Monday, January 3, 2011

The Great Launch

If you are planning to live on Denman for another ten, twenty, thirty years, this article is for you. Your community needs you, and you need your community. It’s me again, Ashlea. I’ve been pretty happy-go-lucky, nose in the roses in my previous articles about Transition Denman Island. If it’s been a little nauseating, I apologize. Being the new kid on the block, I didn’t want to come across as a patronizing pessimist. I really need to grab your attention now though, because we are inviting you to take a leap as part of this dynamic community and we (The TDI steering committee) really, really want your participation.
As you know, we are experiencing climate change, and we are about to experience a whole lot more. You have probably also heard about peak oil – it’s getting harder and more dangerous to suck that black gold out of the earth, and there is less and less of it available. We think we’ve seen oil prices skyrocket over the past decade, but in our hearts we know it’s only been the tip of the iceberg. And you may have noticed that the federal and provincial governments have been useless thus far in doing anything about it. I’m willing to bet my guitar that they will continue along in that vein until most of the planet is scorched and starving. (Man, this isn’t happy-go-lucky at all, is it?)
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been feeling pretty powerless lately. You try to drive less, take fewer flights, buy local – but you know that while you’re bicycling up that giant Denman Rd. Hill, some CEO is on his ninth flight of the week negotiating to knock down another dozen hectares of forest and put up new mega marts. No matter what you do, the oil is going, going….
Time to transition. Time to work toward self-sufficiency and local resilience. We already have a head start – great initiatives currently lead by skillful community members, support from local government and an amazing sense of solidarity. And we know what’s possible by looking at communities like Totnes, the original Transition Town, which is fully engaged and well on its way to true independence, setting an example for Villages, Towns and Cities all over the world. We too have the potential to be a leading force – Denman Island is a strong community.
On January 22nd the entire community is invited to the front hall for “The Launch” where we will declare and celebrate this island’s commitment to transition. We will all work together to envision Denman Island as we think it ought to be in ten and twenty years, and we will sign on to donate our time and expertise to action groups that will focus in on areas where change and ingenuity is needed. Every single person will have the opportunity to share their gifts and learn cool stuff from others as we join forces for a brilliant future. (Please note: since the previous article we have changed the location to the Front Hall to better suit the needs of the community.) The launch will begin at 12:00 noon and run until 4:00. There will be delicious food available for sale throughout the day, provided by Fireweed. In the first hour we’ll have an introduction from a guest speaker and then we will have time to talk to each other and think about Transition as a whole and how we can mould our future. At 1:00 we will begin working toward the formation of action groups. There will be tables for the various areas of interest such as Water Security, Health and Well-Being, Education, Eco-Friendly Building etc. There will be a facilitator at each table who knows a thing or two about the subject and who will help get the action teams off to a start. If you are feeling like you want to get more involved in the community, this is a great chance for you to start making a difference. And if you are one of the many who volunteer their time eight days a week, perhaps you already have a lot of information to offer and can work pieces of the transition plan into what you’re doing now. At 3:00 we will come together again to cut a ribbon and make the official declaration that we are a community committed to making a positive change for the future. Cake and bubbly will be passed around.
If you want to know more about Transition Towns, Climate Change, Peak Oil and community building, come out to our mini film-fest on Saturday July 15th at the Old School from 11-4. We will run some informative videos related to the Transition Movement. Stay tuned to local bulletin boards and the January Grapevines for more information.
If we act now, before things get out of control, we can stop climate change and peak oil from taking such a great toll on us locally. We will be prepared for change, we will be able to provide safe-haven for our loved ones and we will become one with the earth again – as we were meant to be – working with nature instead of fighting against it. We can look forward to a great feeling of pride, accomplishment and security. We can enjoy working together now, instead of worrying together later. This is not a burden – it is an opportunity for community, learning and success.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Micro Film Festival

This January, in an attempt to upstage the Courtenay Film Festival in February and at the same time (our real purpose) bring people up to speed about Transition Communities and “Lowering our Carbon Footprints”, REDI presents a one-day film marathon. We will be in the Conservancy Room at The Marcus Isbister Old School Center, starting at 11 am and running to approximately 4 pm on Saturday January 15th. Popcorn and hot drinks available for sale. We will show a few of the most commonly seen films about climate change: “An Inconvenient Truth”, “The End of Suburbia”, the film produced by Transition Totnes about Transitioning. A special favourite inspiring film about Cuba’s response to running out of fuel is also on the agenda.
We’re hoping to add a few of the lesser seen films as well: “The Age of Stupid” for example…
Special for all the volunteers at the Reusables Store (the “Free Store”) will be a showing of the Free Store Fashion Show from our archives. This film will be shown a few minutes after recycling closes for the day so that all volunteers who missed it can have a chance to see the wonders created from their offerings.
Also, for the community members who missed out on the special short Denman Opposes Coal Video because of the snow storm in November, we will be showing this film as well… only 9 minutes long but worth watching!
As always, REDI’s Slow Film events are co-sponsored by World Community in Courtenay. Watch the Grapevine for a schedule.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Reflecting on Texpo - By Ashlea Jonesmith

The Transition Denman Island Steering Committee (TDISC) would like to send out a giant “THANK YOU” to the 30 amazing groups that turned out to participate at Texpo, as well as members of the public who dropped in for a visit. We were so pleased to have your support.
On Sunday, October 17th these 30 organizations, societies and clubs came out to begin what will be an exciting and challenging journey toward a fully self-sustainable, locally resilient community. The gathering was an opportunity for these groups to showcase what they are doing in the community and we were pleased to see so many well-thought-out presentations that exceeded our expectations. It was also an opportunity for active members of the community to network with one another, get a good understanding of all the initiatives currently under way, see where group interests connect and overlap and come up with new ideas to fill some of the gaps. For new members of the community like me, it was an enjoyable first-time look at many of the projects happening here on Denman.
The TDISC is now in the process of assembling a comprehensive directory of D.I. Groups to publish on our website so that anyone interested in getting involved with or finding out more about these groups can do so through our site.
This winter Transition Denman Island will be hosting “The Great Launch” at which the whole community will be invited to help come up with a grand plan for Denman Island. It will be a completely different format from Texpo. No more sitting still for long periods of time and talking business – we promise! The Great Launch will be more of a party than a meeting. We will all have the opportunity to envision a perfect and resilient community and share our ideas. We will also celebrate our official declaration that Denman Island is a Transition Town, joining the ranks of leading communities around the world.
As part of this celebration we hope to form action groups that will focus on specific goals such as sustainable transportation, local green energy, agriculture, health and well-being, the arts, entertainment and so on. We are hoping that these groups will benefit from the information shared and collected at Texpo, and that members of the action groups will be able to navigate and work together with organizations that are already active in the community.
The Transition Denman Island website is currently up and running at and we would like to encourage you to surf over for a visit to find out what we’re all about.
Reflecting on Texpo, we can see that the transition thought process has truly begun in this community and we are excited about the future. Denman Island has solidarity! We can do this!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Transition Denman Island: Joining with TT’s Around the World - By Frances Honsinger

The Transition Town movement, which started in 2005, has spread to 300 communities in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Italy, Chile and Canada. In BC alone, there are several official Transition Towns, including Nelson, Golden Ears, Powell River , Salt Spring Island , Vancouver and Victoria .
On Denman Island , we are part of this international movement that taps into the collective creativity of its community members. The main aim of the project is to raise awareness of sustainable living and to build local, ecological resilience in the near future. Communities are encouraged to seek out methods for reducing energy usage as well as reducing their reliance on long supply chains that are totally dependent on fossil fuels for essential items.
We are ahead of many communities in that we already have several groups on the island who are working toward these ends. The Transition Denman Island steering committee has been compiling information about the various groups to create a database which we will share with all those involved.
We will be holding a Transition Expo “TEXPO” in October for representatives from these groups to come together and learn from each other. In the new year, the whole community will be invited to become involved in projects that have the potential to make the future of Denman Island more joyful and sustainable. Your ideas, creativity, inspiration and participation will not only be welcome, but will comprise Transition Denman Island , as the steering committee dissolves and action groups engage the community in the transition process. These groups could include, for example: food, permaculture, transport, health, energy, education, water, economics and waste. Each of these action groups will look at their area to determine the best ways of building community resilience and reducing our carbon footprint. Their solutions will form the backbone of the Energy Descent Action Plan.
In September, members of the Transition Denman Island steering committee will be in the Blackberry Fair parade and will have a booth at the Fair. Come and play "Climate Change Challenge" to test your knowledge of environmental issues and win a prize. See you there!

Friday, October 1, 2010

TEXPO 2010

A Transition Expo
Sponsored by Transition Denman Island
Steering Committee

The Transition Denman Island (TDI) Steering Committee has invited all the groups/committees on Denman to a TEXPO on Sunday, October 17th, in the Community Hall from 1-5pm.  The goal of this event is to:
  • expose all the islands’ groups to each other’s mandate and work
  • share information about what each group is doing towards TDI’s goals of resilience to climate change and energy dependency
  • discuss how we can all work together collaboratively
  • make plans to coordinate our efforts
Islanders who are not part of an invited group are welcome to come and view each group’s information table from 1-2pm then stay as silent Observers for the rest of the event.
At 2pm we will start by showing a short U-Tube clip of Rob Hopkins (Post Carbon Institute and the founder of Transition Towns) to give an overview of the Transition movement. Each group’s representative will present their information then a general discussion will be held on how we can all work together to become more resilient to the coming changes.  All ideas will be captured and our plan is to publish an Informational Directory of all the groups and an article in the November Flagstone.
All ideas will be brought forward at the Transition Island Visioning Event to be held in the New Year where all the community will be invited to bring their thoughts and ideas. 
We believe that this is the first time a representative from all the islands’ groups will be in the same room so it will be an exciting and informational event. If your group has not been contacted yet, please call Veronica (1828) or  The event will also be a fundraiser through sales of refreshments.

Veronica Timmons

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Transition Update - by Ashlea Jonesmith

Peak Oil – Peak Everything? Peak fun? Pardon me for being optimistic in the face of a worldwide catastrophe, but I’m not so sure that the end of this oil-guzzling era has to be all that bad. Especially here! What an unfair advantage this place has over anywhere else I’ve lived or visited. It appears that every single person on Denman is practically exploding with talent and ingenuity. Between potter, baker, builder, biologist, weaver, farmer, doctor, herbalist and engineer, it seems we have it all – a world’s worth of skill right here on this little island. And not only do we have brilliant individuals, but groups of them coming together regularly to solve problems and work toward sustainability, growth, and most importantly, fun.
A few months ago I went to the back hall to watch the Transition Town DVD. I’m new on Denman, and I decided that joining the ‘Transition Denman Island’ steering committee that was formed that evening would be a good way for me to get involved in the community. I thought, heck if anywhere is going to make the “transition,” it may as well be Denman, this island is already well on it’s way. Within the small island population there are people who grow all of their own food, create their shelters from recycled and local materials, build composting toilets and grey water drainage systems, stitch up beautiful quilts, bags and clothing, create kitchen wares from clay, baskets from branches, delicious treats from local produce, music from air – and most amazingly, everyone seems willing to share their wisdom and know-how with others, with a common goal of creating a sustainable island paradise.
So you may be asking – “What’s the point of this new transition group? What are they trying to change when we’ve already go it all?”
There is a growing network of “Transition Towns” stretching across the globe. To officially name our community a “Transition Town/Island” makes us part of a network of towns working toward the same goal, learning from each other and acting as a role model for the rest of the world. and the Transition Town manual lay out a plan that has been tried and tested and has proven effective in many other communities that have chosen to make the move from oil dependency to local resiliency and sustainability. Here on Denman we are well ahead of the game, already benefiting from the efforts of many grass-roots organizations that are making Denman a great place to live. What we, the steering group for Transition Denman Island, are hoping to do is make it possible for these groups to come together and share ideas, for more people to get inspired by what’s going on, for more groups to form, for more ideas to be brought to light. We want to be a support system for the positive change that is happening, to be sure it keeps happening, and we want to help fill in the gaps where more could be done. We aim to give every single person on this island the opportunity to get involved, to learn, share and benefit. We want to help the knowledge pass through the generations.
The threats associated with Peak Oil and Climate Change are very real to me, but I’m not afraid of withering away on Denman or having to part with all of life’s pleasures. We have so much – all we have to do is find a way to make it grow, make it accessible and hold on to it.
Denman has what it takes to really put itself on the map – to show the world how change is made, and what it is to not only survive, but truly thrive in the face of a potential global gong show. The world needs communities like ours to start leading the way.
At this point the steering committee is still in the thinking and planning stage. We are looking forward to putting on a few great events in the next year, and getting to know the various groups and committees on the island, as well as the amazing individuals. The TDI steering committee is a small group and we are open to new members who would like to offer their efforts and expertise in any area. If you are interested, please contact Veronica at 335-1828, or feel free to contact me at Any one of us on the steering committee would happily bring you up to speed.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Transition Denman Island - By Veronica Timmons

April 23 saw 73 islanders turn out for the showing of the UK’s film on Transition Towns sponsored by REDI (Renewable Energy Denman Island). To put the Transition Town movement into context we showed the presentation by Richard Heideberg called Peak Everything. In it he gave statistics and information on peak oil, peak population, peak everything, it was rather depressing.
Then came the Transition Towns DVD which was upbeat and positive. It showed what towns and cities in the UK and New Zealand are doing to end their dependency on peak oil and deal with climate change. A darling little English boy explained to us that everyone has to get together to work on this problem. Children feature a good deal in the film because it they who are inheriting the challenges of living in a future where oil/gas may be rationed and everything is hugely expensive. It was heartwarming to hear the islanders clapping at the closing credits! After the film people were asked if they wanted to become a Transition Island and the answer was “yes” so we asked for volunteers for the Transition Denman Island Initiating Group and we now have a motivated and dedicated working group. We have met twice to begin the process of becoming an official Transition Town/Island. The folks who will be leading the movement on Denman are: Danni Crenna, (REDI member), Ulysses r emortil, Frances Honsinger, Roxanna Mandryk, Lisa Pierce, Ashlea Smith, Veronica Timmons (REDI), and Carole Vosburgh. It would be great to have one or two more males in the group so if you are interested contact me (Veronica at1828). Three members have attended the Transition Town training and there is another workshop on June 5-6th in Duncan. Our aim is to involve everyone on Denman to work towards lowering our dependency on oil/gas and to become resilient to the changes we know are coming.
Next issue: the Plan of Action

If you want to borrow the DVD on Transition Towns DVD call Veronica at 1828.