SINCE ITS FOUNDING in 2008, Transition Town Charlotte has celebrated some modest but gratifying successes in putting Charlotte on the path to relocalization, re-skilling, and resilience.
The genesis of Transition Town Charlotte was the Charlotte Sustainable Living Network (CSLN), which was started about ten years ago, under the care of the Conservation Commission, to promote sustainable living in the midst of crazy consumerism. We had observed the destruction of the natural world, due largely to humans’ misuse of resources, and we were concerned about what kind of world we would be leaving to future generations. We brought in speakers, showed videos, held local food potlucks and were generally pleased with the interest shown by many in the community. Eventually we realized it was time to take action.
In 2008, when we learned of the Transition Movement, the CSLN organizers agreed to morph CSLN into Transition Town Charlotte. The Transition Movement started in England and has spread throughout the world, helping communities become resilient in the face of reduced resources, erratic climate and economic instability. This movement is not partisan—everyone is invited to the table to help create a stable community; participants are encouraged to have fun while doing the work and teach that our inner lives are as important as our outer actions.
Charlotte is an official Transition Town, registered with the worldwide Transition Network and Transition United States.
Between 2008 and 2012, with financial help from Efficiency Vermont and the Chittenden Solid Waste District, the core organizing group has facilitated seventy home energy visits, acquired reusable flatware for the Charlotte Central School and provided outdoor composters to various homes. We also offered nine re-skilling workshops in subjects like canning, raising poultry and tool sharpening; and we presented Vermont’s 20-year energy plan with our legislators and the Charlotte Congregational Church. We produced the Charlotte Community Assets Directory for our website and the Charlotte Library. We are a regular presence at the Charlotte Town Meeting and staff a table at the Charlotte Town Party each summer.
In 2012, in cooperation with the Charlotte Congregational Church, Transition Town Charlotte hosted a five-part film series on renewable fuel, and a showing of the film, Transition 2.0. We co-hosted the showing of the Bloom Series about Lake Champlain with the Charlotte Conservation Committee. In cooperation with the Charlotte Energy Committee and with a grant from the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network, we organized a green homes tour on St. Patrick’s Day and produced an informational video about home energy conservation. We also assisted with e-waste drop-off on Green Up Day. We planted a potato garden near the library in the spring; and, in September, we hosted a potato cook-off at the Charlotte Senior Center. This is an ongoing project; we plan to expand the garden in 2013.
On November 11, 2012, Transition Town Charlotte threw a “Celebrate Charlotte’s Future” festival at the Old Lantern. Over 70 people and their children attended and participated in small groups, sharing their visions for the future, coming together as friends and neighbors to map out ways in which we can become a more resilient community. Groups brainstormed about conservation, education, energy, food and agriculture, green building, health care, heart and soul, local government, public meeting places and transportation. It was hoped that these groups would continue in the months ahead as ad-hoc committees, helping to unite Charlotte around action on the various challenges to its future as a thriving community.
In the spring of 2013, one of these groups was already at work investigating the establishment of a community pub. Also in 2013, Transition Town Charlotte has shown the film The Tipping Point, in cooperation with the Charlotte Congregational Church, and is working with the Charlotte Conservation Commission, The Lewis Creek Association and the Charlotte Library on the Charlotte WatershED project, which has hosted three educational café’s so far this year, with more activities planned.