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“Building Our Transition Streets!” Interview with Maggie Fleming, Co-Director, Transition US

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“Building Our Transition Streets!”
Interview with Maggie Fleming, Co-Director, Transition US
by Willi Paul, Planetshifter.com Magazine



“Transition Streets provides an empowering format and an enjoyable process for working together to significantly increase individual and collective impacts, and really make a difference.” This rings like a campaign ad! Pick a difficult meeting topic and explain how a Transition Streets group would tackle it."

Yes -- it is quite a positive promotion, isn't it. What we're trying to get across with that description is the value of "positive visioning," which is one of Transition's guiding principles. The Transition movement's primary focus is not campaigning against things, but rather on creating positive, empowering possibilities and opportunities.

Another important part of Transition's approach is that while the work to create more resilient communities can be challenging, it can also be fun. The social connections created by the Transition Streets model is a key part in making the process enjoyable, therefore drawing in more people that want to participate.

That being said, yes, you are correct that some of the conversations may be difficult for participants. However, what one person considers difficult might not be so for others, so it's challenging for me to say which meeting topics will be difficult. So I'll give one example of a topic that some might find difficult, which is food. Some aspects of this topic that I can think of that participants may have differing opinions on include: whether or not to eat food that's lower on the food chain, organic, produced locally, and/or in season (or what percentage of these foods to eat out of your overall diet); what conveniences are you willing to forgo when it comes to food packaging; we know that growing our own food increases our access to food, but what are the tradeoffs/benefits in time spent vs. money saved for growing your own food.

So how would Transition Streets groups tackle these potentially difficult topics? The Transition Streets model, which includes group discussions, gives participants a chance to explore other opinions and perspectives that they may not have previously considered. The Transition Streets curriculum provides data and resources to support participants in making their own decisions for all of the questions posted above. The curriculum also supports participants in creating their individual food action plans and offers suggestions for using the group for support and accountability in implementing these plans."
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