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Future Proof Kilkenny

Its a while ago now but below the fold is a review of the Transition Gathering at the Green Gathering back in August.

In early August 2008 Giles Fitzherbert opened up his Woodbrook estate home and again hosted the Green Gathering – Ireland’s only genuine planet-friendly, low-cost, eco-festival complete with compost toilets, solar powered showers and PV charged main stage.

On Sunday “Transitioners” from around the country and curious festival goers converged in the wall garden for Ireland’s first “Transition Gathering”. In the spirit of the weekend this was to be a party – not a conference, so we started off with a warm-up game normally reserved for children’s parties – the chicken/human/worm game.

This was followed with a series of mapping exercises to get a visual picture of the geographical spread of people present, the size of their communities and the status of their Transition. Some had never heard of Transition, others had read about it and were eager for more information. Many towns including Tralee, Comber, Kildare, Cloughjordan, Kilkenny, Wicklow, to name but a few, had begun the process and were there to soak up the atmosphere, share their stories and become more inspired.

Next the group was organised into two large circles of equal numbers for an open-air speed-dating exercise! The first ‘conversation’ was ‘concerns you have about Peak Oil and Climate Change’. Moving one person to the right, the second ‘conversation’ was ‘what would you like to see happen in your community’. Moving again, the final conversation was ‘what steps can you take to make this happen’.  Not sure if any lasting relationships were formed but people got talking, became connected and had  ‘conversations that matter’.

The last exercise demonstrated the key transition principle of resilience. First we brain-stormed what livelihoods would have existed in a pre-industrial self-reliant community, wrote them on post-its and gave them out to each other to role-play. Then a ball of string was passed from one person to another with each person stating what their livelihood was and why they were passing the string to the next person – i.e. what the connection was. Eventually the string formed a complicated tangled web that illustrated how connected and inter-dependant our societies used to be before the advent of cheap energy and globalisation cut the web to shreds.

The gathering gave people a taster of how tackling Peak Oil and Climate Change is not all doom and gloom but an opportunity to come together and redesign a positive future – to put the web back together. We finished off with the “Whooooosh” – a closing that will surely become a transition classic.

The Transition Gathering was co-facilitated by Brian Dillon, Alex Duffy and Davie Philip

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