Meet the Transition Towns of the Mid-Atlantic Region
Wilmington in TransitionHow 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!
Transition Howard CountyTransition 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……
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.
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.
ECBR has been recycling and donating bikes, and sharing skills for almost a year in space donated by The Edison Tech Center. 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.
In addition to robust ongoing projects, 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……
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.
Town State College,
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……
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.
Tags: Mid-Atlantic, Resilience-building, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, New York City, Maryland, Baltimore, Philadelphia , Transition Towns, Pennsylvania, Regional Transition Organizing, localization , relocalization, Virgina, Mid-Atlantic Region, Wilmington