Sunday, 20 May 2012

In Transition 2.0

The UK Green Film Festival is a welcome addition to the touring film festival circuit. Now in its second year, it tours to a dozen venues - including Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff (18-20 May 2012). This year’s films included ones about the appalling levels of food wastage from farm to fork (Taste the Waste), turning vegan (Vegucated), corruption in the oil industry (Greedy Lying Bastards) and light pollution (The City Dark).

I went to see In Transition 2.0 (UK, 2012), a film directed by Emma Goude that provides a useful update on Transition Town projects. The Transition movement seeks to help communities prepare for an economically-uncertain post-peak oil world by enhancing local self-sufficiency. It’s about visualizing how your community may look in 20-30 years time, and putting in place the necessary sustainable energy and food framework to maintain a high (or even enhanced) quality of life. The film is structured around an interview with Rob Hopkins, who has outlined practical steps “from oil dependency to local resilience” in a series of books and is co-founder of the pioneering Totnes Transition Town.

The film incorporates stories from around the world (no aircraft travel – all groups sent their own sections via the Internet), showing how community groups have variously implemented transition steps to achieve greater local sustainability. Food projects usually provide the initial success. These include community gardens in reclaimed urban spaces (e.g., gardens of abandoned houses, railway platforms) and co-operatives selling local food. Local currencies are increasingly being used to promote local trade (the Brixton Pounds has even gone electronic), while local energy production is shown to be a good way forward (e.g., Lewes’ community solar power station). Bringing communities together is time and again a key factor in successful Transition Town initiatives.

After the film, Sam and Helen from the Cardiff Transition group spoke about projects in the Cardiff area. Most Transition Towns have been small towns or villages, so being in a large city they see their main role initially as being to help connect existing activities and sustainable businesses throughout the city. Projects include mapping (using Google map technology) of urban orchards and gardens, along with energy efficiency surveys and the establishment of community gardens (there’s even one at Chapter Arts Centre). The Taff, a local trading currency has been established, and more initiatives are shortly to be announced. Cardiff Transition Town officially launches this week (Wednesday May 23) at an event in the Old Library (see Transition Cardiff Event on Facebook to book).

UK Green Film Festival:

Related Food Blog posts:

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