The money has dried up. Unemployment is rising. People can’t get jobs, but there are huge needs to be met. Car workers are on short time – they could be making busses, electric cars, windmills, hydro electric turbines. People with carpentry and building skills are being laid off, but our Victorian homes leak heat, emit greenhouse gasses, and burn scarce fuels. It doesn’t make sense.
Transitioning has always been about doing what we can ourselves to solve our problems, rather than waiting for someone else to act. Our communities are full of unused skills, yet we often are unconfident about what we can do, or our skills are unused. Some skills ate highly valued today, but perhaps less valuable tomorrow.
On a wintry night with a train derailment limiting numbers, a small but enthusiastic group of us discussed the skills for transition and ways we might develop and exchange them. We talked about knitting, cooking vegetarian or vegan food, do woodwork, and how to grow food or raise animals. We talked about the skills that older members of our community have, and where they meet so we can share their experiences. We discussed how we might exchange and develop the skills we have, perhaps through a lets scheme.
Two lessons emerged from the discussion - that developing real lasting sustainable alternatives to what we have now is hard, and takes commitment and time. Can we find, within our community, the enthusiasm to go beyond watching films and developing local manifestations of what we want to see? Perhaps we are spreading our energy too widely, and need to concentrate on one or two central projects. There seems to be energy for looking at energy - so perhaps in the spring we could organise trips to the Manchester Ecohouse, and the centre for alternative technology.