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.

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