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Where next for Transition Town Westcliff?

On the evening of Wednesday 17th September Transition Town Westcliff held an event at Southend Library designed to reflect upon our first half year of existence as well as think about future directions for the project.

We opened with a slide show by Graham Burnett that looked at the history of TTW. Based on the presentation he had previously given at Los Angeles Eco Village, this gave a brief overview of the twin issues of peak oil and climate change before looking more closely at the beginnings and achievements made thus far in Westcliff, as well as the many existing projects and initiatives that are already modeling potential positive, sustainable and resilient futures. TTW was then placed into a wider context of the national (and international) Transition Movement such as Transition Town Totness and Transition Town Brixton, two very different areas that are facing very different challenges in very different ways, yet both living embodiments of Vanada Shiva’s quote that “the uncertainty of our times is no reason to be certain about hopelessness”. Finally the question was posed, “Where do we want to go next?”

After a short break for refreshments, Kamil introduced the ‘Board Game’ method of participatory consultation, going around the room and asking each person in turn “What would this project need to achieve to make your participation 100% worthwhile?” Replies tended to be focussed around both the development of Transition Town Westcliff (especially our need to get more people on board in order to increase our capacity and effectiveness) as well as broader visions for a low carbon future for the town.

Unfortunately due to the time constraints of only having the library space for two hours we were not able to move onto the next stage of the exercise, which would have involved developing a time-line in order to work out the next achievable steps that would be involved in turning these visions into reality. It was also slightly disappointing, although understandable, that despite plenty of outreach by Kamil to various local environmental and community groups we did not have a greater attendance.

Our event also clashed with a hastily convened public meeting that had been called in response to Southend Borough Council’s recently announced plans to expand Rochford Airport over the next few years (not least of the direct consequences of which will be the destruction of the gem that is St Laurence’s traditional orchard, which would seem to be in contravention of the councils own Bio-Diversity Action Plan), and we received a number of apologies from folks who wanted to be at our event but felt this to be a priority.

Despite these limiting factors, we were able to generate plenty of material in terms of a ‘vision’ for a post-transitional Westcliff, including;

– a 5 h working week
– educated children for a sustainable life style
– sustainability as mainstream – the NORM
– educate adults
– a safe and clean Wos
– an improvement in children and parents mental health
– sharing of information on sustainable issues, experience + technology
– us celebrating those little things along the way!
– us meeting more and more nice people and get them to come to us
– inclusion of socially deprived areas and groups
– us and everyone learning food skills
– linking us with other green groups – mutual
– publication and spreading of the message
– building capacity for the movement
– creation of a lively, abundant community
– Wos where/which people want to die

Once again we made valuable links and connections, including with Fresh Horizons in Ditton Court Road, who have offered to host a follow up session to this event on the 15th October. See you there!

More photos from this event

3 Responses

  1. This is inspirational! thank you for this valuable information. I am here thinking about all the possibilities for involvement. I am founder of Emerge- an inclusive creative and performing arts community.
    Emerge has cultivated a platform for community’s particiption in local projects and events, that combine and blend together
    arts & environment in fun, informative and engaging ways. We look forwards to attending your next meeting and are heartened by what you have achieved thus far. Donna Fallowes.

  2. think you may know my dear friend jo from Leeds who is part of similar organisation there. my partner is an environmental scientist and manages large scale projects converting landfill sites into sustainable public access wild landscapes. i myself am an artist. i am at this stage curious to know more of what it is you do and if we may be included on any level…we are a busy working family but am curious….thankyou..isabel.

  3. […] Where next for Transition Town Westcliff? […]

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