Why community power is key to building a better future

Why community power is key to building a better future
Rhiannon
16 November
5 minute read

Today we are excited to launch Transition Together, a new project to help build more resilient, empowered and sustainable communities across Britain from the ground up. 

As the dust settles after COP26, never has change been so urgent and necessary. We are inspired by activists across the climate movement who took a stand for a just and inclusive transition. From the young people who took to the streets and social media, to the COP26 Coalition who drew people together across the world, to the radical ideas for change and the marginalised voices refusing to be ignored.

The last fortnight has not made us more optimistic or more pessimistic, but more determined. More determined to go back to our local communities and start building our power, strength and capacity to change our future. To build the more equal and sustainable towns, cities and countries that our hearts are longing for. In the words of Ben Brangwyn co-founder of the Transition movement: 

“If we wait for governments, it will be too late. If we act as individuals, it will be too little. But if we act as communities, it might just be enough, and it might just be in time.” 

Coming together is how we can have the greatest impact. Trying to act alone, the challenges we face can feel overwhelming, but when we come together we start to realise our power and potential. The way people rallied and came together in neighbourhoods and streets across the country during the pandemic showed that by working together during times of crisis we can build community and ensure no-one is left behind. This is the approach we need to take in the face of the climate crisis. To overcome polarisation and division, and recognise our common needs and humanity by building bridges and webs of connection and support within our local communities that enable us to take transformative action. 

This is the work that Transition Together exists to nurture. There are already 300 Transition groups across the country making an impact and bringing people together to take positive action on climate change. We want to support these groups to widen, deepen and lengthen their impact. To challenge systemic injustices and pay more attention to who is and isn’t being included within our network of change. 

And we want to welcome and support new people and communities across the country to take action to fight climate change at the local level. So if you are feeling disheartened by the COP26 talks and want to take positive action to build a better future, now is the time to get involved. 

We want to help you dream big, reimagine a better future and then practically make it happen. This might look like setting up renewable energy projects, re-localising food systems, sparking entrepreneurship, rewilding cities, creating community spaces, working with your local council on the climate emergency or bridging divides within your community. 

Transition Together builds on the Transition Bounce Forward project that took place from September 2020 to March 2021 and supported Transition groups across Britain to bounce forward from Covid19 rather than back to the same old problems. We gave out seed-funding to kickstart new community initiatives, we brought groups together to learn  and we hosted the What Next Summit, to explore big questions and inspire new ideas and solutions. You can view all talks from the What Next Summit here

Thanks to generous funding from the National Lottery Community Fund Growing Great Ideas programme, Transition Together will support the Transition movement across Britain to develop and grow over the next 10 years, leading to more long term, systemic change.  

We will help groups to connect and learn from one another, amplify inspiring stories, give out seed funding grants and run workshops and events. We will also support the emergence of Hubs that can coordinate the Transition movement in England and Wales. We will be working closely with our partners Scottish Communities Climate Action Network who connect and support the Transition movement in Scotland.

But our focus is not solely looking inwards, we see ourselves as part of a wider ecosystem for change and will also develop connections regionally and nationally between transition groups and other organisations across the country working to build the resilience, power and capacity of local communities. 

We are already part of the CTRLShift Coalition whose purpose is to create spaces locally, regionally and nationally where organisations building practical and radical alternatives on the ground can collaborate, network and build partnerships with one another. 

The Transition movement’s experience of creating change, driven by communities is needed now more than ever, to give people who are feeling despondent a place to re-energise and engage, and to show decision makers the way. We would love you to be part of this exciting new part of the journey together, towards a better future. 

Sign up to our newsletter here to receive news and developments on our project, or search for your local group and get involved.