Meet the Transition Towns of the Mid-Atlantic Region
Wilmington in Transition: How does the Transition Movement manifest in the First State? (Good Question!) Delaware is known as the US ‘Cayman Islands’ - home to more corporations than the state has citizens – and for its high violent crime rates. (It was also the site of the longest encamped ‘Occupy ’ group in the country). We have the Dover Air Force Base (weigh station for all the nation’s military ‘casualties’) which dominates the otherwise rather provincial State Capital. We have the Chesapeake Bay, blue crabs, sinking islands, proud locals, and the clash of rural conservatives with urban liberals. We have an Uber-toxic ‘cancer map’ hot-spot, Delaware City, right at sea-level, home to a Bakaan shale oil refinery, complete with ‘bomb trains’ whirring twice daily through the nearby campus of the University of DE, in Newark – (ironically) a school nationally recognized for renewable energy research and development.
Delaware’s average altitude is just 60 feet above sea level (the lowest in the country) and has hundreds of miles of fragile marsh-land coastline, and sandy hurricane prone beaches. Delaware has the Mason-Dixon Line between the Urban sprawl of the North, and the sub-urban sprawl of the South. We have ‘tax-free shopping’, most of the nation’s credit card debt holders and banking industry headquarters, and amongst all of these influences exists only about “1/6 of a degree of separation” (it seems everyone knows everyone)! In Delaware, one gets the feeling that it’s the same 50 people doing all of the environmental / eco-justice activism, and coalescing a ‘Transition Town’ group is a lot like herding cats – all of the ‘activists’ and social-change makers just seem to be so darned busy all of the time – and, no wonder! It sometimes feels like David (Transition) against Goliath (Corporate ‘status quo’) – larger than life, here in Delaware!
For Wilmington in Transition, Laura Philon Initiator, and MATH Council Member
Transition Howard County: Transition Howard County: We foster resilient and engaged communities by partnering with local groups that focus on different aspects of sustainability. We currently have active working groups in the following areas: ecosystem landscaping, energy, food, inner transition, knowledge, and outreach. We partnered with the Howard County Dept. of Recreation and Parks and other organizations for our Earth Day Bioblitz on April 26, 2014. We partner with Howard Community College (HCC) for a series of community forums on sustainability including Climate Change, Energy, and Health. Our next one will be on Land Use.
We work with the Earth Forum of Howard County to organize and present a series of films on Food. We also worked with our local Time Bank to sponsor an event on gluten free foods. We plan to work with them to present a program on plant-based diets in the fall. We table at many county events to help spread the word about the importance of Transition including the annual community-wide GreenFest and 50+ Expo. We recently showed Doug Tallamy’s talk on “Bringing Nature Home. THC sponsors the Green Homes Now tour every October which showcases homes where people are living green and living well. This summer we will be working with the Columbia Families In Nature, a community oriented group for busy families to take the time to be together in nature, to help promote the development of National Wildlife Federation certified gardens. We send out a twice monthly newsletter and our email list continues to grow. We will soon hit 500 recipients. READ MORE……
For Transition Howard County, Margo Deusterhaus, Initiator and MATH Council Member
Transition Montclair - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1014064011943616/
Transition Newark - https://www.facebook.com/transitionNWK
Transition Newton - http://transitionnewton.org/
Transition Redbank - http://www.meetup.com/Greater-Red-Bank-Transition-Mullers/
Transition Albany: continues to meet monthly, but our attendance has been low--around five people at each meeting. We formed in 2010 as a Capital District hub, and hived off into Albany and Troy initiatives a couple years ago. Our members, however, have been very active in two key initiatives.
Initiator Sandy Steubing launched People of Albany United For Safe Energy, PAUSE, about 18 months ago, to stop the shipment of highly explosive Bakken crude oil into the Port of Albany. Presently, the Port receives two trains of 110 cars each every day, and the route runs right next to a low-income housing project in the South End. PAUSE has gotten a receptive response from city and county government officials.
Transitioner Dave Hochfelder has been active in a community solar project called Solarize Albany. This is a national model that has been tried out in various locations around the country, including six other locations in New York State. The Solarize model brings concerned citizens together to buy residential solar installations in bulk, generating out-of-pocket cost savings of about 20%. We are in process of selecting our chosen installer and we are set to do about 50 installations in 2015, with more to follow in 2016 and beyond.
For Transition Albany, Dave Hochfelder, Initiator
Transition Catskills: "Last summer, Transition Catskills hosted two outreach events where we screened the documentary "Transition 1.0." Each screening was attended by about 30 people and was followed by an open discussion on the subject of making our region more self-reliant and resilient.
We began to compile an email list, which came in handy for our third event, a potluck featuring locally sourced food, with entertainment provided by local musicians. At the potluck, we created a timeline on which attendees could write their vision for our region in years to come.
In October, we planted the first public orchard in Delaware County, which consists of 8 apple trees installed next to the community garden in Fleischmanns. And we began compiling a video that will introduce the concept of Transition, and will also feature relocalizing efforts not only by our group, but will acknowledge the work of others.
We have designed our Catskill currency, and will be contacting local businesses to garner support before its debut. We have many more projects launching in the coming months, including Transition Streets, which we feel will be a good fit with our community."
For Catskills in Transition, Kristina Zill, Initiator.
Hamptons in Transition: “Hamptons in Transition has several new members and is working on a bus/cash mob to support local businesses and promote public transportation usage. We’re revamping our brochure, producing a series of speaking engagements, and exploring cohousing. Teamed with the Conscience Point Shellfish Hatchery Project”
For Hamptons in Transition, Bobbie Cohen, Initiator.
Kingston Transition:Kingston Transition is still small in terms of the initiating group and at our monthly meetings we have agreed that our current role should be one of supporting and encouraging the many grassroots initiatives already happening in Kingston that are in line with the Transition philosophy and community building. Our Facebook page has more than tripled in followers and serves as a hub of information about local events and movements. We were active in the opposition to a water bottling plant development proposal that has since been withdrawn and in supporting Rosendale Transition’s initiative for Citizens for Local Power among other projects. We have started our own Repair Café in midtown, where people can get broken items fixed for free, which is proving to be both a community builder and a practical help as well as a basic education in sustainability. As our visibility grows we expect to attract more creative initiatives, and to continue to support many of those already in existence.
For Kingston Transition, Gai Galitzine, Initiator.
Lower Hudson Valley Transition Hub: the successor of the Westchester Transition Hub is in hiatus.
Transition Marbletown: “Transition Marbletown originated and co-sponsors the annual Common Ground Celebration (http://www.rvcgc.org/) which brings people together to recognize our common ground and celebrate our shared vision for the Rondout Valley as a healthy, creative, regenerative and sustainable community. Signs of Sustainability awards local citizens who have contributed significantly to our sustainability and our community are featured.”
For Transition Marbletown, Cornelia Wathen, Initiator.
The Mid-Hudson Valley Transition Hub: is an online news, events and information clearinghouse.
NYC Metro in Transition:Motivated clusters of residents who live in the same New York City (NYC) neighborhoods and have attended NYC Transition Hub meetings, have started to form in Manhattan's Upper West Side and Lower East Side, and in Brooklyn's Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy, and Flatbush communities. Excitement is building within a newly emerging Transition Neighborhoods network in New York City convened by the NYC Transition hub. NYC Hub and MATH are supporting New Yorker's first steps toward organizing Transition Neighborhoods groups.
The NYC Hub, MATH, and area permaculturists are also partnering with the residents of Sandy-devastated Far Rockaway, Queens to build local resilience. The partners have come together to organize the Rockaway 4th Annual Health Festival and Transition Convergence with Battalion Pentecostal Assembly Church and networks of neighbors in the surrounding area. The festival will take place on the weekend of June 26 - 28, and will be promoted throughout the Rockaways, and the NY metro area.
Leading up to the festival Rockaway neighbors are offering their backyards and empty lots for permaculture installations, with location details and photos on www.transitionnyc.org. The NYC Hub will put out a request for proposed designs for these locations, and has secured several senior permaculture designers to review submissions. We will work with selected designers to arrange volunteer workshop days to install the designs and teach skills this spring. The Hub has also contacted other Rockaway community groups about the event, and will be seeking aligned groups and workshop presenters for the weekend.
On March 7, Dr. Mikey Tomkins, who specializes in creating "edible maps" to promote urban agriculture, toured Arverne, Rockaway and selected Brooklyn neighborhoods to estimate food growing potential of those communities. NYC Transition Hub upcoming events include Transition Neighborhoods Workshop Intensives in Manhattan on March 22, and on the Rockaways in April.
For the New York City Transition Hub, Dan Miner, Convener and MATH Steward
Transition Ossining: “We have supported the formation of a community garden on the grounds of a ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Hope. We also supported a change in the laws of the Village of Ossining to allow beekeeping. Due to its Rivertown location on the Hudson, the initiative has been evaluating opportunities to revitalize its waterfront as part of the Mid-Atlantic Transition Hub (MATH) waterways project. We are planning to restart in the spring after the loss of several core members. For Transition Ossining, John Bell, Initiator.
Rosendale Transition: “Rosendale won't sit on its hands watching with heartbreak as the earth becomes less hospitable to life. We are retraining hands to play music, grow food, repair tools, take care of our neighbors, and provide energy locally. And our hearts are into it!” For Rosendale Transition, Amy Trompetter, Initiator and MATH Steward
Sustainable Saugerties Transition: (Featured initiative-http://transitionus.org/blog/meet-transition-towns-and-cities-mid-atlantic-region
For Sustainable Saugerties Transition Town, Karuna Foudriat, Initiator.
Transition Schenectady: Although the core group is currently in hiatus, Transition Schenectady has, and can be a potential catalyst for change with the Vale Urban Farm and the Electric City Bike Rescue (ECBR) which meets weekly. These are potentially powerful vehicles to carry us into a better tomorrow. ECBR has been recycling and donating bikes, and sharing skills for almost a year in space donated by The Edison Tech Center. Transition initiated, ECBC is now in the competent hands of bike enthusiasts from the community and other groups, one of which helping with storage in an area that would make bikes more accessible to economically challenged youth of Schenectady. With help the Edison Tech Center building could be a new home for ECBR but at present many upgrades are needed before the public can be invited in.
For Transition Schenectady, Clarence (Rennie) Fountain, Initiator.
Transition Troy: In addition to robust ongoing projects such as a community timebank, composting with Troy’s City Council, a Farmer’s Market, and Community Gardens, Transition Troy is propelled by solar power. Its two distinguished projects in this domain are Solar [powered] Sal, a solar boat and, Solarize Troy
Solar (Powered) Sal: Awareness raising is a pivotal Transition ingredient. Demonstration that stretches minds to envision what is possible in a "Transitioned" future in a physical, tangible form is a tremendously powerful and inspirational form of public awareness raising. To that end, Transition Troy supports initiators bracketed on bridging from the here and now to renewables through projects like Solarize Troy, as well as visionaries like David Borton who demonstratively bring the future right into the present.
Sol, a 25 ft solar powered boat featured at MATH’s 2013 Waterways Reskilling Conference, is retired Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor David Borton’s third solar electric boat. Sol can carry 2 tons and goes 6 knots. Her daytime range is not limited, she can go 50 miles at night.
Fast forward two years. David Borton remarks that, “Some folks thought that the 25 ft Sol looked small on the Hudson River, so solar must only work for small boats.” So, David and a crew of students and volunteers are currently building a 40 foot solar electric cargo boat, Solar Sal, by hand in Schodack School district’s bus garage. Forty-feet, 39 feet 3 inches actually, is not a small boat. Solar Sal is a prototype "commercial boat" that will be able to carry 12 tons on the Erie Canal, no gas, no oil, no noise. READ MORE……
For Transition Troy, David Borton, Initiator.
Tricounty NY Transition: The Tricounty Transition Town Initiative is a grassroots coalition of leaders, educators, farmers, scientists, doctors, small business owners, and area residents in the Glens Falls, Queensbury NY area. We all share urgent concerns about the impact, waste, and over use of fossil fuels in all aspects of our lives.
Our main role is to spark action around the many issues related to fossil fuel dependency and to disseminate information via talks, seminars, movie events and actions. We are presently actively involved with a "Bring Your Own Bag" campaign, working locally with residents, markets and city/town officials to eliminate the use of plastic shopping bags. We are also very involved with our local schools and college around issues of farm to school, farm to table, farm to market.
We reflect the values of the international Transition Town movement while continuing to remain an "Initiating Hub" with rotating leadership. Our mailing list has grown tremendously over the past few years. You can find us online at www.tricountynytransition.weebly.com.
For Tri-County-NY Transition, Lisa Adamson, Initiator.
Woodstock NY Transition (WNYT) is evolving organically with a solid core of committed, connected members. WNYT consists of eleven self-organized working groups of various sizes and levels of activity. Representatives from each working group meet monthly to celebrate successes and support each other in challenges.
Garden Share has hosted, over the last year, lively, well-attended monthly meetings chock full of presentations and skill sharing. Now they are focusing their attention to community outreach oriented programs. Their first project is a commitment to participate to the Hudson Valley Seed Freedom Zone http://www.seedlibrary.org/blog/declaration-on-seed-freedom/. If you go to that part of the Hudson Valley Seed Library’s website, you can sign up to receive information. In their efforts to contribute, a Seed Share Library with the motto “Take, Grow, Give”, in a box containing packages of seeds, envelopes, provided by Lala Montoya and Jared Williams and seed sharing information booklets, created by Sabrina Asch, is now “planted” in the gardening/food section of the Woodstock Library. It is the first of several that they hope to place around town. READ MORE……
For Woodstock (NY) Transition, Polly Howells, Initiator.
Transition Town Media:Transition Town Media was birthed in January 2009, formed in April, became official in August, and put on its first public event in September of that year.
Our initial primary goals were to put on monthly awareness-raising events and become acquainted with as many of the local “players” in Media and environs as possible. This included the local non-profits, the Business Authority, the Arts Council, the schools and churches, and local government.
We were able to put on events nearly every month, and in the last couple of years, more than once a month. These events ranged from talks about Transition Towns and how we envisioned our future, to movies (Power of Community, Economics of Happiness, Fresh, Garbage Warrior, Occupy Love, and others), to Reskilling workshops, to talks & classes on Permaculture, home & community veggie gardens, rain barrels & rain gardens, home energy conservation & weatherization, local alternative economies, and so on. We’ve also staged Free Markets, a TimeBanking weekend (featuring Edgar Cahn and Charles Eisenstein), Gift Circles, a screening of the documentary Fixing the Future (featuring the producer, David Brancaccio), Transition Jams, Garbage Art contests, Holiday Fairs (Green Sundays featuring all handmade goods by local artists) and a Happiness Week (a week-long celebration of what really makes us happy).
For Transition Town Media, Sari Steuber, Initiator.
Transition Town State College (TTSC) had its genesis when the cost of gasoline soared to $4.00 per gallon and more (2008) with which came the realization that we have a challenged energy economy. The impact of Hurricane Katrina (2005) was in the background when it became evident that even a small reduction in petroleum production capacity, and collaterally, political uncertainty regarding the availability of petroleum from unstable parts of the world, markedly affected cost. It became clear that we needed to reduce energy dependence and to develop alternative energy resources. We had learned little from the oil crisis of the 1970s.
Searching for options we found and joined the Relocalization Network (Post Carbon Institute). This provided an excellent model for a local and grassroots response to economic and energy uncertainties. Local and grassroots seemed the best scale and context of response to an increasingly unstable world economy.
In 2008 came the publication of The Transition Handbook and the transformation of the Relocalization Network into Transition US. A group formed in Centre County, PA around discussions of The Transition Handbook in 2009.
For Transition Town State College, Bill Sharp, Initiator.
Transition Charlottesville AlbemarleCharlottesville folks started a peak oil group that became Transition Blue Ridge, which lasted from Jan. 2009 to Dec. 2009. There was a lot of focus on community growing food. After Transition Blue Ridge dispersed, there was no activity until Jan. 2011. Erik and Lindsay Curren from Transition Staunton Augusta came to speak, and 15 folks were ready to start up again. We began to meet and plan next steps. The planning group hosted Training 4 Transition (T4T) in February 2012. We were very concerned about having the training participants be reflective of the diverse population in the community. We filled a large community space with 40+ locals that fulfilled that goal of diversity. There were folks that came from other Va. locations and out of state too.
After the T4T training, Transition Charlottesville Albemarle (www.TransitionCville.org) began to hold monthly potluck community meetings at the downtown library. We've shown educational films to heighten awareness, held panel discussions with local groups specializing on topics of local concerns, and we held several meetings to spotlight other groups doing transition type activities. We held 2 meetings of a world cafe style on visioning Charlottesville and Albemarle County being a transition town. We became an official Transition Initiative. READ MORE……
For Transition Charlottesville Ablemarle, Ann Marie Honenberger, Initiator
Transition Staunton Augusta
Erik and Lindsay Curren founded Transition Staunton Augusta in January 2010 as the 61st Transition group in the United States. Later that same year they launched TransitionVoice.com, an online magazine covering peak oil, climate change and the economy. The initial launch included an interview with Transition movement co-founder Rob Hopkins, and since then the site has featured original interviews with other leading figures in the peak oil and the resilience movements, including Richard Heinberg, James Howard Kunstler and John Michael Greer as well as reviews of books and films and commentary on important developments. Erik ran unsuccessfully for the Virginia legislature in 2009 and was subsequently elected to the city council of Staunton, VA, population 24,000, in 2012.
For Transition Staunton Augusta, Erik Curren, Initiator