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October 5, 2012

By: Kirti Bhadresa

Summary: September 29, 2012 Film Screening of "Transition 2.0" & Discussion Panel
(part of EcoLiving Fair)
Host: Arusha Centre

For 40 years, the Arusha Centre has been helping Calgarians live more sustainably. The hub connects people, helping them find the resources to grow their own food, start community-based projects, and support a vibrant local economy using Calgary Dollars. Arusha also helps individuals reduce their dependence on oil by promoting alternative forms of transportation, including biking. All the while, Arusha encourages people to be creative, meet people, and have a lot of fun.

As part of the 10th anniversary of the EcoLiving Fair, Arusha screened the film “In Transition 2.0”. The screening room at SAIT was packed, with over 100 people in attendance.

“In Transition 2.0” is about a movement that has taken hold of almost 1,000 communities around the world - a movement that also mirrors much of the work Arusha has been doing in Calgary for decades. The film features a series of stories of Transition groups, interviewing people who are starting up sustainability projects in their communities, and includes stories of success and failure from the UK, where the movement began.

Some Transition groups start with the simple act of growing fruits and vegetables, or making food to share with neighbours. “Reconnecting with food is a fantastic metaphor for reconnecting with everything in your life,” says a bread baker in the film.

Other Transition groups have taken on more large-scale and complex ambitions, like setting up alternative energy sources, including solar, for local households.

The goal of all of these groups is the same, to become more sustainable. According to the Transition Network website, “Transition Initiatives, community by community, are actively and cooperatively creating happier, fairer and stronger communities, places that work for the people living in them and are far better suited to dealing with the shocks that'll accompany our economic and energy challenges and a climate in chaos.”

While the global issues humankind faces are enormous and often overwhelming, Transition offers people a series of concrete steps to join with their neighbours, making their own communities more resilient. The film emphasizes that as Transitioners simplify their lives, they also become happier.

“It’s a lot of fun,” says one participant. “It’s so rewarding, so nourishing.”

The film screening was followed by a discussion panel with four local experts: Local farmer and food activist Kris Vester, Federal Green Party candidate Chris Turner, MLA Dr. David Swann and Olympic medalist Kristina Groves.

The panel emphasized the importance of all of the actions taking place in the film, but also stressed the value of being engaged in the political process as a way to create lasting change.

“Don’t write off democracy,” says Kris Vester. “There is a great deal of unused potential to make massive change happen.”

True to the Arusha way, the event left participants feeling hopeful and inspired. In the wise words of Chris Turner, “Let us together reinvest in where we are, and see where it leads us.”

 

This article is part of a new series of REAP event summaries, helping to capture the content and insights generated by REAP’s ongoing events. Kirti Bhadresa is REAP Member and local entrepreneur. For more information visit www.caboose-ink.ca.

 

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