Local green group moving from awareness to action

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From left are Transition Cornwall+ members John Towndrow, Lynn Macdonell, Neil MacLean, Angus McLeod and Susan Towndrow.

A three-year-old eco-advocacy group is making the move from creating public awareness about environmental concerns to taking action on issues concerning climate change and the like.

Transition Cornwall+, a grassroots organization that was originally created to help foster debate concerning environmental issues, is branching out to address specific concerns like fossil fuel dependance in small cities and growing food locally to reduce carbon footprints.

The message is simple - if local groups can prepare the regional population to deal with issues like the high cost of fossil fuels, as an example, motorists can be in a stronger position when the pump prices go up.

"If we build some resilience, then the shocks that come won't have as big an effect on the community," said John Towndrow, a member of Transition Cornwall+.

The group has steeped itself in environmental issues - the belief being that climate change is real and the time is now to begin addressing environmental concerns.

"The science is in on this, it is real," said Towndrow's wife Susan, also a member of Transition Cornwall+.

While much of the last three years has been spent educating the public on environmental issues, the group is branching out now, working as a catalyst to help create action groups that concentrate on specific areas of concern.

Already a local group has been created that is tackling envionmental issues concerning food, another is grappling with transportation concerns and a third is addressing issues related to energy conservation.

"This reallly takes all kinds of people, from children to seniors," said Transition Cornwall+ member Angus MacLeod, adding similar groups are springing up in communities across the globe. "This movement is part of something that is worldwide."

There are more than 50 cities in Canada with a Transition group. The Transition movement began in the United Kingdomm in 2005.

The Cornwall chapter is making a name for itself. It has recently joined the internet via a website (transitioncornwall.com) created by Myriam Gaudet, and members have been sought out by local media for comment on environmental issues.

Municipal officials are seeking partnerships too.

"We have a pressence on the City of Cornwall's website," said Towndrow. "And I was recently talking to city councilllor Bernadette Clement. She said that Transition Cornwall+ is well-known among city councillors and well respected.

"It means we are on the radar and we're recognized."

It's important that contacts be maintained. The group will continue to advocate that government officials continue to ensure infrastructure remains in place, and is augmented, concerning recreation paths and access to public transportation.

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