By Britt Walker, Executive Director
In September 2007, Transition/Whidbey? existed solely as a conversation among a small group of Whidbey Islanders. Today we have a healthy membership of 281 Islanders -and growing- who are passionate about relocalization. We’re in process on a comprehensive island-wide food system asset mapping project; we have a dedicated group of members who are creating a system of local exchange; and we draw full-house crowds each month for our community “Potlucks With a Purpose” where we collaboratively map out our pathway to the more resilient and sustainable community we all envision. As collective humanity continues to hurl itself headlong toward the earth’s tipping point, TW is well on its way to laying a solid foundation for the self-reliant community we need to demonstrate.
TW’s Board of Directors, Executive Director, and members possess the intelligent optimism that is absolutely critical now as we watch old economic, social, environmental, and political paradigms crumble. We are building from the ground up, the vibrant, interdependent, resilient community that will see us through the tough times ahead. Our commitment extends beyond Whidbey Island as we partner with neighboring communities in the Pacific Northwest and beyond to spread the possibility for a more sustainable future far and wide.
Our 2008 accomplishments include:
In only one month of TW’s existence, it had grown from a concept into a community initiative. In October 2007, we started a facilitated educational film series and had launched our well-attended community gatherings. From the beginning, many people in our community and beyond were ready for the transition. As the implications of peak oil, global climate change, and economic instability became more imminent, members of our community felt an increased impetus to participate in supportive, facilitated inspirational events.
Our film series attracted interested crowds ranging from 20-75 people who came out on winter nights to watch films on peak oil, overshoot, and “powering down.” The discussions that followed these documentaries were rich and varied, and many people saw with greater clarity how their lives will likely be impacted by reduced access to cheap oil. The community gatherings growing out of the film series brought people together to discuss this impact as a community. We started to commit to preparing our island community for a post-peak oil “energy descent.” During this time, clearly seeing the need for increased communication and networking, we setup an online social forum to encourage cross-pollination of ideas and concepts while also offering a well-trafficked calendar of events, opportunities and information for people to get involved in action-oriented projects.
As the work progressed, it became obvious that our community was ripe for this type of transition. A group of committed individuals was needed to nurture this project and lay the foundation that would hold and inspire the emergence of a much more self-reliant island community.
From November to April, a small Steering Committee of 9 people worked tirelessly to create Transition Whidbey. We researched other communities around the world whose missions to relocalize their towns were similar to ours, and developed a project scope, mission, vision, and goals. Next, we established TW as a Washington State non-profit organization and earned the fiscal sponsorship and support of a local, tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 organization whose vision of a more sustainable future complemented ours.