The significance of Transition

May 2014 will mark the second anniversary of my first being elected Leader of Transition Town Berkhamsted.  It was and is a huge honour to be chosen for the post.  If I am elected again this year, it will be my final year in the post, as I have said that three years is the longest anyone should be Leader.  With that in mind, I want to ensure that the organisation is in as good a shape as I can before I make way for the next person, and so there are some conditions to my accepting any nomination this time around.

I believe that the work of Transition Towns over the planet is vital.

Not only does it allow us to break away from the malaise or frustration brought on from watching politicians convening to fritter away our future: it also means taking the necessary steps at home and in our towns to address the issues of climate change, resource depletion and inequality.

On a more pessimistic note, it means preparing for and safe-guarding against the potential collapse in society and our wellbeing that could result from these global issues, as we build local energy and food sources.

But the challenge is huge.  The number of people actively taking steps towards a positive future is small compared with the number who are carrying on, hedonistically but unknowingly doing everything they can to hasten the worst outcomes.

Over the past two years we have achieved an awful lot, with huge and important contributions from a number of different people.  With first the Positive Money talk with Fran Boait, and then the Ashlyns Lectures, we have established a method of putting on talks and attracting internationally renowned speakers that has allowed us to fund other activity.  The B-Hive has led to us raising our profile in the town, talking individually to over a thousand different people and garnering close links with local government and other groups, organisations and businesses.  There have been some gigantic steps on transport as well, from the edges of Transition, with the Safer Routes to Schools work.

This all feeds into our strategy of building community, linking groups in the town and pushing towards a widely adopted town plan that contains sustainability and resilience at its heart.

But, if we are to have any meaningful impact, we need to scale up towards critical mass.  The only way we can be successful is if we work together as a strong team, community and group of friends.  And that doesn’t mean one Leader upon which everyone can rely.

So, if I am to be Leader for 2014/15, I’m listing here what will need to be in place for me to accept any nomination.  Please discuss amongst yourselves to make sure it is all covered – you have under 8 weeks until the AGM (on 15 May).  Otherwise, I would be happy if someone else would like to put themselves forward as Leader.  Failing that, we will see how the organisation functions without a Leader in post.

On its own, this won’t be anywhere near enough to make the seismic changes we need.  But it is the minimum.

What I need:

  •          The Leader position will be renamed Chair, or some other piece of furniture that doesn’t imply being sat on comfortably.  It needs to be a consensus team effort and Leader goes against that in my view.
  •          At least one person needs to say that they would be happy to be Chair from May 2016, barring changes in circumstances.  This will allow us to transition.
  •          We need to share out the jobs.  That means the following roles need to be filled, with committed, enthusiastic people.  Details of the roles are available by following the links.  Most of this is covered at the moment already, but there are some gaps.  Above all, common sense will need to be applied.

o   Membership (currently Claire Mistry), Website / Facebook Administrator (currently shared between Marion Baker and Claire Mistry), Newsletter / Digest (new), Communications / Forum (new), Finance & Funding (currently Emma Norrington), Publicity (currently Bex Plenderleith), Ashlyns Lectures Co-ordinator (new) and Planning Socials / Inner Transition (new) plus points of contact for Energy, Food and Transport.

It might be preferable that a group of people pick up each role, so don’t be put off by one aspect.  Having said that, one person could do an entire role, or one person could even do more than one of them.  We can of course discuss if you would like to change anything – just get in touch.

I don’t intend on bashing people over the head with the role descriptions: I’m just looking to share the leadership responsibilities.  I do reserve the right to have what might become known as the “dreaded quiet word” now and again, though.

  •          We need to show that we are a buoyant organisation with dedicated members.  8 people need to commit to putting the dates of the Green Drinks in their diaries for the year of June 2014 to May 2015, and to prioritise holding the date, barring disaster.
  •          The Forum concept is the right one for communication, as it allows inclusivity; being selective as to what you read; and for structured conversation.  10 people need to commit to using the forum for all communication on Transition Town Berkhamsted, other than confidential discussion, but including information relating to activity tangentially related to TTB.  Note that the Communications role includes training people on the use of the forum and improving its usability.  Please reply to this topic on the forum if you are happy to be one of those 10 people.

I’ve added a new page to my website to keep track of these criteria being met.  I will not be chasing around to make sure that they are – that is up to you.

John Bell

Ordinary Bloke



1 thought on “The significance of Transition

  1. Pingback: Where am I? Coo-ee! | John Bell vs Climate Change (currently 15,147-33 to Climate Change)

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