The History of Transition Guelph
Transition Guelph was founded in the fall of 2008 by Sally Luwig, Christine Mills, and Elizabeth Snell. The three heard about the Transition Movement and started discussing if it would be a good fit for the city of Guelph. The first official public meeting was held at 10 Carden Street on December 1st of 2008 and Sally, Chris, and Liz were overwhelmed by the positive response. The room was packed and excitement was in the air! The initial meeting helped plant the seeds that later became many of the current working groups. Each person that was in the room clearly had a passion they wanted to build on. The group held a visioning meeting to talk about what Guelph should look like in the future. Each person had a chance to talk about their own passions and that helped define the working groups that launched Transition Guelph.
In 2009, Guelph became an official Transition Town and was continuing to grow. As more people came forward with ideas around resiliency and transition, more working groups were formed and projects put together. Today, TG continues to grow, attracting more people to the movement.
That first year, Transition Guelph hosted an Earth Hour potluck that was a huge success. Since then, TG has grown the one evening potluck into a week long festival called the Guelph Resilience Festival which launched in 2011. The festival has become a successful way of reaching out to the public and fostering collaborative partnerships with many organizations in the community included local businesses and the city. The festival runs every year in late March and is scheduled so that its culminating event, the candlelight pot-luck, coincides with Earth Hour.
A Bit More History of the Transition Movement
Taken from http://www.transitionnetwork.org/about: Towards the end of 2006, Transition Town Totnes (TTT) had been running for close to a year, with co-founders Rob Hopkins and Naresh Giangrande running awareness-raising events and dreaming up the core elements of the Transition Model. Around this time, other communities that were concerned about climate change and peak oil were beginning to take notice. The initial slow trickle of enquiries about Transition was beginning to build up and for those listening carefully enough, the rumblings of a tsunami of interest could be heard in the distance.
Around this time, on the “Life beyond oil” course at Schumacher college in Devon, Rob met Ben Brangwyn. He’d been studying relocalisation efforts around the globe, and understood just how special the emerging transition model was in terms of inspiration and replicability. And how urgently it was needed.
In response to that urgency, and now joined by Sustrans director Pete Lipman, they jointly founded Transition Network, with a simple mission – to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities as they adopt and adapt the transition model on their journey to urgently rebuild resilience and drastically reduce CO2 emissions.
In those early days, with no office and no funding and a ton of work to be done, the embryonic charity was set up on the faith that if someone didn’t recognise quickly just how important the new approach that Transition was bringing and start funding it, then humans were in real trouble.
A few months later at one of the first Transition Bristol (UK) meetings, a crucial encounter with the Tudor Trust helped secure the initial funding and start a relationship that has continued to flourish.
With funding, an office, a newly appointed office manager, a website and the first iteration of the Transition Initiatives Primer all in place, Rob was able to concentrate on his book, the Transition Handbook which was published in Spring 2008.
Based on feedback from the earlier initiatives, it became clear that some kind of training was needed to help the initiating groups in those early stages. In that strange phenomenon of “the right people stepping up at the right moment”, Naresh Giangrande and Sophy Banks (convenor of the Heart & Soul group in TTT), both experienced trainers and faciliators, applied themselves to the task and devoted a huge amount of energy and time to create that first course. And on a weekend in October in 2007, 18 people became the first to go through a training course that has since then spanned the world.
By now there were Transition Initiatives sprouting up in Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, USA, and Wales.
Over time, further training courses have been developed, including Train the Trainer, and there is a growing pool of transition trainers capable of supporting Transition Initiatives in many countries and languages globally.
In response to input from initiatives, Transition Network began working with a publisher, Green Books, to extend the range of support materials. The result is a steadily growing stable of “Transition Guides”, covering food (published), Transition Timeline (published), working with your local government, sustainable housing and domestic energy, transitioning cities, local money.
In addition, the first Transition movie, “In Transition 1.0” was produced by a local transitioner, using footage gleaned from initiatives around the world. The movie has a global audience, having been translated into four languages (could be five or more by the time you read this!).
That brings the story up to date for the start of 2010, a period marked by the failures of Copenhagen, an increasing sense of continuing economic contraction and further reports from highly influential sources on the threats from fossil fuel depletion.