Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Minutes of Transition Town Meeting

Saturday 27th September

Present: Rachel (independent facilitator), Bear, Ian, Christina, Ian, Joanna, Ant, Jason, Ann, Helen, Helene, Hazel, Hazel, Anna, Jans, Kate, Rachel, Natja, Ella, Lizzie, Sarah, Keith, Kath, Ben, Rod.

Item 1 – Introduction and welcome.
Bear introduced the purpose of the meeting (see agenda) and general housekeeping.

Item 2 – Basket of Stuff.
Rachel explained her role as facilitator and introduced first task where people chose one item from a basket of random stuff which they identified with transition towns, sustainability or community.
The purpose of this was to give people the opportunity to talk about their passion as they then
explained why they had chosen that item to a small group of people and then everybody. Themes included food sustainability, direct action, diversity, ideas and energy, toilet waste and working collectively, social and political justice and engagement (both local and international), trust, local resources, patterns in the universe, processes and the processed, how to fall off a cliff gracefully together like a waterfall, land issues, holistic holding environment, the beauty of what is and the beauty of the process, plastic's not fantastic, reskilling and reorganising our roads for bikes.

Item 3 – Consensus Decision Making
The concept of consensus decision making was explained the main point being that we reach a point where we all agree enough to a proposal to agree to it by making the choice to either agree; to stand aside (a person who does not want to block the process but wants to raise certain concerns); or to block the proposal on the basis of some moral objection. It was suggested that we try it out by making a consensus decision on whether to use consensus decision making processes. Everything got a little surreal for a while. However, since our facilitator is a trainee midwife, she must be used to slow births and eventually a beautiful baby was born in the form of our first consensus made decision as a group which was to ditch consensus making decisions and go for a dictatorship (only joking) The proposal was agreed to that “We will use consensus in all decision making unless another proposal is made at which point that may be considered instead.”

Item 4 – What is a Transition Town
Natja gave a clear summary of what a transition town is including a little history, some examples of what goes on in other Transition initiatives and the key themes of climate change, peak oil,
permaculture, resilience, energy descent plans and grass roots democracy.

Item 5 – Should our move to make Hebden Bridge more sustainable take the Transition Town name.
We made a consensus decision on this in less than the time allotted whilst being made aware of the opinions and concerns of people in the group. The decision made was that “We should adopt the name Transition Town for our vision of a sustainable Hebden Bridge”
Things to keep in mind (in response to concerns expressed in discussion)
Calling it Transition Town may not mean much to some people. Any publicity should therefore
include explanation or tag line to ensure understanding.
The Transition Town model should not become more of a priority than consideration of the
individual members of our community.
We should ensure that we keep to permaculture principles by designing something which is
appropriate and sensitive to our town and enabling constant reinvention through grass roots
democracy.
The steering group is not representative of the wider community therefore engagement with the
whole community should be seen as a priority.
Networking with other groups and using Transition Towns as a tool for the integration of ideas and practice must also be seen as a priority.
How do we communicate the Transition Towns concept?
How do we organise ourselves as a steering group, what is the remit of the group and what skills do we have?

Item 6 – Small group brainstorm on ideas connected to launch
The groups looked at the following questions;
a. what would the purpose of a launch be?
b. What are all the things we will need to achieve this purpose?
Rachel is to put the outcome of these brainstorms on the Climate Chaos Kitchen website
which is at www.climatechaoskitchen.org.uk

Item 7 – Next meeting
Our next meeting is to be held on 19th October 1pm-5pm (probably at Hope Baptist Church
although we will need to confirm this) and is to be organised by Hazel and Bear.
The purpose of the meeting is to form working groups to enable us to move towards a launch and
to make decisions surrounding the launch. NB. At the start of our meeting Jason offered a key
slot at the Big Green Weekend next May (Saturday at Trades Club) for a Transition Town launch and it may be worth considering this before our next meeting.
People who cannot come can communicate their thoughts before hand either virtually (on the
website forum) or through a representative.

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