Portland ME – October 2013

Take a look at this photo. It’s small local butcher shop, right?

Sticker Shock


Look more closely and you’ll see – it’s actually a sticker stuck on an abandoned building. The repeating identical hams give it away.

Rob Hopkins began the talks on his US tour with arresting image. Rob, the founder of the international Transition movement, found this “sticker economy” shot in the Irish town of Belcoo, which was anticipating a visit from the G8. To impress the dignitaries, Belcoo literally papered over its crumbling local economy. The irony is overwhelming: after all, local economies are crumbling because of groups like the G8.

But Rob points out that there’s a reason that sticker didn’t portray a Walmart – no one wants to look at that. Even fancy dignitaries want to look the signs of a vibrant local economy.

But how do we build these economies? How do we scrap the stickers, and do the real thing?

Transition Regional Gathering, Portland ME, Oct 5 2013

Transition Regional Gathering, Portland ME, Oct 5 2013

The Transition movement has inspired hundreds of people all over the world to do just this. Along with resilience building efforts of many stripes, Transition Initiatives are shopping local, growing food, finding sources of local energy, and reconnecting with their neighbors. They’re fighting climate change and preparing their neighborhoods for emergencies. They’re creating local, living economies.

Transitioners Enjoy Lunch at the Oct 5 Gathering

Transitioners Enjoy Lunch at the Oct 5 Gathering

And these groups are connecting with each other. The day after Rob’s stop in Portland, ME, 120 people from across New England stuck around to talk to the real experts in community resilience: each other. It was a great meeting of the minds, hearts and spirits, as people shared stories, inspired each other, and met in Open Space to discuss topics as varied as creating a vision of New England-wide resilience, to the use of livestock for carbon sequestration.

This was the third such New England-wide gathering of Transition and Resilience groups. Conversations are continuing, and people will meet again in Keene, NH in the winter or spring (sign up in the blue box to the right to get updates).

For more on Rob’s thoughts about revitalizing the economy, check out the excellent white paper he co-authored with Asher Miller of the Post Carbon Institute, “Climate after Growth.”

Rob’s Stop in Jamaica Plain

Rob Hopkins and Peter Lipman of the Transition Network also stopped by Jamaica Plain, Boston, as part of their US tour. Rob and Peter spoke at a packed breakfast hosted by local leaders and then went on the “New Economy Walking Tour” in JP led by Orion Kriegman and Chuck Collins. Rob later reflected on his blog that JP NET is an “exciting manifestation of Transition.” Check out the pics above, and stay tuned for a full post from Rob dedicated to JP NET.

See documents from the Portland gathering here.

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