REconomy Project update, July 2013

Published on July 31, 2013 in Blog, Project news
This is a regular update with important project news. This might at some stage morph into a newsletter, but for now this is also featured in the monthly round-up over on Transition Network, and also in the Transition Newsletter.


brixton coverWe have just published the final part of the Economic Evaluation/Blueprint trilogy (is that a bit too grand?!) – Transition Town Brixton’s reports are now available online.

Adding to the work that was completed in Totnes and Herefordshire earlier this year, the Brixton reports illustrate the opportunities and the challenges faced by a a highly urban area when it looks to re-localise its food economy and grow a whole new energy sector (renewables and domestic retrofitting). Duncan Law, who led the work for TTB, explains more about the project here. All the reports from all 3 places can be downloaded here.

Collectively these 3 pilot projects have contributed an enormous amount of learning about one way to go about transforming our local economic systems, when facilitated by a Transition Initiative in partnership with local stakeholders. We’ll be publishing more about the collective story after the summer break, when we will be looking to publicise far and wide what we think is a truly transformative approach to some, if not all, of our economic troubles (which of course also addresses the social and the environmental challenges, in true Transition style). Meanwhile here are some reflections on the work in Herefordshire.

If you are interested in running a similar process where you live, then you might be interested in our online training course “How to do an economic evaluation”. The pilot course has just gotten underway, with a TI from Germany, Portugal and the UK helping us try out this new approach to training. We’ll share more about this over the next few months, and hope to offer it up for public participation later in the year.




On the media front, I was invited to talk on behalf of Transition/REconomy at Bristol’s Big Green Week last month. The topic was…

“Beyond Eco-Campaigning – what next for the environmental movement? While the stakes could not be higher, are green groups in the doldrums; virtually invisible, largely ineffective and mostly ignored by both government and the electorate? Can we move from the defensive to the offensive? Protesting is relatively easy. Building political pressure for a new type of economic order is much harder. Tonight’s panel to discuss where next for the environmental movement are John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK,  Fiona Ward, who leads the Transition Network’s REconomy Project, Charles Secrett, former head of Friends of the Earth, Juliet Davenport, CEO and founder of Good Energy, and chaired by Jonathon Porritt, founder-director of Forum for the Future.”

The film of the event is below (thanks Mike Thomas) and my brief bit starts at 5:30 for about 8 minutes, followed by the other speakers. General questions start at 39:00. It was the first time I had done something like this, an ‘expert’ panel, and it felt rather daunting but I learned some useful things. I also thought up much better answers to the questions over the next couple of days!



Even though I was one of the speakers, which helped keep my attention highly focused, I found the format of the talk a bit too traditional (dare I say erm, a bit boring). With about 100 people in the audience, surely there could have been a better way of getting their knowledge and ideas in a more participatory way, and all of us learning from each other, rather than this standard Q&A approach. I think this is a strength of Transition – the design of participatory events and activities – and I miss it when it’s not there.

In terms of the content, I do not label myself as an Environmentalist – I am partly that, but I am also a lot of other things (as is Transition) and for me one of the issues with Environmentalism is often it has a one-dimensional focus. I felt this came across in many of the questions and the challenges to Charles and John S in particular – that “environmentalism/Greenpeace/FoE is not working, so do more of it, try harder, lobby more…” rather than looking at the multi-dimensional approach that’s needed to address the question here, which was actually framed as building “pressure for a new type of economic order” but which did not feature strongly, in my opinion. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

If you are looking for other interesting REconomy things, then see the full set of blogs here, there are some great posts by guest authors like this one about NESTA’s Living Map of Job Innovators, experimental currencies in Sweden or the edge between protest and prototyping.

Like our Facebook page for lots of REconomy related articles, thoughts and discussions or follow us on twitter @REconomyProject.

Have a lovely doing nothing summer break, if you can, and see you back in the autumn when we will be sharing more news about our campaign to define the New Economy in 20 Enterprises.


Credits: main image Transition Town Brixton.