A look back

John Towndrow
A look back

This year Transition Cornwall+ is celebrating its 15th year in operation so I think it’s a good time to reflect on where we have come from and where things are going. Looking back, we expected that there would be a rapid adoption of this movement because the stakes were so high. What we learned is that a lot of patience was definitely required!


Transition Cornwall+ grew out of the 350.org event back in October 2009 when a small group held Library event called The Show of Hands for 350! as part of International Day of Climate Action.


After that event we asked ourselves “Now What”? Fortunately, one of our group already had the Transition Town handbook which seemed like the perfect place to start we got together and decided to establish local Transition Town group.


For the first six months the group focussed on understanding the background to the Transition Town movement which included transitioning to a low carbon economy and building local resilience. We had to learn about how well the community was informed and who could be our partners in this endeavour. We slowly built a following and held movie events, discussion groups, invited well known climate celebrities and staged activity events to highlight the need for action. Some of the team attended training courses in the transition movement, permaculture and negotiating skills in Canada and the US


So, where are we now, fifteen years later?

We could never have accomplished what we have done if it weren’t for the many partners and groups who have supported us and been on the same journey.

We are well known to the media as well as to municipalities and we have a reputation in the community as an advocacy group rather than a protest group. In other words, we offer solutions and encouragement rather than complaints and attacks. We know that people are more motivated by positive actions than spouting bad news.

We hold some key events that people have come to love, such as last month’s Transition into Spring and the upcoming Incredible Edible Plant Giveaway. We have also advocated for more urban tree canopy so check out the Tiny Forest@the Library to see our urban forest project.

We have continuously advocated for better pedestrian and cycling infrastructure to reduce our dependence on vehicles. Cornwall now has Silver status as a Bicycle Friendly Community. We have also supported municipal efforts to reduce our waste.

We applaud the incredible efforts of the City of Cornwall’s Sustainability Project Coordinator, Angela Parker, for being the driving force behind the City’s first ever Climate Action Plan, and the City’s first ever Youth for Climate Action Working Group, as well as co-founder of an annual Eco Day.  We also now have an Environment and Climate Change Committee that helped to declare a Climate Emergency. We like to think we have helped to ensure sustainability is part of the City’s mission and to spur these initiatives.

We now have four Action Groups – Food Action, Active Transportation, Waste Management, and Tree Action Arbre. Please send us your climate action stories – we’d love to share and it’s going to take everyone to ensure success.

Talk to us at upcoming events like Eco Day, April 20, Incredible Edible Plant Giveaway, June 1, and a Tallest Tree contest in June and check out the monthly Transition Cornwall+ article in the Seaway News and the Seeker Magazine. Please keep in touch at: transitioncornwall.com




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