Image credit: Hay Media
A journalist called me the other day to talk about Transition Towns. I enthusiastically recounted how this Global community-led response to Peak Oil and climate change has preached beyond the choir—and enacted real, tangible environmental initiatives like planting community nut orchards, launching local currencies, and even pioneered community-supported beer. True, there were some extreme elements have posited that Transition is a UN-run plot to rule the world—but for the most part, these groups seem to have had at least some success at moving beyond your usual green converts. But a new, witty and somewhat laconic film casts doubt on that theory—at least in one town. So how do you green your community when your community doesn't seem to care?
Posted by the Transition Hay-on-Wye group, this video aims to explore how and why transition initiatives have failed to catch on yet among a large portion of the general public in the town. As the film explains, Hay-on-Wye, which sits right on the border of Wales and England, is a town that benefits (and suffers?) from a busy tourist trade, and is also jam-packed full of cultural events and other groups and initiatives.
It may in fact be, as one commenter over at Rob Hopkins' piece on Nigel in Transition proposes, that it is harder to engage a community that already has so much going on.
Either way, as Rob notes, it's important that we all learn from our failures. So in case anyone was under the impression that Transition Towns are eco-utopias or have got it all figured out, this is very far from the case. And if you are struggling to get your own initiatives off the ground, at least you can know that you are not alone.
But let's not get too depressed either. As the massive impact of just one Transition group has shown, change is possible. It just happens slower than we'd like.