Transition or a Transition Town is an innovative movement in which communities collaborate on a local level to address challenges and build solutions for a sustainable future. In a time when global issues and politics can seem overwhelming and discouraging, helping your community to become a Transition Town is a rewarding way to make a tangible difference.

The process of transforming your city into a Transition Town may seem daunting. Where should you even begin? Here, we’ll discuss some practical ways to make your local community more sustainably aware.  

Explore our resource page — A Guide for Aspiring Female Leaders in  Sustainability

Plan fun, sustainability-focused events.

Holding discussions and events and projects in accessible public spaces is an easy way to inspire others to join.

Outdoor food markets, small street carnivals, and community gardens are great public events that demonstrate that sustainability can be fun and exciting. Passersbys will have the opportunity to find out more about the movement, and you may be able to network with people or organizations that have similar interests and goals.

Advertise your events in community spaces.

Places such as local churches, community centers, and schools are ideal places to advertise your meetings, discussions, and events. You’ll reach a wide variety of people this way, most of whom are already engaged with the community in one way or another and who are likely to be interested in contributing to a sustainable, community-based movement.

Ensure that the movement you are building is inclusive.

From your very first meeting, be sure that you encourage input from all group members. Make an effort to get to know one another on an individual level and to find out each other’s interests. This simple step is crucial in creating a strong and cohesive group that will work well together in the future. This will also allow people to share their skills and talents, giving you a clearer idea of what the group can realistically accomplish within the community.

Don’t make people feel as if Transition is something that requires a significant time, commitment, or particular skill. Remember that movements begin with individual drive and collaboration on a small scale and that motivated people and neighborhoods are essential to the success of a Transition Town.

Keep your focus on small-scale initiatives and remember to celebrate significant accomplishments.

Don’t try to do too much too fast. Projects can be as simple as planting fruit trees or collaborating on ways to reduce waste at home. It is important to focus on smaller projects that when finished, will bring about a sense of accomplishment and pride.

When you accomplish something as a group, be sure to take time to acknowledge what you’ve all done together. Celebrating milestones will keep people motivated and engaged.

Do your research: Learn from the success of other Transition Towns.

Transition is a global movement that is taking place all over the U.S., as well as in countries such as Belgium, Germany, Australia, and Spain.

Each town has its own initiatives, and reading about the different approaches to Transition each community has taken may help you to decide what you want to focus on within your community. In Albuquerque, for example, some of the issues the community is focusing on include getting rid of fossil fuel dependence and re-localizing food and education.

In addition to other projects, Albuquerque also holds general monthly gatherings in which people can network and discuss sustainability-related issues.

A relevant master’s degree can help you learn how to mobilize communities effectively.

Green Mountain College’s Master of Science degree in Resilient and Sustainable Communities can help provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to transform your community. Its unique curriculum includes courses such as Leadership and Organizational Transformation that will prove invaluable as your organize a movement in your town.

This program adopts GMC’s groundbreaking bioregional approach to distance learning, in which students apply what they learn in each course to their local communities.

This flexible online graduate program is perfect for those with busy schedules who want to learn practical skills that will ultimately help them effect change in their communities. The program is also small and individualized, so that students will easily be able to ask for help from professors and collaborate with other students.

MRSC students learn about land-use planning, economic development, energy production, food systems, and resource management, while developing skills in leadership, group organization, and conflict resolution.

GMC is First in Sustainability!

Established in 1834, and a leader in education in sustainability since the late twentieth century, Green Mountain College has continued its tradition of innovative leadership and applied education by offering the nation’s first online graduate programs in Environmental Studies, Sustainable Food Systems, and Resilient and Sustainable Communities — all featuring the college’s distinctive bioregional approach to online learning — as well as the nation’s first Sustainable MBA.

“The students who come here to learn are able to go into their area and industry of interest and ignite authentic sustainability.”

If you see yourself pursuing a career that’s focused on change and purpose, we hope you’ll consider Green Mountain College as the avenue from which you will gain the skills and knowledge necessary to make a real difference in all social, economic, and environmental spheres of sustainability.

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