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.

April 14: Tell Dominion to Stop Polluting Our Climate & Our Democracy!

From Glen Besa, VA Sierra Club –

WHAT: Protest against Dominion and its ALEC partners outside VA Chamber of Commerce “Dirty Energy” Conference. Bring your signs, banners and props.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 148:00 AM to 9:30 AM, as participants are entering the conference.

WHERE: On the sidewalk outside the Richmond Convention Center, E. Marshall and N. 5th Street (500 E Marshall St, Richmond, VA 23219)

RSVP HERE-Let us know you’re coming!

energy protestBACKGROUND:

Dominion Resources doesn’t just pollute our air, water, and climate. The company pollutes our politics too.  And it’s not acting alone. Dominion is a member/supporter of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), as are two other big Virginia coal-burning carbon polluters—Appalachian Power/AEP and the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) (through its participation in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association).

Join us Tuesday April 14 at 8 AM to Demonstrate Against Dominion and its ALEC partners outside the VA Chamber of Commerce’s Orwellian-named “Energy and Sustainability” Conference.  A conference panel discussion on the EPA Clean Power Plan includes representatives from ALEC supporters Dominion, AEP and ODEC and no clean energy representatives.  When coal-burning ALEC supporters dominate a conference on sustainability, it’s time for the people to stand up and say “enough.”

As the biggest corporate political campaign donor to Virginia Republicans and Democrats alike, Dominion can rely on a majority of state legislators to vote the company’s way.  Dominion’s and ALEC’s hands are evident on the recent amendment to the new state ethics bill that would allow big polluters to fly legislators around on private planes to ALEC conferences and other events while excusing the politicians from even reporting the gifts in some instances.

As long as Dominion can buy our decision-makers, it can keep building dirty energy projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (and new gas generating plants to justify it).  Dominion’s electricity generation plans provide for a 30% increase in carbon pollution over the next 15 years. And that doesn’t count methane releases from the company’s growing fracked gas transmission and distribution operations.

As an ALEC member, Dominion supports Koch brothers-financed efforts to deny climate change, block EPA action on climate, and support voter suppression of young people, minorities, and the elderly. Visit http://vasierraclub.org/2015/02/the-people-vs-dominion/ for more details.

Dominion’s energy plans are Too Risky and Too Costly for Virginia! But driven by short term profits, arrogance and greed, Dominion CEO Thomas Farrell is pursuing a massive new fracked gas pipeline, new gas power plants and a new nuclear reactor near an active earthquake fault line.  Dominion continues to block independent energy efficiency, solar and wind investments, touting its own small, token clean energy projects while it invests heavily in new dirty energy facilities.

Join us April 14, when Sierra Club and other groups gather outside the Richmond Convention Center to make some noise!  We will be demonstrating against Dominion and its ALEC partners outside the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s “Dirty Energy” Conference where Virginia’s biggest polluters will be inside trashing the US EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Glen Besa, Director
Sierra Club-Virginia Chapter
422 E. Franklin St, Suite 302
Richmond, VA 23219

glen.besa@sierraclub.org

P-804-387-6001

F-804-225-9114

http://vasierraclub.org/

Pop-up Clothesline Party for “Fire Your Dryer” Initiative

Lorrie with her clotheslineLet it all hang out at Transition C’ville’s Pop-up Clothesline Party!  Firing our dryer is about more than reducing our carbon footprint.  Using a clothesline cuts our energy bill, gives us time to spend outside and socialize with out neighbors, and gives us wonderful sun-kissed sheets.  Join us this Friday on the downtown mall to celebrate and promote the simple joy of line-drying our clothes.  We’ll have a juggling unicyclists, the wonderful Green Granny choir, Better World Betty, clothespin games for kids, laundry soap making, and an umbrella clothesline raffle.  The event will take place 5-7pm near the downtown fountain (near Zocalo and the future Landmark Hotel).  Drop by and discover how easy it is to harness free, renewable energy!

Special thanks to Charlottesville Earth Week for co-sponsoring this event.

 

Help Bring New Power to the Old Dominion!

By Whitney Byrd, Wise Energy for VA Coalition

VA clean collage

For years, the Wise Energy for Virginia (WEFV) Coalition has been advocating for clean energy here in the Old Dominion. We need policies that move Virginia away from a dependence on dirty fossil fuels and embrace the promise of energy efficiency and renewable sources like wind and solar.

After a major victory in stopping what would have been largest coal plant in the state, the WEFV Coalition shifted focus to bringing clean energy solutions to Virginia. The campaign is called “New Power for the Old Dominion” and it’s coming soon to a town near you.

  • September 10, Richmond
  • September 12, Charlottesville – 7pm at The Southern, 103 S. 1st St.
  • October 3, Wise County
  • October 16, Hampton
  • (Plus pending dates in Roanoke and Northern Virginia; all times and locations TBD)

Wise Energy kicked off this statewide campaign to educate Virginians from all walks of life about the benefits of shifting to clean energy — including the protection of our mountains, cleaner air and water, new jobs for Virginians, and mitigating the effects of climate change. Wise Energy has a new website with stories of Virginia citizens and businesses who are tapping into clean energy, and a pledge drive for Virginians to add their voice to the call for New Power for the Old Dominion.

The presentations will outline where Virginia currently gets its electricity and the pitfalls of relying on large fossil fuel power plants, which run for 40- to 50-years and are vulnerable to volatile fuel (coal and oil) prices. The presentation will explain why this business model has proven to be so profitable for utilities, and is favored by existing laws and regulations. The program will describe a new direction for Virginia, where investments in energy efficiency and solar and wind power save consumers money, protect human health and the environment, and create jobs.

Most importantly, Wise Energy invites citizens like you to get involved in making these changes in your community and across the state. Wise Energy will be road-tripping around the commonwealth for the next several months, giving the presentation at churches, civic clubs and other community meetings. (Let Wise Energy know if YOU want to schedule one in your community. Email whitney @ wiseenergyva.org)

More information: NewPower4VA.org

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/