Monday 10 January 2011

Happy Monday! Transition Themes Week #2

Is it just me or have things suddenly got much harder? Here I am on Monday and I'm supposed to be introducing our second Transition Themes week, as part of the communication group, and Omigod I've found myself with writer's block. Or rather I've got something infinitely worse, which is I've written several paragraphs that don't seem to make any sense. I got up at six with Venus blazing in the sky and frost in the garden and four hours later "It" is just not happening.

I couldn't write at New Year, said my colleague, Trevor, on the OneWorldColumn. I looked ahead at 2011 and couldn't find anything positive to say. You could write about gloom, I said. Maybe other people feel the same way and need to hear how it is. Not how it should be.

And so now here I am with a taste of my own medicine. What do you do when something doesn't feel like it's working?

Here's why a forest garden in Devon is heading up the week. This agro-forestry garden is really working. 500 species of plant interacting in perfect harmony and symbiosis. I found this video via Twitter. Transition Norwich is one of 101 Transition initiatives world-wide that take part in this social media engine. So as well as tweeting the latest blog or TN event the twitter feed acts like a roll of small newspaper headlines that bring the kind of news it would take hours of individual surfing to find (you can also subscribe to the excellent Transition Initiatives Daily and Transition Partners "twitter newspapers"). Some of them make your heart jump.

I sent the video link to the Food and Farming google group and Fran Ellington wrote back and said the Grapes Hill Community Garden was inspired by Martin Crawford’s design and did anyone in TN want to get involved in some of the activities they are holding this month? Hey, I said, why don’t I visit the garden and write it up for the Low Carbon Cookbook slot (on Friday). That's when I began thinking about other places in the city, what activities we could highlight. Things you might not know were going on underfoot. So on Thursday Kerry will be writing about the Carbon Conversations course she's running (with Peter Ellington) at UEA and Elena will be reporting on the progress of the CSA at Postwick (having it's own agro-forestry planting day on 30 January).

Rachel, one of the movers and shakers in the Magdalen Street Celebration in October will be writing tomorrow on Transition Urban Lifestyle. Rachel just moved to Norwich from London (where she was involved with Transition Wandsworth) and runs the excellent Ecomonkey blog ("ethical and sustainable news, updates and opinion, plus tips to help save our planet"). On Saturday Eco Tree Dweller who wrote about her recycling business Wombling (also in NR3) in our Waste Week last year will be back reporting on a new social enterprise Norfolk Co-operative Communities. And Mark will be rounding the week up on Sunday.

What will you be writing about Mark? I asked. I don’t know yet he said. It depends on what happens in the week.

I was going to write how human communications act like fungi in a complex eco-system, such as a forest. The garden works because of this massive underground exchange network. You can’t control that kind of system: it's open and flexible and self-organising. What you can do is make the space and allow creative symbiosis to happen. You make the meeting place -a garden or a blog - so people and ideas can work together. So connections and relationships start happening. So we know we're not in isolation. That's what I'm doing really as the organiser for this week. Preparing the ground for the days ahead. Sweeping the stage for everyone to appear. If those paragraphs make more sense later I'll let you know. Meanwhile it's over to the crew . . . Happy Monday!

From Transition Themes Week #2

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