Last night I went with Charlotte to The Chaucer Club. We were giving fellow transitioner Nick from Sustainable Bungay a hand to set up and deliver his first talk – A Tale of Two Curves – about the limits to economic growth, peak debt, peak oil and climate change. It was a lively talk which Nick illustrated with nicely hand drawn graphs and a timeline. As he explained Hubbert’s Curve, showed the illusory and unsustainable nature of the present economic growth model and spoke about physical resource limits, Charlotte would occasionally blow one of those whistles which whoop up or down (unlimited growth) or I would ring a bell (Time, ladies and gentlemen, please. Everything has a limit!)
At the Transition Conference last month Rob Hopkins introduced a new way of understanding Transition using A Pattern Language. It was felt that the twelve steps were rather too linear an approach. Many people thought they had to follow them to the letter in the "correct" order. The Pattern Language is more fluid and self-organising. You can read more about it in Charlotte's excellent posting from the conference here.
So far there are 63 patterns and Standing Up To Speak forms pattern 8 of the first section What We Start With. It's about learning how to speak in front of people about Transition, a skill anyone in any initiative can learn to do - just get on out there and get as much practice as possible. Nick took the leap last night with the rest of the group backing him, and it was a great first show.
Being involved in Transition for the last few years has brought about radical changes in my approach to the world. One is I’ve become much bolder about speaking with people, both in public and private.
Whether I’m taking a group out to introduce them to the wild, native plants in the neighbourhood, connecting people who want to learn more about growing food locally, speaking to a group who want to set up a Transition initiative or writing these posts, a lot of my old hesitation and timidity is just no longer there. I think the key for all of us lies in the passion for our subject and the desire to share it, whether it's mine for wild plants or Nick's for economics.
About thirty people came out on this warm summer's night for the talk and to join in the discussion afterwards. As with many Transition events people weren’t in any rush to get away. The bar was open and conversations carried on till closing time.
On the TV screen in the bar Cliff Richard was singing, dancing and laughing with a studio audience in a show from some time ago. My attention shifted after a few moments back to the Chaucer Club and Nick’s talk and I realised not only does Transition interest and engage me now more than any TV entertainment, but it’s just not true that We Don’t Talk Anymore.
Pics: The Chaucer Club, Bungay; Nick talks about Peak Oil, Peak Debt and Going Local; Me getting passionate about plants*; Charlotte talking to the Mayor of Norwich about Transition at the Peace Camp on 26th June All by Mark Watson except * by Josiah Meldrum
PS In February this year Norwich transitioners attended the day long Transition Talk Training in Colchester organised by the Transition Network. You can read Andy Croft's report of the day here.
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