It’s been an eventful year for Transition Town Totnes (TTT). Changes within the team and of course, a global pandemic, made for a challenging start to 2021. Despite this, new shoots began to emerge in spring thanks to a grant secured through Transition Network’s Bounce Forward scheme, funded by the National Lottery Community Grant Fund. Funding was put towards a project designed to address the climate and ecological emergency and decide what next?
Key to the success of the project was making sure that it addressed the key issues raised by the community and those that attended the 2019 'Totnes Declares a Climate Emergency, What Next?’ event held at the Civic Hall in Totnes, a time when a climate and ecological emergency was first declared by our local town, district and county councils.
Following this meeting, a number of themes went into a big book of collective ideas that formed ‘The People’s Climate and ecological Emergency Plan for Totnes.’ TTT has picked up where this book left off and the next chapter is about to begin.
Climate Emergency What Next?
The project has been a phenomenal success catalysing four emerging projects. The biggest of which, run by a team of six volunteers and led by two Climate Emergency Champions, is working towards creating a Climate Response Centre in Totnes after it raised almost £30,000 in a Crowdfunded campaign that ran for just over four weeks this autumn.
Over 120 local people donated with 28 local businesses supporting the project by donating prizes. One supporter said;
“A climate response centre in Totnes is exactly what’s needed, we need a space where people from across the town can come together to unleash their collective genius and have the opportunity to use their skills and knowledge to respond in the best way they can. Maybe we can inspire other towns to do the same?’’
The second project is led by Helen Jacoby and Johara Bellali, who found their common ground when they conceived Mother Roots, which encompasses their passion for empowering a potent force, which they believe is at the heart of regeneration and resilience: Mothering.
Not unique to mothers, this energy is simply a way of being and doing that roots fully in the perspective of the past, present and future and holds the very real weaving of interrelationships of family, organisation, community and earth in awareness. This force is of course exemplified by mothers themselves, who by nature, carry an embodied investment in creating the best present and future possible. Many of the desires and issues faced by mothers also clearly reflect the desires and issues we face planetarily. Embracing this perspective could offer opportunities for greater balance.
The Mother Roots project explores personal experiences and societal views of ‘mothering', seeking to identify what is needed to enable this - the often neglected foundational force of much of daily life. This process can lead to a greater acknowledgement and freedom to enhance our societal resilience in facing this uncertain future.
The third project: ‘Empathy Circles,’ is still in a pilot phase. Empathy circles are pop up listening circles held in outdoor public places to enable people to express feelings and emotions around climate change in a safe space, facilitated by voluntary trained councellors and psychotherapists. So far, one circle has been held in Totnes with one participant saying;
“This is the first time I’ve been able to share how I feel about this with others, it’s been incredibly powerful.”
What’s stopping you?
The fourth project is to create a participatory public performance piece on the theme ‘What’s Stopping You’ (with regards to responding to climate emergency). The team hopes to run a performance or series of performances in spring 2022.
Transition Town Totnes (TTT) is a dynamic, community-led, and run charity that exists to build resilience and support a transition to a positive world. TTT has created, and continues to develop, initiatives being replicated around the world, and is leading the way in responding to the climate emergency.
Changing the world one street at a time.
As 2021 draws to a close, TTT is looking forward to January 2022 when its flagship and award-winning project, Transition Streets (TS) will be relaunched thanks to securing a grant of £18,000 from the Postcode Lottery. This will enable it to be rolled out to another 25 streets. It follows a successful pilot of the new scheme in 2021, in which it is estimated that individual households could save 1.3 tonnes of CO2 per year and save over £1,000.
Transition Streets (TS), first launched in 2009, is an award-winning project aimed at reducing carbon emissions and improving community well-being amongst neighbours. Participants meet on a fortnightly basis to share food and evaluate ways to make carbon and financial savings through skill sharing and group activity. In this programme, which reached 550 households, residents of Totnes and District were supported to make average savings of £570 and 1.3 tonnes CO2 per annum.
The project aims to mobilise the community to take collective action towards becoming more locally resilient and less reliant on fossil fuels. Transition Streets facilitates collective action, learning, working, and building resilience together via energy-saving activities.
In this programme groups of 6-8 households meet fortnightly to work through 8 sessions of the TS handbook which acts as a springboard for energy saving and sustainable actions, activities, and activism.
This rollout will begin in January 2022 involving new and original participants.
TTT will continue to lead on a handful of projects in 2022 that are providing local solutions to global issues, including Transition Streets, Incredible Edible, Time to Breathe, coordinated by the Inner Transition group and the Totnes Climate Hub that will soon be established in the town
Please reach out to TTT if you would like to get involved:
For more information on the work TTT is currently engaged with please see: www.transitiontowntotnes.org or sign up to the newsletter via the link on the website.