have experienced so far . . . (Charlotte Du Cann)

1 Skills and Qualities

Sustainable Bungay has been active for two and a half years and our neighbourhood is the market town of Bungay and its surrounding villages (Understanding Scale 1.3). Our core group revolves around 15-20 members – half of us very active and the other half supportive. Our age group ranges from the 20s to 70s (less if you count our several children!). We have various working parties that include people who are not in the core group (e.g. Bungay Community Bees, Community Garden project). Though none of us have done the Transition Training 2.3, having learned “on the job”, we do have good links with other East Anglian initiatives and the Transition Network. We are less focused on workshop-type activities and more on community events and projects. We have a lively blog/website and meet once a month (upstairs in the Library) and once socially in the pub (Green Drinks in the Green Dragon). Our strength lies in our abilities with communication and the fact we hold many different kinds of skills between us and we are quite informal and creative in our exchanges.

In June 2008 we showed a sequence of Transition-themed films and afterwards shared our feelings about key issues to do with social change and the state of the earth (Post Petroleum Stress Disorder 1.1). Most of us are highly aware of climate change and peak oil in the group. Some are highly articulate on the subject and others have a deep understanding of the difficulties we face on the mental and emotional levels, as well as the physical. This shared understanding has created a stable base for our co-operative actions. Because we have outlets (events, blogs, discussions) where we can share our knowledge of subjects such as economics and sustainable food systems, patterns like Critical Thinking 1.2, Thinking Like A Designer 1.4 and Civility/Manners 1.7 can be absorbed osmotically by everyone. By engaging in Transition events such as the Permaculture Course we’ve found ourselves interested in subjects we would have never considered before.

Does the individual quality make the initiative, or does becoming part of a Transition initiative elicit that quality? That’s hard to tell!

We went through a very difficult stage (see Set 3) and managed to pull through, so most of us by nature and experience have Personal Resilience 1.5. Finding individual value and meaning through being part of a group, sharing our practical and intellectual qualities, doing stuff together is the key attraction of Transition. How We Communicate 1.6 is based on the desire to showcase these activities with others in Bungay and neighbouring communities. We’ve hosted many stalls at local events (e.g. The Greenpeace Fair) and from the beginning we’ve had different members Standing Up To Speak 1.8 in front of people – from the Rotary Club to local television cameras. Several of us have spoken with different initiatives to give them a hand to start up (Beccles, Halesworth). Kate has addressed local schools (Car Free Day, the Unleashing). Josiah has spoken about local food systems (Greener Fram, Transition Diss, Transition Woodbridge) and the Bee project. Nick recently gave a breakthrough talk on Economics at the local Chaucer Club.

Pictures: Sustainable Bungay at our first Give and Take Day, March 2009; Mark speaking about wild plants on the Spring Tonic Walk, 2009

2 Forming an Initiative

We have been an open core group (Forming a Core Team 2.1) from the beginning and kept this configuration after the Unleashing. Everyone is welcome to attend and contribute. Like all Transition groups our difficulties have been experienced within our attempts at Running Successful Meetings 2.4. Some of our meetings have been a success and some haven’t. We are now quite open about where they don’t work and change our format accordingly. We take turns to facilitate and have a spontaneous agenda at our monthly Core Group meetings and afterwards go to the pub and let off steam!

We took an active part in a Bungay Visioning 2.5 day for the Town Plan in 2009 and also had a Time-Line for our Unleashing that same year, which will enable us to do some Backcasting 2.14 at a later date (sic). We have done a certain amount of Measurement 2.5, such as our forthcoming Carbon Audit, and though we have several scientists amongst us, our heart, it would be fair to say, is not particularly focused on data.

We are a creative group, including writers, artists, photographers, singers, dancers and actors, craftsmen and cooks and like to bring Arts and Creativity 2.7 into all our events. We are lucky to have Gemma, a professional cake maker, in our core group so not one event goes by without Transition Cakes 2.15! Our unleashing was celebrated by a mountain of multi-coloured cup cakes (though the one in the pic was made for a Transition Circle birthday and anniversary celebration).

Some of that creativity comes in very useful with our Communications with the Media 2.9 and many of our activities have been covered in the local press. Several members have been on BBC Radio Suffolk talking about our Awareness Raising 2.8 events (End of Suburbia to our Give and Take Day). Our Bee project made the regional television news and Charlotte writes about Transition and SB on the OneWorldColumn on the regional paper, the Eastern Daily Press.

In 2010 we have set about Forming Working Groups 2.10 from the Community Garden project to the Bio-Diesel initiative. We are also engaged in Building Strategic Partnerships 2.11 with local organisations that range from the social enterprise Bright Green (who we ran our first Give and Take Day with in 2009) to the local Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Although we have never formally sat down and considered The Project Support Concept 2.12 we’re very much involved with it. Small groups working together is definitely the way forward in our area.

Making steps and still to do: 2.6 Becoming a Formal Organisation and 2.2 Inclusion/Diversity

Pictures: Making hives for the Bungay Community Bees, June 2010; Graham Burnett from Southend in Transition teaching a Permaculture Course, January 2010 for our Community Garden

3 Deepening and Broadening

Transition Towers – Having an Office or not 3.1 Not in the case of Bungay! As you can see from the pic, we’re still at the kitchen table stage. We are lucky to have the Library however for our monthly meetings and the Chaucer Club as a venue for our events. And how are you Financing Your Work 3.3? you might ask. Well, at this point we are mostly self-financing. We have been given some funds to develop and print our Carbon Audit. We have received generous donations and we run the Bungay Community Bees, for example, by subscription. No one gets paid, so we’re all in the same boat – all happily Volunteers 3.2!

We may not have an office or a big grant, but Celebrating 3.4 we have down – summer picnics, Christmas parties, birthday drinks, green drinks. We all like food and we happily bring and share meals and cakes, swap plants and chickens. This informal exchange system is what really helps with Emotional Support/Avoiding Burnout 3.5. We’re not therapy types, so wouldn’t go down a counselling route, or seek outside help for Conflict Resolution 3.15. Instead we help ourselves. We have learned that by communicating and working with each other and exchanging “stuff” the responsibility for the initiative is shared. We can keep up Momentum 3.6 and not burn out.

We almost did last year. One of our greatest challenges arose when antagonistic town councillors turned down our application to put on a Big Green Street Market. It came at the same time as a stressful involvement with a Community Consultation for the Town Plan and our Unleashing (see below). Several members had worked very hard on the project and the refusal was a big shock and very difficult to talk about. However eventually we were able to make light of being called “smock-wearing eco-fascists” and Celebrate Failure (and Success) 3.7. The mood of the town council softened towards us and we became stronger and more determined as a result. One of the hardest things Transition has to face is the “old order” coming through people and quashing the new. As well as the divide-and-conquer mentality we inherit from our culture that can so easily split groups.

This shock also enabled us to become more aware of what we were engaged in and more strategic. In short we regrouped and became more resilient. We have occasional Big Meetings in which we put a day or an afternoon aside to look at the year ahead Gathering Feedback (how are we doing?) 3.8. We were aware that awareness-raising events can easily come and go leaving no trace, so creating Working Parties has really helped the Pattern of  Practical Manifestations 3.9.

Our Community Garden in the centre of town is beginning to act like a Transition beacon as well as our community beehives and other Local Food initiatives 3.10. If there is one subject we all share it’s food. So as well as our highly successful Growing Local food event, Bungay Community Bees and Seedling Swap we are starting up a pig club and an apple share project. We’re really lucky having Josiah in the group who has a working knowledge of sustainable food systems, as well as many enthusiastic growers and cooks on board.

This second phase began after our Unleashings 3.14 on May 9 2009 at the Community Hall. Over 70 people came to hear Shaun Chamberlin speak about his recently published The Transition Timeline. We had our own Timeline along one wall and the tables were organised according to the working parties/theme groups we wanted to create for the following year. Kate and Josiah introduced the event. The hall was decked with garden and wild flowers and the tables loaded with home-cooked, low-carbon food. We had elderflower punch and beer from the local micro-brewery and local musicians played for free. Many initiatives are not keen to do an Unleashing (or use the term) but it is an important rite-of-passage and the initiative definitely goes into a different phase after you have gone through the door!

Still to consider/do: 3.11 The Great Reskilling 3.12 Working with Local Businesses 3.13 Ensuring Land Access

Pictures: Josiah and Mark (and Iris) working on the new Sustainable Bungay website/blog, March 2010; homemade food for our Summer Picnic, July 2010; Shaun Chamberlin and the SB Unleashing Crew in front of the Bungay Timeline, May 2009

4 Outreach

Sustainable Bungay regularly interacts with neighbouring initiatives in Beccles, Halesworth and Diss to Form Networks of Transition Initiatives 4.2 and we have Transition contacts all over East Anglia. Mark, Charlotte and Josiah were involved in the Transition East Regional Support group that set up and ran the second Transition East Gathering last November. For this event we produced the Transition East 2009 document that profiled 29 initiatives across the Eastern Region (and initiated this blog), as well as the Transition Troubleshooting paper based on the “troubles” initiatives reported they were experiencing. We also took part in the recent forming of Transition Suffolk, and Mark and Charlotte have been instrumental in setting up personal carbon reduction neighbourhood groups in Norwich Transition Together/Transition Circles 4.1 and taken part in Carbon Conversations as future facilitators.

SB has its own community blog/website and active googlegroup and contributes to two other Transition blogs – transitioncircleeast and Transition Norwich’s This Low Carbon Life. We also produce our own quarterly printed and on-line newsletters (Becoming the Media 4.3). These articles and photographs provide material for our press and publicity, and perhaps more importantly reflect back and give value and meaning to what we are doing, helping with the process of Pausing for Reflection (‘How Am I Doing?’) 4.15.

Keeping an on-line record also helps us showcase our personal and cultural stories The Role of Storytelling 4.14. Most of our attention so far has been focussed on building up the initiative and forging strong links and relationships. In 2010, as we’re starting to branch out and explore this fourth Set, we’re hoping to use our creative and communicative skills to engage further community interest. For example, we’re planning to map the local area for neighbourhood fruit trees (Meaningful Maps 4.11) as part of our apple share project and produce a flower calendar for our Bungay Community Bees.

Meanwhile as regards Engaging Schools 4.10 and Engaging Young People 4.9 we have made links with the local schools in respect to the Bungay Car-Free Day (Kate gives classes on climate change and environmental awareness), and now we’re hoping to get them involved in our local Cycle Strategy. Bungay Community Bees is teaching a class on bees at the Primary School in September (Charlotte has already helped run Transition/Creative Partnership classes on Peak Oil and Reconnection with Nature in Norwich). We have several “Transition kids” in our initative and they are definitely part of what we do!

SB has in the course of two years made some strong and successful Networks and Partnerships 4.14 from the local Emmanuel church to the food-growing co-operative, Greengrow. We have now also begun Engaging Local Landowners 4.8 in respect to our food initiatives.

Still to consider/do: 4.4 Engaging the Council 4.5 Energy Resilience Assessment 4.6 Community Brainstorming Tools 4.7 Oral Histories

Pictures: Bungay Cycle Strategy outside our meeting house, the local Library, July 2010; helping plant a community orchard at the local co-op Greengrow, February 2009

5 Scaling Up

We’re not large or influential enough at this point to engage in Scaling Up 5.3 as a single initiative, so this is where our regional network becomes really valuable, where we learn from fellow initiatives e.g Transition Ipswich with their Energy Descent Action Plans 5.1 and wind turbine project (Community Renewable Energy Companies 5.4) and link up with other low-carbon and sustainable groups.

We are however engaged in Strategic Thinking 5.10, evolving our projects within a framework of the bigger picture. We’re also setting in motion some of the other aspects of this set, such as Social Entrepreneurship 5.2 especially in respect to our biodiesel and soap enterprise and our Community Supported Agriculture/Farms/Bakeries etc 5.9 projects, Bungay Community Bees and the pig club at GreenGrow.

We are also communicating with District Councillors and local and regional organisations in respect to these larger Patterns and exploring Community Ownership of Assets 5.8 e.g. future allotments.

Still to do: 5.5 Strategic Local Infrastructure 5.6 Strategies for Plugging the Leaks 5.7 Intermediate Technologies

Pictures: Transition Suffolk meeting, Stowmarket, July 2010

6 National Policy

We’re not talking to the government yet about our Policies for Transition 6.1 and Peak Oil Resolutions 6.2 but we’ll have plenty of things to say when we do! (the newly elected MP came to our Unleashing)

Pictures: Sustainable Bungay at The Wave, December 2009