Transition Austin


Transition Austin Organizational Meeting

Public is Welcome

May 12, 2009
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

4721 Loyola Ln. Austin, TX 78723

Room A

University Hills Branch of Austin Public Library [APL]
Located a few blocks off of US 183 in E Austin
on Loyola near Manor Road/Springdale intersection.

Library Desk: 512-929-0551 for directions only. (The library is not involved except to provide a location.)

What is the Transition Movement?

Based originally in the United Kingdom, Transition Towns is a worldwide movement to create local support for transition to a post-petroleum economy.

We are living in an age of unprecedented change, with a number of crises converging. Climate change, global economic instability, overpopulation, erosion of community, declining biodiversity, and resource wars, have all stemmed from the availability of cheap, non-renewable fossil fuels. Global oil, gas and coal production is predicted to irreversibly decline in the next 10 to 20 years, and severe climate changes are already taking effect around the world. The coming shocks are likely to be catastrophic if we do not prepare. As Richard Heinberg states: “Our central survival task for the decades ahead, as individuals and as a species, must be to make a transition away from the use of fossil fuels – and to do this as peacefully, equitably, and intelligently as possible”.

The Transition movement represents one of the most promising ways of engaging people and communities to take the far-reaching actions that are required to mitigate the effects of peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis. Furthermore, these relocalization efforts are designed to result in a life that is more fulfilling, more socially connected and more equitable than the one we have today.

The Transition model is based on a loose set of real world principles and practices that have been built up over time through experimentation and observation of communities as they drive forward to reduce carbon emissions and build community resilience.

Read more on the Transition USA website .

The transition movement started with small towns, but recently has been considering how to scale up to the urban environment. As far as the urban environment specifically in the USA goes, there is much room for experimentation and new leadership.

Transition Austin So Far

There has been some movement toward Transition  in Texas and in Austin. Several meetings have been held in Austin with the result that a vigorous transition town group has been founded in South Austin. There is general agreement that we would like to see similar efforts in all neighborhoods of the city.

Some of us, however, believe that there are other tasks that a transition movement needs to achieve in a place like Austin, in addition to forming local permaculture groups. At the very least, we need to provide an information nexus, where the various groups can exchange skills and resources amongst them, and help promote new local organizations in Austin, Travis County and neighboring areas. There is also a need to interface with government and politics at city and county levels to ensure transition-friendly policies, and particularly to de-emphasize the automobile dependency of the region and to promote resources for backyard agriculture, small scale renewable energy, and water management. There is a need to interface to the national organization, and probably to create an umbrella non-profit for the regional organization.

Toward these ends we are holding the reorganization meeting. People interested in starting local transition groups are welcome, as are people with creative ideas for changing the whole region.

It is important to understand that we are not just hunkering down for the Long Emergency. We are also looking to regain some of what we have lost in the explosion of corporate and institutional power over the last century. We may end up using less materials but if we manage the transition properly our lives will still be richer in a deeper sense.

Transition Oklahoma City has a very interesting chart of how the Transition Movement differs from conventional environmentalism.

Austin is Special

We all know that Austin and the Austin area has a unique character and unique advantages over any other city.

But Austin is almost totally an automotive era urban geography. Our resources and our relationships are spread around a vast sprawling city. This gives us some special advantages (space for gardens and other experiments) and some special disadvantages (too far to travel) in a postpetroleum, post-growth world.

The creative spark of Austin needs to be dedicated to saving Austin, and to making it a beacon for transition for the whole Southwest.  We need not only to up our skills but to work on ways to strengthen the fabric of the community. Can we pull together as a real leadership nexus for the transition?

Meeting Agenda

The meeting will be conducted using a consensus process by experienced consensus leader Tom Davis

Establish the meeting

Finalize the agenda – any new items to be added?

Assign times to each agenda item

Choose scribe, timekeeper, and vibeswatcher


1. The consensus process

Quick summary
Schedule another training event?  When?
Information from transition towns

2. Report on progress to date

South Austin

3. Naming ourselves 

(Proposal – “Transition Austin” for the overall operation, “Transition Austin Hub” for the communication/coordination function, “Transition Town South Austin/Jollyville/etc.” for the neighborhood efforts)

4. Mission statement

Explicit Statement of Goals

5. Short Term Actions to Build Interest

Movie and/or pot-luck nights 
(whether to do them, which one or both, how often, person in charge, etc.)

Draft Transition Austin presentation
Internet presence (web site and e-lists)

6. Future meetings

(place, frequency, dates)

Others to be added at the meeting?)

Finish the meeting

More Information

Transition USA Ning site
Transition Texas Ning site
Transition Austin Ning Site
Transition Towns worldwide
Wikipedia Article