Do You Support a Transition to a More Sustainable, Resilient, and Self-Reliant Local Economy and Way of Life?

Our lovely town of Keene, New Hampshire, is blessed with many active citizens and organizations working to create an ever more livable and satisfying community. This community spirit will come in handy as our community faces increasing shocks and challenges due to peak oil, climate change, and a crisis-ridden global economy. Lots of good work has already begun here, but much still remains to be done to:

1) Dramatically reduce our overall energy use;

2) Shift from unsafe and declining fossil fuel resources to safe and renewable energy sources;

3)  Enhance the heart and soul of what we love most about our community–even as we face the end of the Age of Cheap and Abundant Oil; and

4) Relocalize our economy so Keene and the Monadnock region can increase its green-collar jobs and become more capable of producing many of the vital goods and services we need to survive and thrive in the years ahead.

If you support this agenda, then welcome to the Keene Transition Movement–an informal, but growing network of local people, organizations, businesses, and projects who are facing the challenges of peak oil, climate change, and an unsustainable and unjust global economy with creativity, courage, and a positive vision. (BTW, If you don’t believe that such a movement already exists in our town, just take a look at some of the “Great Local Groups” featured on the sidebar on the right of this webpage!)

The World-Wide Transition Movement

There is even more good news. We are not alone. Thousands of communities in countries all across the planet have started relocalization movements to address the same global challenges that we are facing in Keene and the Monadnock region. For just one example, here is a six minute peek at one of our sister communities all the way across the continent–the small rural town of Willits, California.


Hundreds of these local transition initiatives have also begun connecting together in larger national and international networks to learn from each other and inspire more experimentation and innovation. For a look at several of these networked transition communities in the United Kingdom and beyond, check out the engaging 50 minute online video below entitled In Transition 1.0.


How To Use This Website

This Relocalization website and blog is an online tool to help you link up with other citizens of Keene, learn more about how to accelerate our community’s transition to greater local sustainability and resilience, and find ways to take constructive action steps with others. Our hope is that the interactive sharing and resources on this website will help inspire, inform, educate, and activate the citizens of Keene and the surrounding area–and link us all to the larger transition movement in the United States and around the world.

Please join the conversation by bookmarking this website, subscribing to our “Keene’s Transition Blog;” commenting on the posts; sending us your submissions and organizational announcements; and sharing your ideas for improving this website. Also, please regularly check out the growing list of useful and inspiring local, national, and international transition resources. This is a website where the Keene community can talk and dream together, link up to many different local projects, as well as plan and start new projects. We encourage you to visit often and to participate actively online.

Moving Beyond The Virtual World

We also encourage you to support the growing number of creative local groups and projects working on the transition agenda here in Keene–or even start something new with your friends, neighbors, and co-workers. We need all kinds of people and all kinds of innovative projects as we work towards a positive transition in Keene and the Monadnock region.

So, what are your hopes and positive visions for the future of Keene (and the region, nation, and world)? How do you think that peak oil, climate change, and a fragile global economy could be turned into an opportunity for us to live in a more sustainable,  just, and fulfilling way?

27 Responses to Do You Support a Transition to a More Sustainable, Resilient, and Self-Reliant Local Economy and Way of Life?

  1. yardenofeatin says:

    So exciting to see this up! Look forward to all of us collaborating more and transitioning into a more regenerative economy and community. – Jen at Hanna Grimes

  2. Got your message – looks great – best wishes for success.

  3. This is a great initiative.
    Look at all the groups doing great work.
    Is there any way we can find one group to be the convener?
    Sustainable Portsmouth pulls all the groups together once a month to make sure there is synergy and not too much replication. Is this the group to pull us all together?

    • stevechase says:

      Possibly this role could be played by the Transition Keene Task Force, but it might be too early to tell what is desired by the various groups in town who are focused on various aspects of the transition agenda in Keene. Your’s is a great idea to discuss with others as we move forward together, regardless of which group ends up serving as a convener and strengthening the local network of groups committed to energy descent, a positive powershift, enhancing our community’s heart and soul, and relocalizing our economy as we enter the End of the Age of Cheap and Abundant Fossil Fuel.

  4. ecofemme says:

    This is great everyone! I hope in my back and forth to ANE I can get more involved. Well Done!

  5. Jenna Spear says:

    This is exciting … I’d love to get more involved!

    • stevechase says:

      Hi Jenna,

      Please contact me with your email so I can contact you about getting more involved. I’m at steve_chase at myfairpoint.net.

  6. Mark Jenkins says:

    Good work! Keep those of us at St. James informed…

  7. Flora says:

    Good work! I’m interested in the idea of Transition Town, local-initiated and global-connected. I may set up a Transition Town in my hometown China in the future! I want to learn more about Keene Transition Town, I want to get more involved.

  8. theKINGofKEENE says:

    Yes, of course “good luck”, “hope you succeed”, yada, yada, yada…All that stuff…I’m sceptical for one reason. *I*WAS*BORN*IN*KEENE*. I have watched the “heart and soul”, – as you ophrased it more than once – ripped out of Keene by close-minded bleeding-heart liberals, and the usual Repub-tard control freaks. Throw in the narrow-minded, petty, overweight / out-of-shape, *SHEEPLE*, and you have an illusion. If what you “want to see” happen in Keene, *COULD* happen in Keene, *IT*WOULD*BE*HAPPENING*, *NOW*!…That you, Steve Chase, have to do what you’re doing now, to me, is proof of the huge vertical cliff ahead of you, and all of us here. I’m not trying to rain on your parade. I’m telling you about *UMBRELLAS*, because you’re all *SOAKING*WET* from the acid rain. Keene is all about appearances. Mandatory recycling, but no enforcement mechanism, for example. Cheshire Medical Center, (the County’s largest single emoployer-THINK*ABOUT*THAT*FACT…)has it’s “Vision 20/20″ marketing campaign, and yet they still push more *DRUGS*, more of the time. Hey, I hope you guys succeed. Really. I just want you all to see the reality of this dirty little town the way it is. In my opinion. Good luck, and yes, I’ll be glad to help. I’m so sorry that you don’t want my help. peace.

    • stevechase says:

      Dear “King of Keene,”

      While I do not share the intense hostility you have for our community here in Keene, I do agree that there is much that still needs to be done to improve the quality of community life here. I also agree with you that transitioning successfully to a low energy, low carbon future will be a very big challenge for our community and our nation. I don’t agree, though, with your idea that nothing can ever be made better and everything is hopeless. Positive change has just happened too many times in my own life and throughout history in communities and nations around the world. My hope is that you will find a positive local project, perhaps from the ones listed on this webpage, and work hard at it. I think you may find that it is possible to make things better if you work at it with others. That’s my experience anyway. Good luck with all your future efforts at making positive change here in Keene or elsewhere! I hope we will cross paths down the road.

      Best,
      Steve Chase
      for the Transition Keene Task Force

      • Derek says:

        I would just like to add that yes, Keene has its issues with regard to “waking up” (I, too, grew up here), but so does any other small town. However, change can come about by first envisioning and dreaming the future we would like to see and then acting to manifest it.

  9. Michele Chalice-Throop says:

    Am so excited to see upcoming The Heart & Soul of Transition sessions beginning soon. “For Local Folks Facing Up To Peak Oil, Climate Change, And A Dysfunctional Global Economy With Creativity, Courage, and a Positive Vision”

    As a former Madison (WI) ‘ite, I’ve been waiting for these ideas to percolate here as well. I’m encouraged, change takes time and can be quite frustrating but to approach the ‘tipping point’ with open hearts would be a wondrous acheivement indeed.

    Do I need to sign-up or just show up? Is there a charge?

    • Katy Locke says:

      Dear Michele,

      Thank you for your comments and questions about the “Heart & Soul of Transition.” You may just show up – there is no preregistration required.

      We are suggesting a donation of $5/person for use of the Monadnock Mindfulness Practice Center space.

      Hope to see you on Sunday!

      -Katy

  10. Jen says:

    I’m volunteering with the Monadnock Earth Day Celebration on April 23rd. We’re going to be soliciting individuals and groups interested in setting up booths and workshops. I’m very interested in helping out if Transition Keene decides to set up something (a reskilling workshop, perhaps). Let me know at jennifer.kleindienst at gmail dot com.

  11. theKINGofKEENE says:

    …is this *REALLY* all the comments there are???…i am so, so, so sad…and disappointed, if *THIS* is all the comments there are…i mean, c’mon, people…can’t at least one of you post something so it won’t look like we all don’t care???…*OR*, is it possible that there is really NO*INTEREST in this endeavor???…the single biggest problem with having been born in Keene, is that there is no better hometown…*AND*, no worse hometown, either…Am I truly the ONLY person here who can find the beaver lodge that is within 100 meters of the Antioch N.E. campus???…sad, sad, sad…

  12. stevechase says:

    Dear Scott (King of Keene),

    I’m sorry that you continue to feel so down about the prospects of the Keene transition movement. Since this Fall, this website has been visited by over 1,500 people, often many times, and just last week we had over 100 people visit the website in a single day. There are also over 50 subscribers as well, though we could use more folks (hint, hint). Attendance at events sponsored or co-sponsored by the Transition Keene Task Force has ranged from a handful to over 70 people. Hundreds of people took part in the 10/10/10 climate protection events we helped spark in town last October. Also, the informal transition network of local folks responding to peak oil, climate change, and a dysfunctional economy with creative local initiatives includes many, many active local groups besides the Transition Keene Task Force.

    Do we all need to reach and inspire more and more people? Sure. But no meaningful social movement starts with a majority of people active in it or even supportive of it. This outcome takes time, effort, and not allowing ourselves to become so discouraged that we become inactive and create a self-fulfilling prophesy of failure. We have lots more work to do in the years and decades ahead, but the point is to get started. That’s how I view things anyway.

    I appreciate your support for the basic goals of the transition movement, but I personally think we are making a good start (even if it is slower than I wish) and I don’t think it helps a lot to tell people they are failing over and over. Let’s build this movement up rather than tear it down. It not only takes time to build a movement, it also takes hope and determination and a can-do spirit. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

    Good luck with all your efforts to make Keene a sustainable, just, and great community to live in! Every bit any one of us can do, individually or tegoether, can increase the chances of better outcomes in the face of a difficult future.

  13. Amy McEwen says:

    An Awakening the Dreamer Symposium is coming to Keene State College with the help of the Campus Ecology Club. The event will take place from 1-5 in Rhodes Hall on April 9, 2011. It will be a great experience for everyone involved and should integrate both members from the college community with members from Keene at large. Anyone should go, it really is a life changing event. If anyone has any questions contact me (Amy) at amcewen@ksc.mailcruiser.com
    The event is donation only, but books and other resources will be sold so anyone coming should bring cash. Light refreshments will also be served.

  14. karen olson says:

    I am visiting your Keene Transition website from Northfield, MN, and find it so thorough and inspiring! Your town sounds similar to ours in regards to size, and demographics and even culture. We have a couple small liberal arts schools and many active citizens and organizations all committed to making this a vibrant, even sustainable community. Our transition group has been organizing for a couple of years now and believe we’ve created a little ‘social capital’ so to speak. Our next goal is to create space for a community council of sorts (or ‘Core Group’ in transition speak), where our many sustainability organizations are invited to send representatives to create our community vision for a comprehensive plan for fulfilling the imperative of building local resilience to less cheap energy, climate change and economic volatility. We also envision such a group can generate much needed support for each others efforts by improved communication and broader vision. It has been really challenging to discern the best way to involve more people in transition, and I will be very interested to see if I can glean ideas from your communities progression, as it appears you may be on a similar track. I find myself wishing we had a Steven Chase in our town! Your optimism is infectious and wisdom runs deep. I have been really inspired by many of your contributions to the larger think tank and want to take a moment to say ‘Thanks’! – for your generous time and energy given to transition! CARRY ON KEENE!

  15. Cathy says:

    It was great to hear Steve Chase and Katy Locke recently give a brief presentation about this Website and movement in Keene. As a long-time member of the Milford area NH Green Coalition, I am intensely interested in Transition Towns and will be looking over this website for ideas for the Milford area. We also have an Awakening the Dreamer symposium happening in MIlford on August 10, 2011, which I’m looking forward to attending.
    One thing I realize is that (as far as I know) NH Green Coalition doesn’t have a web designer, and I can see how helpful it is to have a website. Something to look into…

  16. Rita Varley says:

    Today I listened to Steve Chase’s recording at NEYM on Transition Towns and found this website. I have been retired (from being librarian of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting for many years) for just about 6 weeks, and read The Transition Handbook by Hopkins. Something about the way Transition Towns are being set up unleashes creativity in people which has been numbed by our consumer society to the point where we have largely forgotten the great power for good that is ours when we reach for the highest good for all, together. Service and product industries have competed for our dollars by attempting to relieve us from having to do anything and we have allowed them to do this. So now doors open when we approach, cars lock from half a block away, food comes in a package with no need to wash, chop or cook it, the President’s speech comes with instant media interpretation so we don’t have to think, computers correct our spelling faster than we can type, etc. to the point where we think everything is supposed to be this way. And everything big thinks it has to step in and fix everything. The Transition Towns are comparatively new on the scene, the people stumble, but they get back up, learn from it, and continue. Instead of expecting distant institutions to deal with everything, these TTowns are identifying the things they have power over, dreaming big, and they are taking charge. There is a level of problems that cannot be solved by individuals alone, or by distant government, institutions or industry. It has fallen between the cracks in our curiously isolating society, and now people are rediscovering it. They are rolling up their sleeves, digging in, working hard together, and discovering lost joys on the path. The national, state and even city governments appear to be in a lot of trouble. Unless I am sadly mistaken, I believe I glimpse a missing piece that is needed to make democracy function in a large country like United States. It looks very exciting with potential to have world changing impact. King of Keene needs to know that problems that formed over 50 years time won’t get solved in a couple of years but we are more likely to solve them in the next 50 years if we start than if we don’t even start.
    Rita Varley

  17. James Miller says:

    Hey, I’m trying to spread the word about this film, “The Economics of Happiness”
    Rob Hopkins is featured in it, and many transition groups have shown it. Check it out at http://www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org

  18. Heather says:

    I just watched the Economics of Happiness last night at a free showing in Waynesboro, VA. It is a fabulous, balanced account of the problems of globalization and the possibilities of renewal through localization. Watch it and pass it on!

    I am on Keene’s transition town site because I am moving to Keene this spring, and attending Antioch in the fall. I would love to involve myself as much as possible in the transition movement. I am an experienced gardener and organic farmer soon to be certified in Permaculture design and would be so grateful for any plug ins into the local food movement!

    Heather, aka ‘Eartheart’
    hcomforto@gmail.com

  19. Jim Kunstler says:

    Check out the website for the Congress for the New Urbanism: http://www.cnu.org
    They’re an organization devoted to re-zoning in ways that benefits entities like Keene’s hiistoric downtown and punishes entities like West Keene’s hideous array of strip malls, parking lagoons, and car-requiring suburban developments.

  20. Paul Nelson says:

    Hey Transition Keane,

    I am an environmental science major at Allegheny College where we are required to do a senior thesis. I have chosen to do my research on the Transition movement with a focus on the 25 official towns in New England. I was wondering if I could talk over the phone with someone and possibly schedule a date to come visit. Looking forward to hearing from you guys.

    Thanks,

    Paul Nelson

    • Jamie Capach says:

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for getting in touch! I’ve forwarded your message to the Chair of the Transition Keene Task Force. Hopefully someone should be in touch with you soon.

      Best Regards,
      Jamie

    • Ruth M Heath says:

      HI, Fellow Alleghenian!
      My name is Ruth Mobilia Heath and I live in Canterbury NH and am a ’72 Allegheny alumna. I attended Transition Training a year ago and started our Transition Canterbury group soon after. If you are interested in speaking with me, I’d be happy to talk. Email me at our info@transitioncanterbury.org

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