Transition Streets: How to Get Started

What is Transition Streets?

Transition Streets is a community-based project to help individual households save energy and waste right here and now. Program participants meet with their neighbors for seven sessions over a period of several months to build a sense of community on their street, and learn fun and easy ways to practice sustainable habits.

Each session is guided by a chapter of the Transition Streets Handbook. The handbook details actions, tips, and facts to empower you and your neighbors to increase your energy efficiency, cut down on waste, eat fresh and local, save money, and build a stronger community.

Want to see a Transition Streets group on your street? Awesome! Transition Streets is initiated and run by neighbors, so neighborhood leaders like you are the key to “living better together, one street at a time.”

Transition Charlottesville Albemarle has a small team of dedicated volunteers who will help you join or organize a group and get off to a good start. We can help by:

  • Publicizing Transition Streets all over town
  • Providing sample flyers, resources, and a printed handbook for each group
  • Connecting you with a volunteer Transition Street [TS] Facilitator who will answer your questions, cheer you on, and attend your first and last group meetings

Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Email streets@TransitionCville.org and tell us what neighborhood you live in. We’ll connect you with a TS Facilitator who can help with the next steps.
  2. Click here if you want to download a printable version of this Get Started guide
  3. Recruit a friend to help you organize! There’s a bit of work to do, and it’s easier with a team. If we’ve heard from someone else in your neighborhood, we’ll help you link up.
  4. Download the Transition Streets Handbook: Go to http://handbook.transitionstreets.org/get-the-handbook-transition-initiatives. For “Your Official Transition Initiative’s Name” enter Transition Charlottesville Albemarle. Your TS Facilitator will provide your group with one printed copy of the handbook.
  5. Start reaching out to your neighbors. You want a group of about 6-8 households. (See below for specific ideas.)
  6. When you have enough people ready to start, set a date for your first meeting. If folks have busy schedules, try using www.Doodle.com to send a quick survey and pick the best meeting date. Be sure to include your TS Facilitator!

transitionLaunch

How to Get Neighbors to Join Your Transition Streets Group

Pound the pavement:

  • Knock on doors and distribute flyers (Click here to download a sample flyer)
  • Talk to your neighbors! (talking points below)
  • Put up a poster on your neighborhood bulletin board
  • Get on the agenda of a neighborhood association/HOA meeting
  • Ask for a story in your neighborhood newsletter or blog
  • Distribute flyers to grocery stores, libraries, community centers, etc.
  • Distribute flyers at street fairs, farmers’ markets or other community events
  • Contact institutions with local programs (e.g. churches, senior centers)

Use social media:

  • Send invitations to neighbors that you’ve friended on Facebook
  • Try out Nextdoor.com, a private online social network for neighbors (many people in Charlottesville are already using this network)

Don’t try to do it alone:

  • Ask a friend or community leader for help
  • Recruit “block captains” to be responsible for recruiting their block
  • Ask neighbors (personally) to ask their next door neighbors
  • Host a sign-up party, barbecue, or potluck with the help of people already interested

Transition Streets Talking Points

  • Transition Streets is a community-based project to help individual households save money, conserve energy and consume fewer resources right here and now.
  • Transition Streets has been tried and tested in over 600 households in the UK & USA.
  • Transition Streets is a community partner of Energize!Charlottesville, the City’s two-year campaign to save energy as a community and win the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize.
  • Program participants meet with their neighbors for seven sessions over a period of several months to build a sense of community on their street, and learn fun and easy ways to practice sustainable habits.
  • Each session is guided by a chapter of the Transition Streets Handbook. The handbook details actions, tips, and facts to empower you and your neighbors to increase your energy efficiency, cut down on waste, eat fresh and local, save money, and build a stronger community.
  • Households save an average of $900/year on bills and expenses and reduce their household carbon emissions by an average of 1.3 tons!
  • But, the best part is getting to know your neighbors and building a more vibrant, connected, resilient and fun neighborhood!

More info

If you have any questions, or want to help us spread the word about this initiative, email us at streets@transitioncville.org or call our committee contact person Logan Blanco at 434-327-3571.

More info from Transition United States: http://transitionstreets.org/

Watch the Transition Streets video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=S94Owhn2fIM

Live better together, one street at a time!

We’re rolling out the Transition Streets program in Charlottesville. After a successful pilot of the program, a revision of the handbook, and other new resources from the Transition US team, we’re ready to bring the program to your neighborhood.

Green Grannies Performance and Press Conference

9:30am Saturday, July 18 at Charlottesville City Market, 100 E Water St.

Program coordinators will introduce Transition Streets and explain how residents can get involved. The Green Grannies choir will sing environmental songs set to familiar tunes.

Launch Party

6pm-7:30pm Wednesday, July 29 at Ecovillage Charlottesville, 480 Rio Rd. E

Join us for refreshments, info, and fun. Meet new friends, explore the Transition Streets program, and leave with all the resources you need to start or join a group in your own neighborhood!

What is Transition Streets?

Transition Streets is a community-based project to help individual households save money, energy and waste right here and now. Program participants meet with their neighbors for seven sessions over a period of several months to build a sense of community on their street, and learn fun and easy ways to practice sustainable habits.

Each session is guided by a chapter of the Transition Streets Handbook. The handbook details actions, tips, and facts to empower you and your neighbors to increase your energy efficiency, cut down on waste, eat fresh and local, save money, and build a stronger community.

Is your neighborhood ready for a change?

Join us on July 29th from 6:00PM – 7:30PM at Ecovillage Charlottesville for a launch party to learn more about the program and get the resources you’ll need to get started. You don’t need to have your other neighbors committed yet, just come out, enjoy some refreshments, learn about the program, and decide if you’re ready to start the transition.

More info

If you have any questions, or want to help us spread the word about this initiative email us at streets@transitioncville.org

More info from Transition United States: http://transitionstreets.org/

Watch the Transition Streets video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=S94Owhn2fIM

 

Neighborhood Fun at the Transition Streets Pilot Project

By Logan Blanco and Ann Mercer

Transition Streets is a grassroots, community-based project to encourage and help individual households reduce energy use and consumption right here and now. Ann and I recently had the opportunity to participate in the Transition Streets USA Pilot Project, being one of 13 groups in the US. The idea is simple: We gathered a group of eight households in our neighborhood who were willing to meet seven times over the course of a few months to talk about consuming fewer resources, saving money, and building a sense of community. The content of each meeting was guided by a workbook which includes chapters on using less energy, waste reduction, sensible water use, transportation choices and eating locally.

The experience was better than we ever imagined. We call ourselves the Little Merri Woolie Jeffs. Many of us are already recycling, composting, and watching our water use. Half of us are commuter cyclists.  Some in our group had already invested in home solar panels. We all like growing veggies and herbs.

Little Merri Woolie Jeffs

During this Pilot Project, we each took turns hosting and facilitating. We talked, learned and shared information that wouldn’t be considered small talk by any means:

“Do you flush the toilet every time or when it’s yellow let it mellow?’

“Do you shower every day?”

“Do you throw out a perfectly good washing machine for an energy saving one or wait until it breaks and then switch over?”

“Did you know that walking to IY is an option?”

“Do you know how much energy a vacuum consumes? A toaster? “

Some of us catch the cold water that precedes the hot before doing dishes or showering and using that water to flush the toilet or for watering the house plants.

Some of us use the water from rain barrels for washing hair.

One person had lots of experience in setting up rain-barrels and offered to help others.

The revelations and ideas flowed non-stop. We all had something to offer and we all had something to learn.

Then we developed and shared our personal action plans:

“We’re going to check out getting attic insulation.”

“I’m definitely getting new lights on my bike.”

“We’ve started collecting food scraps from a couple of our neighbors who haven’t been composting.”

“Shawnee and I are going to check out new water-saving toilets and the city rebate program.”

“Next time I’m missing that one essential ingredient for a recipe, I’m going to try borrowing from a neighbor instead of jumping in the car to go to the store.”

The workbook often mentioned that the Transition Streets initiative was a means of saving money. But what our group experienced was something far more. We got excited about sharing ideas and helping each other. We loved seeing other people’s houses, sharing food, and playing together. We started using the word “community” a lot. AND we chose to open up our group to other neighbors and continue meeting monthly for various neighborhood activities like garden tours, project work, social events at our local eatery the Firefly (they serve locally sourced food), community meals, and even having speakers come and talk to use on topics such as advanced directives and community emergency response training.

The plan going forward, is to get more groups of friends and neighbours to do as we did.

We had a lot of fun doing this pilot project! We not only learned how to conserve energy and consume less, which is both good for the planet as well as our wallets. We also learned how to Doodle Meetings, stay in touch with each other through the Nextdoor social networking website, and how to create a more connected, resilient, and fun neighborhood!

Transition Streets is an initiative of the Transition movement, a world-wide, vibrant, grassroots movement that seeks to build community resilience in the face of such challenges as climate change, resource depletion and economic instability.   www.transitionus.org

Transition Streets Charlottesville is being coordinated through Transition Cville, our local Transition Town organization offering monthly pot-luck gatherings, skill-sharing workshops, and a local Transition newsletter. www.transitioncville.org

Transition Streets is also one of several community partner involved in the Energize Charlottesville project: Charlottesville is one of 50 communities that have been selected to compete for the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a national $5 million competition to rethink the way American communities use energy. Let’s do it! www.energizecharlottesville.org

Transition Streets will launch soon in Charlottesville and Albemarle. Want to learn more? Please email streets@transitioncville.org.

TCA Women’s Resilience Retreat

Womens_RetreatCome walk together as we rejuvenate, strengthen our resilience, and fire up our creativity in these changing times. We’ll provide time for laughter, contemplation, and opportunities to learn more about living lightly on the earth. Enjoy a fire circle, drumming, story-telling, conscious breathing, and more!

Transition Charlottesville Albemarle’s Women’s Resilience Retreat
Friday evening, Sept. 19 through Saturday evening, Sept. 20
@ EcoVillage Charlottesville, 480 E. Rio Road.

Rejuvenation * Skill Share * Meditation * Empowerment * New Friends

Sign up or find more information on Facebook or contact Joanie Freeman at 434-987-1026 or freemanjoanie@gmail.com

$45 for campers/$60 for inside accommodations


Please join us




Green Building Extreme: Meet Charlottesville’s Recycled House

Recycled House ExteriorDebra began with an old outbuilding she was curious about renovating and renting out.  When that plan fell through she decided to recycle the beautiful, aged materials into a new structure.  Before long she was collecting scrap and second had materials from all over town: beams from demolished buildings, scrap materials from countertop builders, knick-knacks and furniture from eBay and auctions. All these materials, along with a bit of creativity, make a stunningly beautiful and unique addition to the city of Charlottesville.

The Recycled House teaches us an important lesson: that reducing, reusing, and recycling does not mean living with less.  Its construction certainly took time, effort, creativity, and patience, but the result is a beautiful house and home that will be treasured by all those living in and around it.  When modern architecture provides so many examples of ugly, utilitarian department stores, cookie-cutter homes, and other throw-away structures, the Recycled House stands out as a real gem.  Imagine if our whole city was built with this love, care, and attention.  And it all started with one ordinary home-owner with a dream.

See the full tour at the Recycled House Website.

Recycled House StoveRecycled House KitchenRecycled House Patio

Ecovillage “Coming Out” Party a Huge Success

A perfect sunset crowned the hill over the Lochlyn House last night as it hosted Ecovillage Charlottesville’s “Coming Out” party.  Situated at 480 East Rio Road, the Lochlyn House property was recently purchased to serve as the future home of Charlottesville’s very first ecovillage.  The event included tours of the property, a presentation by the newly formed Ecovillage Board, a sumptuous dessert bar, and lively conversation amongst all the guests.

Ecovillage board presentation

The Charlottesville Ecovillage Board presents to a full house. Community members from all walks of life attended the meeting to express interest and support the project.

The event celebrated all that had been accomplished in the two months since work on the property began. Volunteers have been busy cleaning, furnishing, decorating, and planting to help realize their dream of a Charlottesville ecovillage.  The Lochlyn house is the main house on the property and will serve as a bed and breakfast (to raise funds for the ecovillage) as well as a community  space for meetings, house concerts, parties, and workshops.  Downhill from the Lochlyn House lies a smaller cottage which will serve as a Healthy Living Center, offering classes and workshops in meditation, yoga, nutrition, parenting, and much more.

Community members touring the property.

Community members tour the property of the future Charlottesville Ecovillage.

Within five years the board hopes for dwellings to be well underway and for residents to have moved into the community.  For those living there, the ecovillage will serve as a safe and supporting space in which to practice a different kind of lifestyle; one that is intentional, sustainable, and ecologically and socially regenerative.  But don’t think this is just another neighborhood. The board members all make it perfectly clear: Ecovillage Charlottesville has a critical role to play in the community if we are to face the converging crises of our time.

We’re all aware of the unprecedented problems we face: economic collapse, climate change, and resource scarcity.  By ourselves these problems are unsolvable and all too many of us react by simply ignoring them.  Even our politicians are at a loss and encourage us to simply “keep on shopping”.  But these problems are solvable!  It won’t be an easy road, but by working together, pooling our collective genius and offering each other support along the way, we can start addressing these problems and building a better world.  Ecovillage Charlottesville will serve as a laboratory for exploring sustainable living and as an emotional haven to support us as we leave behind our individualistic and high-consumption lifestyle.  What happens there is only the beginning, as the lessons learned, techniques developed, and friendships made extend into the wider Charlottesville community.

Getting Involved

The supportive, communal, and collaborative spirit which characterizes the Ecovillage was in full swing last night.  People from all walks of life came together to meet one another, make new friends, and support a shared dream.  You too can join that dream!  There are many ways to get involved:

  • Attend the ecovillage’s weekly work parties.  Work starts every Sunday at 1:30pm and ends with a potluck dinner at 5:00pm.
  • Lend your talents.  The Ecovillage is looking for hands and minds skilled in:
    • Communications, Networking, and Marketing
    • Architecture, Engineering, and Design
    • Financial and Legal Management
    • Organizational Development, Facilitation and Mediation, and Group Process
    • Fundraising
    • Strategic Planning
    • Education
    • Event Organizing
  • Join the board (more details coming soon).
  • Visit the ecovillage, schedule your next meeting there, or come for a picnic.
  • Spread the word!  Tell your friends and family about this exciting opportunity coming to Charlottesville.

To contact the Ecovillage you can email them at ecovillagecville@gmail.com or visit them on Facebook.  To schedule an events, contact Joanie Freeman at 434-987-1026.

A Texan tragedy: ample oil, no water

Across the south-west, residents of small communities like Barnhart are confronting the reality that something as basic as running water, as unthinking as turning on a tap, can no longer be taken for granted.

Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry’s outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/aug/11/texas-tragedy-ample-oil-no-water

Strong message from Sierra Club against KXL

This is the strongest message that the Sierra Club has issued against the Keystone XL pipeline. The article goes through each point and details the issues. A good read.

http://sierraclub.typepad.com/compass/2013/08/inspector-general-to-investigate-keystone-xl-house-of-cards.html

Report: As coal declines, efficiency on the rise

Efficiency appears to be the only way for us to win the battle of keeping our planet from getting too hot! We do not appear to be able to convince our local power companies to develop clean energy, even though the costs are about the same as the costs of using coal.

More information can be found here:
http://www.midwestenergynews.com/2013/07/10/report-as-coal-declines-efficiency-on-the-rise/
 

 

Study Finds Methane Contaminated Wells Near Fracking Sites

Looks like we are getting more data about the real dangers of fracking. Additionally the US Bureau of Land Management has decided to use the standards written by ExxonMobil and supported by ALEC.

Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/06/29/study-finds-methane-contaminated-wells-near-fracking-sites/#uR1rZo3Im65qThCg.99