Quadra Island Transition Initiative
Here are the commonly-accepted twelve steps towards developing a transition town, adapted to our community and with Quadra Island's progress noted.
12 Steps to Transition
- Quadra Island's Progress
1: Start a temporary steering group
The initial steering committee should nurture the initiative through to Step 5 and then disband, with members joining the new sub-committees overseeing the implementation of the essential transition pillars.
Community members with expertise in the following areas are required for the steering committee: food production & distribution, waste management, energy generation & conservation, education, youth, economics, transportation, water supply & management and local government.
2: Raise awareness
This stage will identify and communicate with stakeholder groups, key allies, build community networks and prepare the community in general for the launch of the transition initiative.
3: Lay foundations
A strong foundation will be built with existing groups and activists, in a way to incorporate and acknowledge previous efforts, achievements and future input. Together we will encourage the community to embrace the inevitability of a post-peak-oil future, explore solutions and to begin thinking about grassroots mitigation strategies.
4: Unveil the Quadra Island Transition Initiative
With co-operation and input from all stakeholders we will define and execute a milestone event or project to mark the project's "coming of age", moving it right into the community at large. This will build momentum to propel the transition initiative forward and celebrates the community's desire to take action.
5: Formation of Pillar-Groups
Once the Transition Initiative is underway and the ideas communicated to the community it is time for action. Several smaller groups will be needed to focus on specific aspects of the process. Expertise will be needed in these areas: food, waste, energy, education, youth, economics, transport, water, local government.
The goal of each group is to build community resilience and reducing our carbon footprint. The solutions developed will form the basis of the Energy Descent Action Plan.
6: Use Open Space
Open Space Technology can be a highly effective approach to running meetings for Transition Town initiatives.
In theory it ought not to work. A large group of people comes together to explore a particular topic or issue, with no agenda, no timetable, no obvious coordinator and no minute takers.
This may not sound like a typical meeting on Quadra Island (or maybe it does!) but the shifts required during transition are not easily adopted and a free-flowing forum like Open Space has been found in other transition initiatives to be ideal for moving effectively through, what for many is, a challenging period of change.
7: Develop goals with concrete results
As soon as possible the initiative will aim to create practical, high visibility manifestations of transition in our community. These will significantly enhance people's perceptions of the project and also their willingness to participate. Ideally projects will demonstrate visible progress, without embarking on tangents that will ultimately have no place on the Energy Descent Action Plan.
8: Facilitate labour-force re-skilling
We are going to need many of the skills that our grandparents took for granted and we will need to call on them to teach us.
Examples are: repairing, cooking, bicycle maintenance, natural building techniques, loft insulation, dyeing, herbal plants, gardening, basic home energy efficiency, making sourdoughs, practical food growing (the list is endless). Some of these skills will be needed by everyone in their homes but some will potentially lead to marketable business and/or job opportunities.
9: Bridge to Local Government
Ultimate success of our Transition Town initiative will require a positive and productive relationship with the Strathcona regional District. They have expertise and authority over many areas such as: planning issues, funding issues and liasing with higher levels of government. Ideally the energy descent plan will eventually take the same level of importance and role in local planning as the Official Community Plan (OCP). For that to happen the participation of the Regional District is essential. However it is important to note that teh transition initiative will not be looking for the Regional District to drive the process. To ensure success transition must come from the grassroots of the community.
10: Honour elders
People weren't always driving from one end of Quadra Island to the other several times a day, let alone to Victoria or across the province. The transition to the age of Cheap Oil took place between 1930 and 1960 and we need to hear and understand the benefits and opportunities of both sides of this period from our elders who lived through it.
Making a transition to preparedness for post-peak-oil isn't 'going back' or 'returning' to some dim distant past. It is about embracing and blending the best of a 'simpler time' with the wonderful new technology we have today. Many of the tools and toys we use on a daily or even hourly basis now could easily become useless without adapting. Our parents and grandparents can help us understand how to reconnect with a way of life that is healthier and far more practical than the one we are pursuing.
11: See how it develops
The focus of a transition initiative is on the key design criteria – building community resilience and reducing our carbon footprint. While there are already many examples of how communities around the world are aiming toward that goal the path for each is different. We know our Quadra Island community is special, in many ways unique. There is no doubt the collective genius of our community will enables feasible, practicable and highly inventive solutions to emerge but there needn't be a rigid set of rules. Instead in perfect island-style we can let the transition initiative just go-with-the-flow and see where it takes us.
12: Create an Energy Descent Plan
The practical actions to increase community resilience and reduce our carbon footprint taken by the Pillar-Groups will combine to form the Energy Descent Action Plan. This plan will gather the collective genius of the community to design our own future, taking into account the potential threats and opportunities presented by Peak Oil and Climate Change. It may take 10 or 20 years to reach a suitable level of self-sufficiency and resiliance and every step along the way will have challenges and rewards. The vision is a truly sustainable community on Quadra Island.
These 12 Steps are explained in more depth at the Transition Network read more here>
But how can we make something so complicated work?
The Transition Network 7 answers to common objections.
Have questions? Like to get involved?
Contact the Quadra Island Transition Initiative .