It’s been painfully obvious for a long time now that our Transition group is not operating as it should be. In fact, it is virtually defunct. So, once again I’m thinking of how to re-invigorate it. I’ve bought Rob Hopkins’s latest book The Transition Companion, which I know will be a great help, but I’m slightly averse to opening it at the moment as I’m reading so many books all at the same time that I’m not sure if I can cope with another one. However, I must at least dip into it for ideas.
The first thing I need to do is to re-introduce the film evenings, as they often attracted a decent group of interested people. I shall also rummage through my Change Handbook, as well as Transition Companion, to dig out ways of making the evenings more than just watching a film, but nothing that’s going to put people off in the way that we’re so good at doing at school. (Read this story, it’s great! Then I’m going to get you to do a comprehension exercise on it, followed by a book review. Then see if you still like it.) I’ve found in the past that giving people post-it notes to write comments on, which are then stuck on the wall for everyone to read, as mentioned in The Transition Handbook, worked quite well. I’m actually waiting for the arrival of the new film The Crisis of Civilisation, which might be one of the first ones I’ll show.
I’ve always felt that it is necessary to have a project up and running to show people that the Transition ideas work better than the conventional oil-dependent ways of conducting our lives. If you can’t do this, why would anyone take notice of anything you say? Well, after it was obvious that a community garden wasn’t going to work because people didn’t have the time or inclination to do the spade work, I decided I’d pay someone to work full time as a farmer for me. I’ve mentioned Bhola in other posts, and he’s doing a fantastic job. For me, he’s Homo Transitionus, an as yet rare but superior form of human being. He is putting my dream into reality, and we’re getting tremendous feedback from lots of people about the quality of vegetables and herbs we’re selling: we’re also selling most things for much less than the supermarkets are. Now whether people know it or not, they are taking a crucial step towards reducing their carbon footprint by buying local, organic produce from us. Thus we are succeeding in furthering the goals of Transition by stealth rather than overt proselytizing, although the next task, of course, is to make people more aware of the need to undertake this transition away from fossil fuels by getting them to come along to some of our film shows, for example. As they trust what we’re doing with our farming, I’m hoping that they might be willing to attend one or two other events, beginning with the films, but we also do occasional Swap Parties and we’re about to start up a small Gift Circle, both of which I’ve mentioned in previous posts.
Another project I’d like to undertake is one I was discussing with a friend recently, namely starting a local bakery, as getting a decent loaf anywhere in Hong Kong is not easy, but getting one in south Lantau is impossible. We were thinking about renting a small shop in Mui Wo and starting up a cooperative bakery with a few people who might be willing to invest some of their money in a local enterprise. We’ve not come up with a shop yet, but I’ve signed up for a one day course in baking five kinds of popular Chinese buns, such as pineapple buns, which I hope will start me off as an apprentice baker! I’ve also tracked down a book that I think will help me to bake Western-style loaves fairly easily, although it’s easy to talk about it when I’ve not even ordered the book yet. I do occasionally bake bread, and I used to make my own when I worked in Tanzania, so I’m not completely inexperienced. If we can get this up and running it will be an invaluable addition to our community.
If I can succeed in getting any of these activities working as well as the farm is, then our Transition group really will take off, at last. Just talking about it fills me with hope and enthusiasm!