The fifth anniversary of Transition Town Lewes was a time to reflect, celebrate and look to the future. All with birthday cake and Harveys beer, of course.

Celebrating together at the Linklater Pavilion

In Transition it’s so easy to be focused on what you’re doing next – what NEEDS to be done after that (and what you STILL haven’t gotten around to) – that you can lose sight of what you’ve achieved and just how far you’ve travelled in the process.

Transition Town Lewes’ fifth Birthday held at the Linklater Pavilion was a chance to down tools for a moment, look back and say to each other “Wow – have we really done all that?”

Coming together with transitioners who have been there from the start, those who have joined along the way, and guests from other Transition Towns including Forest Row, Chelmsford, Chichester, Worthing and the Cuckmere Valley, it was two days of laughter, inspiration — and some heartfelt reflection.

Hoping – actively
On Friday 27 April, it was fitting to welcome back writer and coach Chris Johnstone – who originally helped to unleash Transition Town Lewes in 2007 – to share his and Joanna Macy’s latest teachings in Active Hope.

Guiding us all gently on a two-hour personal odyssey of fear, hope, gratitude and joy, Chris showed how we can draw positively on our concerns and worries to find our power to create change. Most inspiring of all, we were able to envision how people might look back in 500 years’ time and pinpoint our activity as a pivotal moment of transformation in the world.

Chris Johnstone – Active Hope

Seeds of inspiration, roots of change
Buoyed by this sense of legacy, Saturday 28 April presented the story of Transition Town Lewes. Adrienne Campbell, one of TTL’s founders, opened with a moving recollection on the seeds of inspiration for Transition Town Lewes and how a small group of Lewes people in a front room were motivated to act by some devastating data on climate change and news emerging of an exciting movement in Totnes in Devon….

And act they certainly did. One by one, each Transition Town Lewes Group showcased the wealth of ideas, initiatives and projects that have taken shape over the past five years in energy, banking, food, waste, heart & soul, enterprise and the environment. From the Lewes pound to Ovesco and the Harveys solar-powered roof, from the Lewes Food Market to the Lewes & Ouse Valley ECO-nomics group, the transformation of ideas into action (see time graph) has been inspiring.

Thriving Lewes
Finally, we took a moment to look forward, considering how the Transition movement is evolving not only to address climate change and peak oil but to explore economic resilience and our role in creating fair, sustainable livelihoods for ourselves. A core focus for the next five years, these are issues we’ve embraced under the theme ‘Thriving Lewes’.

Adrienne Campbell of TTL

After a final cheer, it was time for birthday cupcakes from Pleasant Bakery, beer from Harveys and a chance for old and new friends to catch up, compare notes and think about the next five years.

From a small group of people in a front room, Transition Town Lewes has become an internationally-known beacon for change. It’s been a great journey – please join us on the next leg. It promises to be quite a ride.

Our thanks to Juliet Oxborrow for writing this review, and to Mike Grenville for capturing the celebrations on camera: 5th Anniversary picture gallery here…


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