Transition meeting in Zarzalejo

The first national transition meeting was held on the weekend of April 20 – 22 on the outskirts of Madrid. Here Ana Blanco recounts her experience of the weekend’s activities and some of the conclusions that came out of the gathering.

Friday 20
Each visiting group had made a poster representing their vision of transition in their area. The poster for Coín received lots of attention from the other people for the work on the local currency and the local farmers’ market. Other groups presenting included Jerez de la Frontera (with a loca currency similar to Coin), Zarzalejo, Logroño, Aranjuez, Salamanca, University of Santiago de Compostelo, Bilbao, Valencia and others.

Javier Zarzuela from the Madrid and Zarzalejo group presented a short role play called ‘the ingredients of transition’ distributing sheets with these ingredients (local currecny, permaculture, renewable energy, business etc) for people to discuss in pairs around the room.

In the evening there was a showing of the film ‘Transition 2.0’ presented by Emilio Mula one of the film makers and who promised to visit Coín in May

Saturday 21
Different groups had prepared lots of workshops and people could choose from up to 3 each hour such as a talk on peak oil, games to understand transition, talk on CSA (community supported agriculture), Transition and education, wakening consciousness, new ways of organizing networks.

We attended the workshop on new ways of organizing networks run by Red Sostenible y Creativa de Valencia.
They talked about the intitiative starting with the publication of the magazine ‘Sustainable and creative Valencia’. They created a system of exchange using a local currency called SOL (Sistema de Organización Local). The person leading the talk had experience in communication and personal development and made some suggestions such as: without personal power there is not collective power, support natural leadership over hierarchical leadership, putting people’s natural abilities at the service of the community; and techniques for getting people at meetings committed to stop moaning and start doing.

After a short concert there was a talk on how the international transition network functions by Filipa Pimentel, coordinator of the International national HUB network http://www.thehub..

In the afternoon there was an Open Space to discuss organisation, functioning and responsibilities of transition networks. Coín in transition’s Rocio Madreselva gave a concert in the evening.

Sunday 22

Another round of workshops including: resilience and wellbeing, self build and self sufficiency. Emilio Mula carried out interviews with members of different intitiatives incuding Coin and Arboretum Marbella as representatives of Malaga.

On balance the feedback was very positive and there was interest to do it again. There is a need to ensure communication between groups so that each one doesn’t have to invent the wheel each time. Development of a group depended totally on the availability and commitment of the members of that group which could be improved in all the groups. There was a great personal richness and human quality among the participants and much emotional contact in the talks, debates and rest time. Now there needs to be more work and collaboration between the national network. At an organizational level with human resource and installations and with the interest in Coin’s initiative it would be quite possible to organize a similar gathering in Coin next year.

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