Neus Giner Garcia attended the official Transition Network training in North Howe in February. Read about how she got on.
From my own experience, it is not only knowledge that you gain through trainings and gatherings.
I did gain a lot though, the Transition Training at North Howe increased my knowledge in Peak Oil and Climate Change but, most important, the skills in spreading that knowledge. As they say, the knowledge has been there for ages, and so far it is obvious that catastrophic messages do not have the needed impact in terms of behavioural change. The key issue, they say, is to sell the sizzle, not the sausage. The issues of Climate Change and Peak Oil are already dangerous and sad enough for us to keep embittering our lives; the fight back should be, at least, of some fun. How else will be bring people on board?
In this sense, in the training we did look at how to engage people. It is no secret that building a conscious community is at the core of the transition empowering ideas. However, talking about the different techniques and ideas to attract people’s attention and bring them in raised some moral issue: where do the blurred boundaries of manipulation lay? We might want to be wary of behaving as if we had the ultimate truly solution for the dynamics of this world.
Not that I think we are doing this, I think transition gets across, very well indeed, the message that it is an open movement for each community to apply, change and challenge to fit their needs. Nevertheless, I feel in my own behaviour how easy it is to fall off in a patronizing discourse due to the urgency I see in climate action.
But, as I started saying, there is something else beyond all these knowledge and discussions that you get out of any training or gathering…
… you get hope, strength, will; you get this magic sensation of knowing that it is indeed going to work, sooner or later. After some psychological exercises of thanking each other’s presence, visioning the future… I felt an extraordinary good vibration that ensured me that it could not be otherwise: there is no way to stop this positive energy from spreading around and fill even every single speck.
And it is quite funny, because in my rebellious teenager thoughts I always believed that adults were too comfortable in their lives to care about anything at all nor have the energy for it. It is quite comforting to keep being proved wrong.
On the overall, the training did not only fill me with fresh knowledge and skills but with a renewed desire to apply it.
Neus Giner Garcia is Co-convener of Edinburgh University People & Planet Society.