Story of Transition Streets

From Transition Town Totnes to Neighborhoods Across the US

Transition Streets was launched by Transition Town Totnes, UK in 2009. Since then, more than 550 households in the Totnes area have participated in the program, 38% of them with low disposable incomes. Transition Streets has proven very successful in Totnes, with households cutting their bills by an average of $900/year and reducing their carbon emissions by 1.3 tons. Just as important are the side benefits: neighbors get to know each other and glimpse what a low-carbon future could look like in their neighborhood.

In response to grassroots demand for a program like Transition Streets in the US, Transition US began exploring what it would take to adapt the Transition Streets curriculum to the US context. We were excited about the possibility of a neighborhood-scale project with clear, simple actions and measurable outcomes that also saves money and builds social bonds between neighbors. We realized we would need a lot of support from the US Transition network to make it happen!

It Takes a Village

During July and August, 2014, Transition US with several Transition Initiatives ran a successful crowdfunding campaign and together raised $8,410 to bring Transition Streets to the US. With that seed funding we were able to pay for the advanced editing of the curriculum and a bit of staff time to help support the national rollout of the project. See below for a list of the many partners and contributors who made it possible for Transition US to bring Transition Streets to the US.

In October 2014, we hosted a teleseminar “Sneak Peek” of the Transition Streets curriculum featuring Mary Popham, one of the initiators of Transition Streets in Totnes, as well as our team of expert editors. You can listen to the teleseminar recording or view the accompanying presentation.

In January 2015, fourteen communities began “piloting” Transition Streets. These groups have created quite the a buzz! Check out local news coverage of Transition Streets in Bozeman, MT; Albany, CA; Newburyport, CA; and San Diego, CA (television and radio).

In addition, each pilot group provided valuable feedback on the curriculum and shared lessons learned for how to successfully engage neighbors and implement the Transition Streets program. The organizers of six of the pilot groups shared their experiences and tips in a teleseminar on May 14, 2015 (listen to the recording here).

Transition US collected and incorporated input from pilot groups into a revised version of the curriculum, which will soon be available to the public at www.transitionstreets.org.

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process of collaborating closely with the US Transition network to make this project possible, and look forward to building on this momentum to Transition countless neighborhoods across the country. We hope you will join us!

     

THANK YOU to everyone who is helping bring Transition Streets to life!

Special thanks to the incredible Elana Gurney for her design & marketing advice and for creating the new Transition Streets website! (Coming soon to www.transitionstreets.org). Thank you to the participants in our Transition Streets Hackathon, who helped create the messaging, design, and structure for the new Transition Streets website (check out the Hackathon photo album here), and to Heather Phillips of SmallActsCount.org for compiling the Transition Streets Outreach Guide.

Transition Leaders from across the country contributed to the design and implementation of the Transition Streets crowdfunding campaign. Members of this hosting team include:

  • Ben Beyeler & Phil Metzler of Transition Goshen, IN
  • Margo Duesterhaus & the Transition Howard County team,  MD
  • Mark Juedeman of Transition Houston, TX
  • Jessica Cohodes & Ann Hippensteel & the Transition Milwaukee team, WI
  • Susan Silber & Linda Currie of Transition Berkeley, CA
  • Catherine Sutton of Transition Albany, CA

We also want to acknowledge these extraordinary individuals that contributed valuable input for the crowdfunding campaign: Tom Conlon (Transition Sonoma Valley, CA), Rennie Fountain (Transition Schenectady, NY), Don Hall (Transition Sarasota, FL), Eunice Lemacher (Tricounty Transition, SC), Devin Quince (Transition Longmont, CO), and Kristina Zill (Transition Catskills, NY).

Thank you to the sponsors of the crowdfunding campaign, including:

P3 International for  providing energy and water meters to our campaign (they have lots of other products too – so check them out!), Clarence Eckerson  of Streetfilms for the gift of his brilliant Moving Beyond the Automobile DVDs, Mark Shain who offered a week’s stay at his inspiring Peaks Island Mico Farm - a Permaculture haven in Maine, Chris Prelitz for two-nights at his Permaculture-and Natural-building- inspired  Laguna Beach home, Steven Donaldson for his two-night stay in a Sierra Mountains cabin, Ben Beyeler for the recording help, Cecile Andrews and Trathen Heckman – first just for being the inspiring visionaries that they are – and second for offering TeleSeminars on their heart’s work. Also hearty thanks to Jeanna Collet for her anglelic song, Post Carbon Institute for their Community Resilience Guides, Indigenous Designs for their gift certificates for organic, fair trade clothing, and to Christopher Shein of Wildheart Gardens for The Vegetable Gardener's Guide to Permaculture books.

And thank you to the content experts who adapted the Transitin Streets curriculum for a US audience, including:

Jon Freise brings an engineer's problem solving perspective to the coming energy transition. He enjoys learning and sharing ideas and innovations for powering down our need for fossil fuels. Jon has written articles for The Oil Drum on natural gas supplies and EROeI (energy returned on energy invested). Jon's pre-transition career has focused on robotics and the design of commercial color printers. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science. Jon edited and adapted the Energy Chapter of Transition Streets.

Tim Wulling is a retired electrical engineer whose interest in home energy performance started in the late 1970's, lapsed during the '90s and has been a major interest since then. He is among the core group who leads the effort to make their St. Paul neighborhood Transition Town All Saint Anthony Park – Transition ASAP. Tim helped edit the Energy Chapter of Transition Streets.

Matthew Freiberg completed his Master's Degree at UCSB's Bren School of Environmental Science and Management where he specialized in Water Resources Management. Since then, he has worked in Natural Resources Management in the Non-Profit, Government, and Private Sectors. Currently Matthew is with Toeroek Associates, as an Environmental Scientist/Analyst, where he works with the Federal EPA to build cases against companies liable for the remediation of Super Fund Sites. Outside of work, Matthew, along with his wife Femke Oldham, co-chair the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition's Water Working Group. Matthew edited the Water Chapter of Transition Streets.

Diana Donlon is the Director of the Cool Foods Campaign at Center for Food Safety (CFS), a national non-profit public interest organization. Cool Foods offers hope on climate by empowering the public to make the critical connection between everyday food choices and climate change. Before coming to work for CFS, Diana worked for a variety of family foundations supporting youth and sustainable agriculture programs and was one of the founders of Roots of Change, a state-wide collaborative transitioning California to a healthy food system by 2030. Diana edited and adapted the Food Chapter of Transition Streets.

Devi Peri, a CA credentialed teacher, was for 8 years the Education Specialist at Marin Recycling for Marin Sanitary Service in San Rafael.  Devi gave tours of the entire operation, showing people of all ages, and especially school students on field trips, what happened to the stuff they tossed in their garbage or recycling cans.  She also presented school assemblies about the 4 R’s of waste reduction and worked in the schools helping them start or improve recycling and compost programs at the school. Devi edited and adapted the Waste Chapter of Transition Streets.

Sandra Hamlat has a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Economics and Policy with over 10 years experience in the environmental planning field. She is also one of the co-founders of the world's largest open streets program and has served on the board of directors of Bike East Bay (formerly the East Bay Bicycle Coalition) for the last three years. Sandra edited the Transportation Chapter of Transition Streets.

Thank you to Sarah Zenger for her editing with the early version of the Transition Streets curriculum and to Marissa Mommaerts for her careful compilation and proofing of edits.

And to all the Transition groups that are poised, supportive and ready to roll the Transition Streets out in their communities.  Thank you!

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