- What are "Benchmarks"?
- What are Ephemeralization Projects?
- What Do You Mean When You Use the Term "Community"?
- What Do You Mean When You Use the Term "Transitional Community"?
- What Does "Crunch!" or "Crunch Time" Mean?
- What Does It Mean to Be a "Contributor" of The Transition?
- What Does Intentional Community (IC) Mean?
- What Does It Mean to Be a Cultural Creative?
- What Does It Mean to be a "Seed" or "Seed Person" of a BUD?
- What Does It Mean to Be a "Supporter" of The Transition?
- What Does "Right Livelihood" Mean?
- What Does Using "Stone Soup Principles" Mean?
- What Does the Term "Communalistic" Mean?
- What is a Commune?
- What is Communalism?
- What is Egalitarianism?
- What is "Formal Consensus"?
- What is "Revaluation Counseling"?
- What is The Transition Inter-Community Network (TIN) ?
- What is Transition Tuesdays?
- What is a BUD?
- What is a Collective?
- What is a "Communitarian"?
- When Someone Says "Solidarity not charity." What Does That Mean?
- What is Mutual Aid?
- Who is a Community Member?
- What is a "Contributorship"?
- What is a Global Egalitarian System?
- What is a "Home-mate"?
- What is a Hybrid Co-op Business?
- What is a Social Change Network?
- What is a Seed Team?
- What is a “Stone Soup” Inventory?
- Who is a TIN Person(s)?
- What is a Trust?
- What is an Eco-village?
- What is a Transparency Group?
Benchmarks are arrived at and used -via The Scientific Method- to empirically define efficiency ratings for resources as well as defining Environmental Limits. They are also used as criteria to certify a Transitional Community or Hybrid Co-op Business as an official The Transition Transitional Community or Hybrid Co-op Business as a means to keep our Contributors happy, safe and secure.
First, to understand Ephemeralization projects one must understand what Ephemeralization means. Ephemeralization is a term coined by R. Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller. It is the ability of technological advancement to do "more and more with less and less until eventually you can do everything with nothing".
It is The Transition's desire to allocate resources to projects that can do the most good with as little resources as possible. To do so we ask that our Contributors propose an Ephemeralization Project in order for all of our Contributors to review and give feedback on the feasibility or the improvements that need to be made to the plan before resources are given. Once approval of the concept is given and all concerns are addressed it will then:
- Be shared in The Transition's e-mail newsletters as a means to collect tangible items the project needs
- Posted in the Classifieds if it needs tangible goods or skill sets
- Be forwarded to TIN persons to see if they will commit to the project
- Be added to The Cooking Pot if it needs financing
- If it succeeds in raising half of its financial goal in The Cooking Pot it will be given a matching financial gift from The Transition
- Be showcased on Transition Tuesdays and or our blog that features updates within The Transition Inter-Community Network, so our Contributors can see the progress all of us are making all over the world
The Transition uses the same definition for community as our forebears that came before us. We mean a commonly understood commitment between people to look out for each other; to come to each other's assistance in times of need (both personal and political); to think together about the way the world works and what needs to be done about it; and to insist with each other that we take decisive actions. You will notice that we did not say community consists of a group of people living in a house or houses together or living in a farm in the country...But, "community" is broader than that and it is not limited to communal living. It can occur among workers in a factory, among neighbors, among individuals or families living in apartments or houses by themselves. For organizational purposes The Transition refers to these types of "communities" as BUDs.
Source: Building Social Change Communities
Contributors: Peter Woodrow, Susanne Terry, The Training/ Action Affinity Group of Movement for a New Society
Suggested Reading: Building Social Change Communities
A Transitional Community is similar to the term Community, but is slightly different in that it goes a little bit further. Transitional Communities consist of a BUD or multiple BUDs that are part of a cooperative arrangement in which people are living in a dwelling or multiple clustered dwellings together. Their goal is to grow and create neighborhoods or villages of compatibility with inter-familial relationships, more self-sufficiency, and economically benefitual ways of life.They do so with the intention of living and supporting all of those that are part of that Transitional Community and communally share items and resources to eliminate costs. They may even co-own community Hybrid Co-op businesses.
BUDs in The Transition Inter-Community Network can respond to requests from other BUDs, Intentional Communities, Co-ops etc. for help during times of crises (particularly crucial points of a direct action campaign, for aid with financial difficulties, or for assistance in resolving internal conflicts). Crunch! calls may come from far away BUDs, Intentional Communities, Co-ops etc.
The Transition website is not just offering "free material"- our team and fellow Contributors are investing in YOU! We want you to invest in yourself, first with time by being a Supporter. We know if you like what you see here on the site, you will follow through with the steps outlined in Your Action Plan. Once you see real results you will break free from the consumer mindset this current system has reinforced and start being a producer who invests more time and Contributes financially as well. Contributors know that a site like this deserves people who take action right away or are smart enough to leave so others can make cultural shift happen without them. Active users on this site are NOT here to waste time. Many of the techniques and methods shared on this site have worked for hundreds of thousands of people. This is not material based on theory, but time-tested "in the trenches" life experiences that span the course of decades. People who have excuse after excuse about why they are unable to accomplish the items found in the Action Plan, are best left to spending more time on their own personal beliefs rather than reading social change related websites.
Anyone can talk a big game about what they’re going to do. A Contributor is someone who was once a Supporter, but wants to become more proactive and is assisting with a monthly contribution to be used as pooled funds to help The Transition grow, create and implement programs that in turn create social change.
Intentional Communities (aka ICs) are formed when people choose to live with or near enough to each other to carry out a shared lifestyle, within a shared culture and with a common purpose. Most intentional Communities share land or housing or live in adjacent properties, though a few are non-residential. Most govern themselves with some form of participatory democracy, such as Consensus decision-making, super-majority voting, or majority-rule voting. Relatively few (usually spiritual or religious communities) are governed by a spiritual or religious leader or a group of leaders.
The common purpose of Communities vary widely, The Transition is trying to unify them to move in the same direction to help create a more resilient future for all of humanity. Ecovillages, for example are Intentional Communities which model and demonstrate ecologically sustainable lifestyles. They can be urban or rural.
Sources: The Findhorn Book of Community Living, Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community
Contributors: Bill Metcalf, Diana Leafe Christian
Recommended Reading: Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community
Cultural Creatives are people who value environmentally sustainable living, co-operation, and a sense of Community (and perhaps have a spiritual practice)- but may not know much about Ecovillages or Intentional Communities and would enjoy learning more.
Contributors: Diana Leafe Christian
Recommended Books: Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community
A "Seed" or "Seed Person" is one of two things or possibly both:
Not everyone who creates or founds a BUD is outgoing or likes to speak in public settings therefore the BUD might select someone other than the founder of the group to act as a spokesperson or point of contact for them.
A basic first step in the pursuit of right livelihood is to look at ways to reduce expenses, either by conserving resources or by reducing consumption-improving efficiency, buying better-made products that last longer, developing renewable technologies (such as solar), sharing, reusing, recycling, rationing, repairing, improvising, and doing without.
Perhaps the most powerful choice we can make to reduce expenses is to change our attitudes to realize that we can live comfortably well with considerably less, that we can reject the pervasive and often subliminal message of advertisers to "buy, buy, buy"... that we won't be modern enough, beautiful enough, rich enough, or normal enough unless we use their particular dish soap, deodorant, designer clothes, alcohol, automobiles, insurance, or investment, program.
Contributors: Geoph Kozeny
Recommended Reading: Communities Magazine Issue #94
To understand Stone Soup Principles you must first come to know of the story Stone Soup. Stone Soup is an old folk story in which hungry strangers trick the local people of a town to share their food. The story is usually told as a lesson in cooperation, especially amid scarcity. In varying traditions, the stone has been replaced with other common inedible objects, and therefore the fable is also known as button soup, wood soup,nail soup, and axe soup.
"Once upon a time, somewhere in Eastern Europe, there was a great famine. People jealously hoarded whatever food they could find, hiding it even from their friends and neighbors. One day, a peddler drove his wagon into the village, sold a few of his wares, and began asking questions as if he planned to stay for the night. "There's not a bite to eat in the whole province," he was told. "Better keep moving on." "Oh, I have everything I need," he said. "in fact, I was thinking of making some stone soup to share with all of you." He pulled an iron cauldron from his wagon, filled it with water, and built a fire under it. Then, with great ceremony, he drew an ordinary-looking stone from a velvet bag and dropped it into the water. By now, hearing the rumor of food, most of the villagers had come to the square or watched from their windows in curiosity. As the peddler sniffed the "broth" and licked his lips in anticipation, hunger began to overcome their skepticism. "Ahh," the peddler said to himself rather loudly, "I do like a tasty stone soup." The peddler recalled another time when he had enjoyed stone soup with some friends. "One of them happened to have some carrots to add to the pot, and Oh how it sweetened the broth," he exclaimed. "I may have a carrot or two," said one of the villagers. He went and fetched some from his home and put them in the pot. Others in the village soon began to recall their favorite soups. As they did, the few items tucked away in their cupboards came to mind. One after another they were off. They returned with some potatoes, onions, salt beef and so on until there was indeed a delicious meal for all. From that day on, long after the famine had ended, they reminisced about the finest soup they had ever eaten. The End"
This story celebrates the importance of engaging and organizing resources for the common good. It's amazing what can be achieved when people are inspired and motivated to bring their resources together.
Commune is a loaded term. Most people think hippies and the 60's, free love, drugs, etc. These kinds of communes certainly existed, some still exist today, and many contemporary communes embody aspects of their culture. People also think cult. And there is truth behind this association as well. But most communes are not cults, and communes as a social structure are much bigger than those started in the 60's.
The basic description of a commune in Wikipedia works pretty well:
"A commune (the French word appearing in the 12th century from Medieval Latin communia, meaning a large gathering of people sharing a common life; from Latin communis, things held in common) is an intentional community of people living together, sharing common interests, often having common values and beliefs, as well as shared property, possessions, resources, and, in some communes, work and income and assets. In addition to the communal economy, consensus decision-making, non-hierarchical structures and ecological living have become important core principles for many communes."
This points to a history most people have no idea about, including people who live in intentional communities of all kinds. Some people like to say that monasteries were the first communes. Others speculate that communes were the standard social structure before civilization. But what does it mean to be a commune today?
Contributors: The Federation of Egalitarian Communities Members
Suggested Reading: What Is a Commune?
COMMUNALism is not to be confused with thw word COMMUNism.
Communalism within the context of our organization The Transition, is a system of government according to which each Transitional Community is highly localized independent state and The Transition is merely a federation of such states. Those who participate in communalism practice the principles of communal ownership.
Egalitarianism is a trend of thought that favors equality for all people. Egalitarian doctrines maintain that all humans are equal in fundamental worth or social status. The Transition advocates egalitarianism based on justice not just equality.
To illustrate this concept imagine cookies have been made for everyone.
If everyone was treated equally only the cookies would be all the same kind like chocolate chip and distributed to everyone in equal number.
Now in comparison if the situation was treated justly the number of people wanting cookies would be considered as well as the needs of those who want them. So in this scenario multiple types of cookies might be made because:
- someone is allergic to nuts
- someone is diabetic
- someone is on a diet and only wants to eat one
You see it makes no sense to make cookies for people who will not eat them. It is also not nice to force people to eat cookies they do not want, like, or are allergic to or can harm them in any way. So in a just egalitarian world (the one we are creating) people's needs and the demand is considered before taking the actions necessary to bring it to fruition.
To further explain this concept of Just Egalitarianism please refer to this popular internet meme:
Many groups regularly use diverse discussion techniques learned from practitioners in the field of Conflict Resolution. Although this website does include several techniques, The Transition uses a structure based in part off of the structure used in Formal Consensus.
Formal Consensus is a structure that creates a separation between the identification and the resolution of concerns. It is a model of Decision-making based on non-hierarchical and Egalitarian structures that is cooperative and inclusive in nature. Formal Consensus has a clearly defined structure. It requires a commitment to active cooperation, disciplined speaking and listening, and respect for the contributions of every member. Likewise, every person has the responsibility to actively participate as a creative individual within the structure.
This structure is presented in levels of cycles.
All participants are given an opportunity to express opinions, including concerns, but group time is not spent resolving problems. Some decisions can be reached after discussion at the first level.
At the second level, the scope of the discussion is limited to the concerns. They are identified and publicly listed, which enables everyone to get an overall picture of the concerns. The focus of attention is on identifying the body of concerns and grouping similar ones. The group only focuses its attention on identifying concerns, still not resolving them. (Note: This requires discipline. reactive comments, even funny ones, and resolutions, even good ones, can suppress the creative ideas of others.)
The group explores resolutions. Here the scope is very narrow. The focus of discussion is limited to a single unresolved concern until it is resolved.
Source: On Conflict & Consensus
Contributors: Amy Rothstein, C.T. Butler
Recommended Books: On Conflict on Consensus
Revaluation Counseling is a form of peer counseling where people, usually in pairs, take turns being client and counselor. The purpose of the counseling is to feel and "discharge," through laughter, tears, anger,shivering, etc., painful feelings from the past that keep us from being completely alive and functioning in the present.
Transition Tuesdays is an "edutainment" (educational entertainment) show produced by The Transition with new episodes released on Tuesdays. It is used as a platform to share updates on our Transitional Communities and Hybrid Co-op Businesses progress, showcase paradigm shifting discussion and debate, provide nourishing recipes for healthy meals, as well as highlight technological advancements and techniques. Note:This project is not yet underway as of 2-27-15. If interested in participating please Contact Us.
BUD stands for Basic Unit of Decision-Making. It is an acronym and phrase coined by C.T. Butler and first made public in his book Consensus for Cities. Although, the acronym and phrase can be used to explain any type of decision making process The Transition uses it in the context of how it's Contributors organize, make decisions (predominantly via Consensus), and continue the momentum we have carrying us into a better, brighter future.
A BUD is a small group which some refer to as an affinity group which is an ongoing small group where people engage in study, support for personal growth, and social change work. Such a group is small enough for people in it to get to know each other well. BUDs can also take on a task or issue to focus if they choose.
Within the context of Consensus there is never a time in a BUD when an individual needs to make a decision independent of the group. Every step is collective in nature. An individual participates by being a member of a group known as a BUD. The question before each person is not, "What do I want?", but "What do I think is in the best interest of the group of which I am a part?" This is a fundamental shift in thinking, for many.
A BUD is a minimum of 5 people and no more than 15. Should a BUD grow over 15 it needs to split much like cells. Those BUDs however can continue to communicate, work together and may even consider forming a Transition Community together. Everyone who is a member of a BUD belongs to at least that one BUD,but can belong to many others. There is no structural limit to the number of BUDs one person can identify with (but there is a physical limit). To participate in your community decision-making, you go to your local BUD meeting.
BUDs are the entry level or smallest unit of Consensus Decision-making. Everyone who wants to participate in the Decision-making of the Community are encouraged and expected to join or form a BUD, identify and participate in the BUD on a regular and ongoing basis. If you want to raise a concern about any issue at any level in your Community or propose a project, the place to start is with your BUD.
Source: Consensus for Cities
Contributors: C.T. Butler
Suggested Reading: Consensus for Cities
As the BUDs do their work and the network grows, people begin to coalesce around common interests or tasks that need to get done. Such groups can become Collectives (or if they choose to participate in communal living Communities).There are a number of different kinds of Collectives-each has a structure implied by the task to be performed, but no 2 collectives function alike. The basic kinds of Collectives are:
Community Maintenance Groups
Source: Building Social Change Communities
Contributors: Peter Woodrow
Suggested Reading: Building Social Change Communities
Also known as "Communards". Communitarians are individuals who tend to discard the atonomous perspective of living in exchange for a communal lifestyle. These types of individuals tend to be well-integrated into Communities are better able to reason and act in responsible ways than isolated individuals, but should social pressure to conform rise to high levels, may find themselves undermining their individual self.
Charity alleviates the symptoms caused by an unjust system but doesn't challenge the root problems, and it often puts those providing the charity in a position of power OVER those who it 'helps' with benevolence or feeling good for helping out. Solidarity, on the other hand, implies that our struggles are intertwined.
Sources: Treasure City Thrift
Recommended Reading: Treasure City Thrift
Mutual aid is a voluntary giving of material goods, resources, or labor to others in a shared community with the expectation that all will benefit. Mutual aid is not barter; groups and individuals give what they can or what they want to. In this way, participation in mutual aid is a way to put into practice the idea that individuals and groups can be trusted to make economic decisions that affect them and their communities.
Sources: Treasure City Thrift
Recommended Reading: Treasure City Thrift
The Transition does not have "members" to our site like some sort of elite club where people are excluded from participating. We have what we call Contributors because they CONTRIBUTE. Contributors have more access to resources and connections because they are the ones who have stood up and said "I will take accountability for making the change I wish to see in the world". They aren't afraid to break a sweat, get dirty, and meet new people; and The Transition rewards them by curating useful material from leading experts and material from all over the web, as a means to support their strong work ethic and perseverance.
A Global Egalitarian System expands on the definition of Egalitarianism. The concept works to eradicate the oppressive "isms" structures associated with the ideology of Nationalism, Sexism, Classism, Racism, and Adultism (the unnecessary and oppressive wielding of power over children by adults) and other similar mindsets that work to create barriers between each other as a species, on a global scale.
Home-mate is a term that those who participate in The Transition use to describe someone with whom they live. We use this term because people live in a variety of ways and using a term like "housemate" or "roommate" is not very all encompassing to the many ways our Contributors live. This term is also used because it is through our work at The Transition that we feel wherever you live it is not just a building or structure you live in, but a place that acts as your sanctuary and where you feel most comfortable. We feel "home" creates that sense of warmth and belonging when we use it in this way.
A Hybrid Co-op Business (also shortened to just Co-op Business within The Transition Inter-Community Network) is traditionally a business owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services. Profits and earnings generated by the cooperative are distributed among the members, also known as user-owners. The Transition takes this concept further by advocating and encouraging Hybrid Co-op Businesses within The Transition Inter-Community Network to do 4 things.
- Provide their goods and services FREE to the Contributors who founded and are a part of the business
- Provide their goods and services FREE to any Contributors who are part of The Transition Inter-Community Network
- Only sell for monetary exchange of their goods and services when it comes to doing business with the outside public
- Distribute all profits and earnings to the BUD or Transitional Community that operates the business and assumes responsibility for its function
It is mentioned that this site acts as a social change network. What does that mean exactly?
A network is a way to encourage autonomy while providing a means of coordination for the serious struggles that lie before us in our efforts to effect major changes in our society. In a network, each unit (in The Transition's case a BUD) has the ability to decide its own direction, in communication and coordination with others.
Source: Building Social Change Communities
Contributors: Peter Woodrow, The Training/Action Affinity Group of Movement for a New Society
Recommended Reading: Building Social Change Communities
A "Seed" or "Seed Person" is one of two things or possibly both:
One of the most challenging pieces of the Transitional Community idea for a lot of people is fully pooling income. People often say things like:
- Organic healthy meals cooked for them from scratch twice a day
- Safe Housing
- Internet access
- Home theater
- Exercise room
- Hot tub
- Personal shopper
- Professional party planners
- As much sick leave as they need
- Generous vacation and extended leave policies
- Retirement and hospice care
- Maternity and paternity leave system that puts the Scandinavians to shame
- And the kicker: they do it all working fewer hours than national average and on an annual income around or well below the poverty line.
In the status quo individualist economy the expectation is that everyone is responsible for taking care of their needs individually and that they need to go into the market and win money for themselves to do that. If you want to act collaboratively or purchase collectively or own cooperatively then every time you need to go to extra effort and make a special system in order to pool your resources. When you switch to a common economy where all the income is shared as a default then acting collaboratively, purchasing collectively, and owning cooperatively becomes the default and if you want to buy or own anything individually you need to go to extra effort and make a special system in order to shave off some of that collective income for your individual use. Switching to a unified holistic common economy saves a ton of overhead since you no longer need to attend separate meetings to manage your worker co-op, food co-op, car co-op, childcare co-op, housing co-op, buying club, etc. nor do you need to do all the separate accounting for them. Not only can you consolidate management tasks and allow specialization within your group, you can also forgo quite a lot of accounting since you don’t need to keep track of every individual member’s input and output to each particular coop. The difficulty of managing an a la carte cooperative economy is expressed well by Oscar Wilde’s purported quip “the problem with socialism is that there just aren’t enough evenings in the week”.
The savings from cooperation and from lowering the overhead of that cooperation not only allow the members of the Transitional Community to live better lives more easily on less, it allows them to more easily reach out into the wider world with a large impact. Collectively we can maintain larger facilities for the benefit of the wider Community, donate more resources to causes we believe in, and make the time to organize, agitate, and support if we just put our heads together.
Stone Soup Inventory was named after the story of Stone Soup which is an old folk story in which hungry strangers persuade the local people of a town to share their food: which in the end benefits the group by combining their individual resources making the whole greater than the sum of its parts. The story is usually told as a lesson in cooperation, especially amid scarcity. In varying traditions, the stone has been replaced with other common inedible objects, and therefore the fable is also known as button soup, wood soup, nail soup, and axe soup.
In bringing the moral of the story to life BUDs that take part in the transition our encouraged via Our Plan to create a "Stone Soup" Inventory with each contributing members individual resources (this also scales up to Transitional Community, Transitional Eco-Village etc. as the group progresses through Our Plan).
For resource management and accounting these are good items to consider as additions to the group's "pot" :
- Intellectual property
- Systems designs, blueprints, digital designs, etc.
- Professional skills/Services (plumbing, electrician, nutritionist, etc)
- Legal Intellectual property (copyrights, patents, trademarks, etc.)
- Hobby knowledge
- Volunteer experience
- World data/events
- Physical property (3d printers, tools, vehicles, cookware, silverware, clothing, etc)
- Social Resources
- Contacts and networks
- Representation at Associations, Clubs, and Conferences
- Contributed Income
Sources: With Our Powers Combined...
Recommended Reading: Point A Blog
TIN people are Contributors belonging to The Transition Inter-Community Network. They have skill sets that they can share with others and often times may travel and stay at Transitional Communities and help out at Hybrid Co-op Businesses. They might also be sent out to aid in starting these types of new ventures as well for support of the BUD(s) that is founding them. If you are interested in becoming a TIN Person within The Transition Inter-Community Network please Contact Us to find out how.
A trust is confidence placed in a person by making that person the nominal owner of property to be held or used for the benefit of one or more others. When in written form it is a legally binding contract and commitment to those who sign it. The Transition highly recommends all BUDs create a trust so everyone understands the expectations that exist for their participation. You can view The Transition Team's Trust and use it as a guideline to design your own.
A human-scale, full-featured settlement, in which human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural world in a way that is supportive of healthy human development and can be successfully continued into the indefinite future. Eco-village members tend to live as sustainably as they can, which often includes (depending on their setting) growing much of their own organic food, living in passive-solar homes, made of natural materials such as Stawbale or Cob, generating their own renewable energy, car-pooling and/or using biodiesel fuels and so on.
Sources: Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities, Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community
Contributors: Diana Leafe Christian, Diane Gilman, Robert Gilman
Recommended Reading: Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities, Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community
A group of people willing to share intimate information about themselves with each other, who are willing to explore their histories and emotions. While transparency groups are not designed to be healing in nature, it is generally the case that these groups/practices improve the lives of those who try them.
Contributor: Paxus Calta-Star
Recommended Reading: Transparency Tools & Transparency Groups Fingerbook
If not then leave us a suggestion on how it can be improved