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PATRICIA BENSON BOARD OF DIRECTORS, TRANSITION US Transition Northfield Sharing information and resources is a principle of Transition – many of these.

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Presentation on theme: "PATRICIA BENSON BOARD OF DIRECTORS, TRANSITION US Transition Northfield Sharing information and resources is a principle of Transition – many of these."— Presentation transcript:

1 PATRICIA BENSON BOARD OF DIRECTORS, TRANSITION US Transition Northfield Sharing information and resources is a principle of Transition – many of these slides were produced by others in the Transition Network. With many thanks!

2 Pop. 20,000 Rice County – rural Dakota County – metro fringe Proximity to Twin Cities: 30 miles and getting shorter!

3 The Cows The Contentment 1855 began as an agricultural town, primarily corn & wheat Cannon River provided power for grain and lumber milling As wheat moved west, dairy and diversified farming replaced grain Grain elevator closed as the city is urbanizing River city with historic district Vibrant community with education, entertainment & service opportunities Socially connected community 1970s completion of I35 resulted in growth as a bedroom community Historical Northfield


5 Carleton College St. Olaf College Cassat & Memorial Halls, LEED Gold certification Students for a Greener Carleton purchased a wind turbine and installed a green roof Arboretum with over 60% of 1050 acres planted to native species Eco-dining (locally grown, compostable dishes, food garden on campus) Education and research Community engagement Regents Hall LEED Platinum certification 15 local producers and Stogrow (student run organic farm) provide food to Bon Appétit All composting used on campus land Wind turbine supplies 1/3 of campus energy Restoring natural lands Education and research Community engagement The Colleges

6 Whats Happening in Northfield? Engaged Local Government Environmental Quality Commission Northfield Energy Task Force Non-Motorized Transportation Task Force An engaged citizenry Local sustainability organizations St. Olaf College and Carleton College Transition Northfield



9 Environmental Quality Commission The City of Northfield Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) advises on matters concerning environmental quality and natural resources, including the implementation of the environmental policy enacted by ordinance. The commission consists of seven members, appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council.

10 Non-motorized Transportation Task Force Established by Northfield City Council in 2007 To enable and promote walking, cycling, and other human-powered activities as safe forms of transportation, thereby creating healthier, more vibrant, and more energy- efficient communities.

11 Energy Task Force Established by Northfield City Council, May 2007 The Task Force goals include assessing opportunities to develop energy efficiency and clean energy projects, assess the value of creating a municipal electric utility or special energy district, and recommend a citywide target and prepare a plan for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to meet the City's commitment to the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign (CCPC). Reports to the Environmental Quality Commission

12 With Hope: A Resilient Community An Action Plan for Northfield Area Energy Sustainability Charge 1: To assess opportunities to develop local energy efficiency and clean energy projects that will: a) protect the community from future energy price and supply instability b) enhance local economic development c) provide local, regional and global environmental benefits.

13 Charge 1: Viable Options for City Government Lead clean energy projects and model energy conservation/efficiency to create social norms Direct City staff to consider climate, energy, environmental, economic, and social impact of all decisions using life cycle analysis and monetary impact analysis. Create/expand city policies, ordinances and guidelines to reflect sustainable design criteria

14 Charge 1: Viable Options for City Government Develop local policies and initiatives that help create demand for green collar occupations through public sector investments and incentives that drive private sector investments Create an Energy Commission reporting directly to City Council Set up a 1-Stop-Shop for energy and staff it with a qualified energy coordinator

15 With Hope: A Resilient Community An Action Plan for Northfield Area Energy Sustainability Charge 2: To assess the efficacy of creation of a municipal electric utility or special energy district in achieving parts a,b and c of Charge 1.

16 Charge 2 Recommendations Not pursue a municipal utility at this time of economic uncertainty because costs are so great Work with key stakeholders to ensure that any new industrial park be powered by renewable energy, use best environmental practices, and attract green businesses. Work toward establishing a special energy district for combined heat and power (CHP) and cooling that would service existing industrial/institutional users.

17 With Hope: A Resilient Community An Action Plan for Northfield Area Energy Sustainability Charge 3: To recommend citywide target greenhouse gas emission reductions to fulfill Milestone 2 of the Citys commitment to the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign (CCPC).

18 Charge 3 Recommendations Set significantly more aggressive targets for Northfield and the surrounding, partnering townships, such as Carbon Free by 33 (100% reduction by 2033) 15% reduction by 2013 50% reduction by 2028 Begin annual measurement/inventory update immediately. Inventory results reported by June each year via the City website to the Environmental Quality Commission, City Council, and the public.

19 With Hope: A Resilient Community An Action Plan for Northfield Area Energy Sustainability Charge 4: To develop an action plan to meet the CCPC targets identified in Charge 3 and report to City Council by the end of May 2008.

20 Charge 4 Recommendations Use local government policy tools to facilitate achievement of CCPC targets listed in Charge 3. Recommend a Climate Action Plan of 10 items.


22 What is Green Step? Green Step Cities is an action-oriented voluntary program offering a cost-effective, simple pathway leading to implementation of sustainable best practices that focus on greenhouse gas reduction. Technical assistance will be available from state agencies, utilities, nonprofit organizations, and others. Cities will be recognized for past steps and new actions.

23 Green Step: Goals & Objectives Achieve meaningful reductions in greenhouse gases and other positive environmental outcomes Provide assistance for local governments to achieve best practices in energy use reduction and sustainable development Provide a "Pathway to Sustainability" that is cost-effective, pragmatic, and achievable for all cities Identify specific existing state agency staff and others who are committed to and technically able to help cities implement each specific best practice Promote innovation Inspire and assist residents, businesses, and community institutions to take action Recognize local governments for their past accomplishments and their new efforts spurred by the program.


25 ON THE ROAD Northfield, MN

26 Transportation Options in Northfield City bus runs from 8:30 – 4:00 Takes you anywhere in town for $1 Summer passes available to students under 18 Metro Express (October 2009) Commuter service to the Mpls/St. Paul area and airport in 4 round trips daily $8 ticket or commuter discount pass Bike lanes on multiple streets Connected, paved greenway trails connect residential districts to bike lanes on roadways First Walk or Bike to School day

27 On the Road

28 AT THE TABLE Northfield, MN

29 Options Education Local Food Action Network Loose coalition with representation through multiple organizations and businesses involved in local food movement Liaison to Environmental Quality Commission Just Food classes Just Foods Compost publication Permaculture classes Informed via colleges At the Table Local CSAs College gardens Farmers Market Just Food Co-op Organic and whole food sections in 2 local grocery stores Community gardens City land use requires organic practices City orchard pending

30 Local Food Challenge

31 IN THE HOME Northfield, MN

32 How do Northfields citizens fit into the picture? Several congregations in the community have Creation Care teams engaging households in sustainability efforts. Several organizations doing sustainability work have strong membership representation in town. The City has great plans but no money to hire a sustainability coordinator. Many citizens are aware and engaged, but far more are unaware and unengaged.


34 The Transition Movement 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.

35 Who is looking at Transition? (Proportionate – enlarged for presentation)

36 How are they organising? Transition Movement Understanding: PO + CC business as usual Adaptability, creative NOW 7 Buts 12 Steps Transition Network Transition US

37 Transition Northfield Initiating Group A small core, usually 3-5 people, who serve as Transition catalysts in the local community. Founders and pioneers, these folks serve up to 2 years and from the beginning plan their own demise. Objectives: Awareness Raising Great Unleashing Form Working Groups Form Core Team

38 Transition Northfield Our Vision (goal) We envision a vibrant, resilient, and socially equitable community committed to respect and care for each other and our natural world that is prepared to meet our basic needs by relocalizing our sources of food, energy, and health care in the face of oil depletion, climate change, and economic instability.

39 Transition Northfield Our Mission (how we will get there) Approved by the Initiating Group October 31, 2009. In the spirit of collaboration we will use Transition tools and our communitys diverse wisdom to create an energy descent plan and move us from our current non-renewable ways of meeting our basic needs to a sustainable, localized culture.

40 How to start?

41 Whats stopping us? (1) Dominant myths of today Dominant myths of today –Things are getting better –Economic growth is good –We must keep shopping –Technology will solve all our problems –There is no alternative –You cant stop progress –Living standards are rising –Humans are selfish and greedy by nature –The market will solve it –Were all doomed…

42 Transition Model – 7 buts (1) 1) we dont have funding 2) they wont let us – no enemies… apparently 3) turf wars with other green groups

43 Transition Model – 7 buts (2) 4) no one cares about the environment 5) its too late anyway 6) I dont have the right qualifications 7) I dont have the energy to be doing that

44 Can we respond? Going up the energy slope, we used Going up the energy slope, we used –ingenuity –creativity –adaptability –cooperation Going back down… –if were early enough –if were cooperative –the future could be a whole lot better…

45 Where are we going? Industrial Ascent Energy useEnergy use Resource useResource use Environmental degradationEnvironmental degradation PollutionPollution Peak Energy? Techno-Fantasy Green-Tech Stability Earth stewardship Post Mad Max Collapse Great Grand Children Agriculture 10.000yrs BP Industrial Revolution Baby Boom Pre-industrial culture Historical Time Future Time Creative Descent (Permaculture)

46 Whats stopping us? (2) Cognitive Load Theory (fruit salad experiment) Cognitive Load Theory (fruit salad experiment) Short term vs long term thinking Short term vs long term thinking –rational vs emotional, neocortex vs mammalian vs reptilian Belief in authority figures Belief in authority figures –electrocution experiment - 65% gave lethal dose –obedient children survive Sunk cost, or investment in the present Sunk cost, or investment in the present –its difficult convincing a person of something when his job depends on him not believing it Optimism Optimism –an optimistic outlook is neurochemically self-fulfilling

47 Transition Process - Step 1 Set Up a Steering Group and Design Its Demise from the Outset atrophy personal agendas humility stages 2-5 reforms from subgroups

48 Transition Process - Step 2 Awareness raising allies and networks prepare community movies talks events

49 Transition Process - Step 3 Lay the foundations other groups existing projects official bodies businesses collaboration

50 Transition Process - Step 4 Organise a Great Unleashing coming of age powerful, passionate, informative, inspirational timing content making connections

51 Transition Model - Step 5 Form working groups starting new groups bringing in existing groups guidelines training working groups and the steering group

52 Transition Model - Step 6 Use Open Space shouldnt work! one long coffee break World Café Harrison Owen - Open Space Technology: A Users Guide Peggy Holman and Tom Devane - The Change Handbook: Group Methods for Shaping the Future

53 Transition Model - Step 7 Develop visible practical manifestations of your project not a talking shop chose carefully lure in fence-sitters team building potential getting dirt under your fingernails

54 Transition Process - Step 8 Facilitate the Great Reskilling Grandma, what was it like when you were a kid? repairing, cooking, fixing bikes, natural building, loft insulation, dyeing, herbal walks, gardening, basic home energy efficiency, making sour doughs, practical food growing (the list is endless…)

55 Transition Process - Step 9 Build bridges to Local Government becomes crucial dont wait too long… open door Community Development Plan elections…!

56 Transition Process - Step 10 Honor the Elders elders as a community resource 1930 to 1960 – moving from oil scarcity to abundance oral history community infrastructure not about going backwards

57 Transition Process - Step 11 Let it go where it wants to go… focus on the questions unleash the community any sense of control is illusory

58 Transition Process - Step 12 Produce and start to implement the Energy Descent Action Plan assess current situation create 15-20 year vision for all key areas integrate with community plan if possible identify steps needed to get there start the work

59 Energy Descent Action Plan 1. Establish a baseline 2. Get hold of existing local community strategy plans 3. Create an overall positive vision of the community 15-20 years in the future 4. Create a detailed vision 5. Backcast in detail 6. Transition Tales to provide a tangible sense through creative media 7. Pull together the backcasts into an overall plan 8. Create a first draft 9. Finalize the EDAP 10. Celebrate! Always a good thing to do. Free download Transition Primer @

60 Resilience Indicators….. While some indicators will be universal, many will be place- specific and will emerge from the EDAP process. Percentage of food grown locally Amount of local currency in circulation as a percentage of total money in circulation Number of businesses locally owned Average commuting distances for workers in the town Average commuting distance for people living in the town but working outside it Percentage of energy produced locally Percentage of local trade carried out in local currency Quantity of renewable building materials

61 And more…. What are the resilience indicators for your community? Proportion of essential goods being manufactured within the community of within a given distance Proportion of compostable "waste" that is actually composted Ratio of car parking space to productive land use Amount of traffic on local roads Percentage of medicine prescribed locally that have been produced within a given radius. Amount of 16 year olds able to grow 10 different varieties of vegetables to a given degree of competency Percentage of local building materials used in new housing developments


63 Positive Visioning Transition initiatives are based on a dedication to the creation of tangible, clearly expressed and practical visions of community life beyond dependence on fossil fuels.

64 Trust and Empower- ment Transition initiatives are based on telling people the closest version of the truth that we know in times when the information available is deeply contradictory, and then empowering appropriate responses.

65 Inclusion and Openness Successful Transition initiatives depend on the unprecedented coming together of diverse sections of society.

66 Sharing and Networking Information sharing and learning are key principles of resilient ecologies that are central to transition.

67 Building Resilience How communities respond to shocks is critical to the transitional path beyond fossil-fuel dependency. The movement is explicit in its intention to build resilience across key economic sectors (including food, energy and transport) and across a range of appropriate scales – from local to national.

68 Inner and Outer Transition Transition is a catalyst to shifting values and unleashing the energy and creativity of people to do what they are passionate about.

69 Subsidiarity Self-organization and decision making at the appropriate scale are key principles drawn from resilient ecological systems.

70 Assuming these are accurate IFs…….. If/Then scenario Continuous growth within a finite system (such as planet earth) is impossible. Reductions in fossil fuel energy availability is inevitable Industrial society has lost the resilience to be able to cope with energy shocks Peak Oil, Climate Change and Financial Instability require urgent action

71 Determining these are reasonable THENs…. It is better to plan for change than be taken by surprise We have to act together and we have to act now

72 We are the people we have been waiting for! We demonstrated phenomenal levels of ingenuity and intelligence as we raced up the energy curve over the last 150 years, and we can use those qualities, and more, as we negotiate our way down from the peak of the energy mountain. If we plan and act early enough, and use our creativity and cooperation to unleash the genius within our local communities, then we can build a future that could be far more fulfilling and enriching, more connected and gentler on the earth than the lifestyles we have today.

73 Training for Transition Cost: Dependent on the local host to cover expenses, generally about $200/participant for 2 days with 2 trainers. Who: Those who are in Transition or interested in starting a local initiative Have a clear understanding of the context for Transition Initiatives, the current global situation and the transformational possibilities that arise from climate change, peak oil prices and the economic crisis. Know what the Transition process is–including an in-depth look at the 12 steps, from inspiration, setting up the initiating group, all the way to having active and effective working groups. Have experienced a joint visioning process. Understand how to organize effective meetings such as public talks, open space days, and small theme working groups. Understand the purpose and principles of an Energy Descent Action Plan. Have the outline of an effective and inspiring talk on the Transition movement. Have formed useful contacts with other Transition initiatives and individuals interested in the Transition model. Have a plan of action for themselves and their locality.

74 Cheerful Disclaimer! Just in case you were under the impression that Transition is a process defined by people who have all the answers, you need to be aware of a key fact. We truly don't know if this will work. Transition is a social experiment on a massive scale. What we are convinced of is this: If we wait for the governments, it'll be too little, too late If we act as individuals, it'll be too little But if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time.


76 Working board of directors 2.25 position office staff Provide information on best practices, share stories, provide tools, resources, online and in- person training and networking, encouragement, support, and respond to the needs of 61 Transition Initiatives in the United States National hub for the international Transition Movement

77 Contact info: Patricia Benson 952.607.9775 Transition Northfield Transition US City of Northfield

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