As part of Green Week, Transition University of St Andrews held its first open forum of the academic year on the evening of Tuesday 2nd October, where they also screened Transition 2.0, a film put together by the Transition Network.
Transition Network is an organization of about 900 initiatives worldwide, working with their neighbours to improve quality of life and promote sustainability within their community. The St Andrews group was established in 2009 by university students.
Joshua Msika, the chair of the initiative’s steering group, explained that Transition was: “… broadening its scope, including university staff and reaching out to members of the community.” The St Andrews’ initiative has used its funding to hire staff to organize local projects such as LETS (local exchange trading), a community garden, and Carbon Conversations. Moreover, there have been a series of discussions geared toward sharing ideas and plans about reducing carbon footprints.
Transition 2.0 was a showcase of various initiatives around the world, highlighting the variety of projects and the importance of pursuing them as a community. Projects ranged from community gardens in the United States to disaster relief projects in Japan and New Zealand. As much as these initiatives did to work for a more sustainable world, they also involved bringing people together to utilize their skills.
The organisation presented itself as more people-based than anything else, with the repeated saying that: “Whoever comes is the right person.” The film also pointed out that it is important not to expect to save the world, but: “If we wait on governments, it will be too little, too late. If we act as individuals, it will be too little, too late. But maybe if we act as communities, if will be just enough, just in time.”
After the film, the audience mingled to discuss what stood out to them, and how they thought they could make St Andrews a more closely-knit and sustainable community. Many possible projects were discussed, including local currency, service exchanges, and efforts to consume locally-sourced food.
Before the event, I spoke to Claire Rampen and Morgan Buckner of the Transition steering committee, who described Transition as “eye-opening,” and more than anything, action-oriented. Describing Transition, Ms. Rampen said, “Everything is thinking about problem-solving and what you can do [to resolve the problem].”