Our Mandate at Transition Guelph
Transition Guelph is a not-for-profit group of concerned and active Guelph residents with the shared vision of building resilience and sustainability into our community in response to the challenges of global economic instability, peak supply of oil and other resources, and accelerating climate change.
Transition Guelph’s mission is to encourage, inspire, and support people in the community – government, businesses, civil society and individuals – to work together, become involved in building that resilience and social cohesion while reducing their reliance on fossil fuels..
Many of our challenges are rooted outside the neighborhood, but we know there is much we can do to strengthen equity and resilience at the local level. Our vision of Guelph is a healthy, vital community with flourishing business, arts and neighbourhoods. Required energy and materials are largely local and renewable; all actions honour ecosystem integrity – locally to globally. Guelph contributes no more than its fair share of greenhouses gases that the planet can sustainably absorb.
Transition Guelph works in collaboration with the other Transition Initiatives in Ontario and across Canada. The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins, provides guidance for creating a resilient vibrant community through the re-localization of many of the services and resources that we need to survive and thrive in the face of environmental, social and economic challenges.
We envision a world of communities that thrive sustainably, in balance ecologically, socially and economically.
Our community of Guelph and area will strive to significantly increase resilience to mitigate the effects of Peak Oil and drastically reduce carbon emissions to minimize the effects of Climate Change.
7 Principles of Transition (adapted from the Transition Network)
1. Positive Visioning
Transition Initiatives are dedicated to the creation of tangible, clearly expressed, practical visions of the community beyond its present-day dependence on fossil fuels. Our primary focus is not campaigning against things, but rather on positive, empowering possibilities and opportunities. The generation of new stories and myths are central to this visioning work, as is the building of constructive alternatives to “business as usual.”
2. Help People Access Good Information and Trust Them to Make Good Decisions
Transition initiatives dedicate themselves, through all aspects of their work, to raising awareness of peak oil and climate change and related issues such as critiquing economic growth and inequity.
In doing so they recognize the responsibility to present this information in ways which are playful, articulate, accessible and engaging, and which enable people to feel enthused and empowered rather than powerless. Transition initiatives focus on telling people the closest version of the truth that we know in times when the information available is deeply contradictory. The messages are non-directive, respecting each person’s ability to make a response that is appropriate to their situation.
3. Inclusion and Openness
Successful Transition Initiatives need an unprecedented coming together of the broad diversity of society. We dedicate ourselves to ensuring that decision-making processes and working groups embody principles of openness, inclusion, and mutual respect. This principle also refers to the principle of each initiative reaching the community in its entirety, and endeavouring, from an early stage, to engage their local business community, the diversity of community groups and local authorities. It makes explicit the principle that there is, in the challenge of energy descent, no room for ‘them and us’ thinking.
4. Enable Sharing and Networking
Transition Initiatives dedicate themselves to sharing successes, failures, insights and connections at the various scales across the Transition network, so as to more widely build up a collective body of experience and accelerate learning.
5. Build Resilience
Transition recognizes the fundamental importance of building resilience, that is, the capacity of our businesses, communities and settlements to deal as well as possible with shocks and disruption. Transition initiatives commit to building resilience across a wide range of areas (food, economics, energy etc) and also on a range of scales (from the local to the national) as seems appropriate – and to setting them within an overall context of the need to do all we can to ensure whole-planet environmental resilience.
6. Inner and Outer Transition
The challenges we face are not just caused by a mistake in our technologies but are a direct result of our world view and belief system. The impact of the information about the state of our planet can generate fear and grief – which may underlie the state of denial that many people are caught in. Psychological models (for example, addictions models and models for behavioural change) can help us understand what is really happening and avoid unconscious processes that can sabotage change.
This principle also honours the fact that Transition thrives because it enables and supports people to do what they are passionate about, what they feel called to do, and to contribute their unique talents and gifts to the creation of more resilient communities.
7. Subsidiarity: self-organisation and decision making at the appropriate level
This final principle enshrines the idea that the intention of the Transition model is not to centralise or control decision making, but rather to work with everyone so that it is practiced at the most appropriate, practical and empowering level, and in such a way that it models the ability of natural systems to self organise.