Monday, February 22, 2010

Transition Talks

I went to both Transition meetings this weekend.  It's daunting to go to things like this for the first time because you never know what you're getting into, but both were time well spent...

In Kitchener, I met with one guy, and we talked easily for a good two hours about peak oil and human behaviour and the political process and the prospects of hope.  It was nice to chat with someone who doesn't think my efforts are a colossal waste of time entirely.  We tried to get to the bottom of why people don't want to hear about this stuff, learn about it and act on it.

When I was on maternity leave, I confess, I had a mommy blog under an alias.  It averaged about 250 hits/day.  Even now that I haven't written on it in years, it still averages about 70/day just sitting there.  This environmental soapbox gets about 20/day and all my friends and colleagues know about it.  People hang on your every word when you're struggling with diapers and screaming infants.  They want those life stories partly, I think, for the voyeurism of reading an on-line diary, but there's more to it than that.  People in the same boat hope for a few answers and want to help others in the struggle.  They don't just want to be informed, they want to be able to add their own helpful advise.  If they don't have any insights or answers to a problem, they don't want to talk about it.

And when it comes to caring for kids, it's the immediacy of it that's important.  At 3 a.m., when the baby won't settle, you can read myriad blogs about other people with the same issue and know you're not alone.  We're all in this eco-disaster together, but it's not immediate enough.  Nobody's screaming in the wee hours because of it.  And people love when governments sooth them with claims of inconclusive evidence.  Heath Canada maintains we can safely eat teflon.  We can relax, and it'll all go away.  So hush already.

In Waterloo, there were about fifty adults plus little ones meeting and greeting.  I brought my 5-year-old to that one.  She didn't want to play with anyone else, and she really didn't want me to talk to anyone but her, so that was a trickier time.  It started at 2:00, and I didn't get there until 3:30, but it didn't really fill up until after 4:00.  There were lots of games to play that took me back to my childhood.  Some people had lovingly saved their old wooden dominoes, and there were a couple of crokinole games on the go.  And there was a dutch card game that I remember having as a kid but couldn't remember how to play.  

I considered making a salad for the potluck but bailed and went for Vincenzo's hummus and flatbread.  I actually worried that the organic foodies in the crowd would know if my produce wasn't the real deal!  The food was fantastic - all vegetarian or vegan, and I commented that people should put out little recipe cards for the taking at these things.  It was a mix of people of all ages, older men with large beards and younger with long dreads and everything in between and tons of kids.  I met many people either working on or with a PhD, and it struck me that maybe it attracts a university crowd, beyond that we have two universities in this city, because people are feeling impotent with just knowledge.  They want something to do with it beyond just telling other people bits of information deemed necessary in their classes.  

After the dinner people were going to chat as a group, bring in ideas and thoughts, and play some instruments together.  Unfortunately I missed it; my girl had had enough.   

The idea behind Transitions, as it was explained to me because I still haven't read the book, is that first we build up community and get people interested, then we get people working on ideas.  This is still supposed to be the building interest phase, but there's enough people already that they're going to start dividing into working groups.  The meeting for that is Wednesday at 7:00 at the church on the corner of King and William.          

No comments: