We'll be organising a meet up for Transition Initiatives in the North West to tie in with this year's Transition Conference in Liverpool. The plan is to host an afternoon meeting from 1pm until about 5-6pm on Friday the 8th of July in Liverpool, perhaps with time for us each to present about what we are up to, lots of time for discussion and afternoon tea. We'll then be able to join up with the opening Friday night session at the Liverpool Hope campus.

We don't have funding for this, so it might be a fairly lofi event, but would be great to have the chance to meet each other and trade experiences etc. So if you are working with a Transition Group in the North West and are interested in attending there is an eventbrite booking page where you can register for the afternoon.

Further details on the event will be available in the near future.

Any questions, comments, suggestions - please email them to theteam@transitionliverpool.org.
8/06/11 UK Energy -  Tim Greenshaw from the Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy
How much do we need and how can we get it? In this lecture, we will discuss the UK’s future energy needs and      examine the contribution various energy sources, both renewable and non-renewable, can make to fulfilling those needs.

13/07/11 Heart and Soul groups - a presentation by Jon Jelfs about this important strand of Transition, which can provide support and encouragement to us as we think about the changes we are making to our lifestyles as we move towards a more resiliant future.

The Sustainablity Discussion Group meetings start with a light supper at 6.50pm and are followed by a talk, DVD and discussion

Where: Quaker Meeting House, 22 School Lane. 
When: 6.50pm for 7.15pm start
This concept needs no introduction, or at least it shouldn’t to us Transitioners, but it does deserve a credit, and in this case the honour is all Todmorden’s.

Todmorden, or Toddy as it is affectionately called, had the mad but brilliant idea to replace under-utilised local land with land used to grow food. Corn is grown on the grass verges of the police station. Pensioners are planting. Publicans are pickling (but they always did.) Doctors are digging. Walkers are weeding, and fireman fruit is abundant amidst the gleaming red engines of the Toddy Fire Brigade. The latter brings to mind the gleaming red fire engine of the children’s TV show Trumpton and its famous firemen’s song. So for Trumpton substitute Todmorden, and for “Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, and Grub”, substitute “Grew, Grew, Toddy did Grew; custard, rhubarb and grub!” Well that’s my take. The food is free; like all the best ideas are free.

Ideas like this motivate me, so too notions of free food. So starting with the latter, January 2011 saw a list of events advertised in the local Wirral press related to park ranger activities. I wondered if it included food foraging, so I asked the question by emailing all of the ranger teams referred to in the press. There was no such foraging activity, but my emails led to a personal link with West Kirby Transition Town; and from this evolved one memorable evening on the sands of the Mersey foraging for razor clams.

On a more structured level it also led to a relationship with a Wirral Councillor and an invitation to an event on 23 March called “Wirral Enviro Champs.” Guests of honour at the event were two of the Incredible Edible Todmorden (IET) team, namely Alan McDonald and Debby McCaul.

The lunch was excellently provided by local catering firm Alley Cats. I’d never met them before so this is a genuine plug. After lunch IET were up and at it. It was the usual brilliant presentation, filled with wit and humility, albeit with some technology challenges.

Wirral were hosting this event as they too have a cunning plan; this being Incredible Edible Wirral. It's a good plan, but as yet it is still evolving. I can report that a trip is planned to Toddy, on an as yet undecided date and I can add that another meeting is planned on 10 July.

I can also report that a very senior Wirral councillor got very excited and invited IET to give a presentation to the full council. I don’t know if this has happened, or if it ever will, but I can email Nick Green to ask if others are interested. It's a nice gesture. I hope it comes off. In the last closing comment of the event, I made my one and only point. First that I admired Wirral initiatives to support local food; but second how did this complement other local policies that have seen several massive supermarkets built on Wirral in recent times, the latest being a huge ASDA, under construction, smack in the middle of Birkenhead, next to the market. The silence of the lambs was only equalled by the applause of the crowd.

by Colin Dyas

For those who don't know, Light Night is a citywide arts and culture event, part of a national campaign called Museums at Night, when museums and galleries around the country stay open late, staging events and activities.

This year's event will see Transition Liverpool, in conjunction with Re-Cycles and the Wheels for All group at Greenbank Sports Centre, talking about urban sustainability and sustainable transport at venues across the city. We'll also have Light Night reflective bands to give away, as well as info about Transition, Project Dirt, and The Well Bike Recycling project.

We'll be cycling between venues, showcasing a variety of bikes, including accessible and luggage carrying bicycles, stopping at

The Bluecoat: 6.00 – 7.00pm
Art & Design Academy LJMU: 7.15 – 8.15pm
CUC: 8.30 – 9.30pm

At the CUC there'll also be a showing of the film Beauty and the Bike at 8:45pm based on a project campaining for more cycling-friendly urban infrastructure and supporting more women cyclists.

Hope to see you there!

Findhorn Eco-Spiritual Community
I had the opportunity recently to spend almost a week in an eco-village; not exactly a model for the Transition city of Liverpool but interesting nevertheless! I was attending the annual Convocation for Interfaith Ministers (one of my ‘hats’) which this year was held at the Findhorn Foundation Community Park in north east Scotland. My impression of the place was probably affected by the glorious weather, amazing sunsets and the spectacular sight of Ospreys hovering  high in the sky and then plunging feet first to the water below to catch fish.  Even so, I was impressed with what I saw.

Of course, the Findhorn Foundation is an eco-spiritual community and the experience of being there was undoubtedly influenced by the spiritual characteristics too. There did seem to be a genuine interpersonal warmth and sense of being together in community. Many things pointed to the heart of spirituality which can be described as ‘relational consciousness’ where people seek to live consciously in good relationship with each other, the species,  the earth and the creative energy at its source (whether thought of religiously or not).

The site seemed well organised, safe and with a lovely mixture of traditional and high-tech forms of housing and ecological practices. I was impressed with the village green at the heart of the community and every day there appeared to be activities going on, such as dance or play events that one could be drawn into. Great fun and helping to create a sense of community. There is a really good shop and café on site with good food, fairly traded and locally source products as well as high quality art, pottery and other crafts from people on the site. Plenty of holiday accommodation for those wanting to have this experience! Four wind turbines provide the majority of electricity for the site. I was amused to see two horses grazing the lawns of neighbouring houses from day to day, reducing the need for lawn mowers!

examples of eco-houses
At any one time there are about 400 people living on the site and there are more than 60 eco-houses, with more being built. It was fascinating to wander (or take a tour) around the site and take in the different house designs and their eco-features. Findhorn eco-village is a work in progress as each year more caravans are replaced with ecologically sound alternatives, from yurts to eco-mobile homes, to state of the art projects such as straw bale housing. The place is very beautiful with lots of wood and stone, very creative and artistic, helped by surrounding beautiful wooded areas and beach. Findhorn say that “The environment reflects experimentation, innovation, beauty and practicality, and looks as diverse as the population that inhabits it. There are 90 ecological structures including houses, workshop spaces, The Living Machine sewage treatment centre and electricity-generating wind turbines. The Park also features gardens, the Universal Hall arts centre, and is home to a variety of holistic businesses and initiatives. It is beautifully situated on a peninsula with Findhorn Bay on one side and the dunes and coast of the Moray Firth on the other, and the village of Findhorn at its tip. The community at The Park is an on-going experiment in conscious living. As well as featuring beautiful and innovative projects, we also have made – and will probably continue to make!- some mistakes. The community are host to many Findhorn Foundation workshops and events, providing a unique environment for experiential learning.”

Back in Liverpool the environment is very different, but actually there is a lot of beauty around and of course endless opportunities to make an eco-spiritual difference in a city with a rich culture as well as tough issues to face. Maybe, given the opportunity and resources, it is a good idea occasionally to take a break at a place like Findhorn for some inspiration…?
Jon Jelfs

We recently visited the terraced house in Wavertree that has been retrofit
to the Scandinavian 'PassivHaus' new build standard by Plus Dane Housing, with government funding. It includes high level (Supawall) insulation; triple glazing; high level of air tightness; Mechanical Heat & Ventilation Recovery and LED lighting. It's purpose, alongside the other houses in the project, is to assess efficiency, viability and potential of using these technologies in existing housing.

Finished in October 2010, it was amazing to look round on the recent open day and speak to the tenant. It will be interesting to see what we can learn from this project, especially as much of the technology and installation is new to this country.
See here for more information.

Elizabeth Turp and Ed Tidy
South Liverpool Energy Group