An Evening with Rob Hopkins

It started with an email message from Rob’s PA: ‘Rob Hopkins will be in Chichester on business on April 6, and would like to speak to local Transition groups.’ An un-missable opportunity which we were eager to grasp.

March rushed by in a flurry of preparation, getting the publicity out, issuing invitations, taking bookings, organising teams of helpers on the night. The Mayor of Chichester generously offered us free use of the beautiful Assembly Room which we filled with a sell-out crowd of 180. We were delighted to host a number of other Transition groups from nearby towns and representatives from the City, District and County Councils.

Rob spoke on the theme, ‘Beyond the Consumer Society? An Enticing Vision....’ and gave us an impressive overview of where Transition is at a mere five years after its inception. Starting with the tough stuff about Peak Oil and Climate Change, Rob went on to show us examples of where Transition is flourishing. The environments are remarkably diverse – urban Tooting, Japan, Brazilian favelas and of course his own home town of Totnes – each with their own interpretation of Transition.

In towns where Transition is well established, it has moved on from being a collection of diverse projects to being part of the central fabric of the community itself. It is at its most successful where it has the support of local authorities, some of which, like Taunton Deane, have worked with the local Transition group on their vision for the future.

It’s hard not to feel discouraged when we see some of the amazing things happening elsewhere, but TC is still a youngster, not quite three years old and we’ve come a long way already. As Rob reminded us, Transition is a process and we can’t predict exactly where it will take us. One thing is certain: there are exciting times ahead for us.

To round off the evening there were short presentations from Transition Worthing, Transition Havant and finally Transition Chichester before engaging in Transition’s favourite activity – eating, drinking and talking.

Many thanks to Rob for his inspirational and thought-provoking presentation – undoubtedly one of the high spots in Transition ChIchester’s first three years.