About Us

Step One: Awareness Raising and Social Networking

Since November 2006, Transition Penwith has been in the first stages of project development. Its programme of events have been designed to raise awareness of peak oil and climate change issues. The intention is to inform people and disseminate ideas in a positive and engaging way, and also to bring people together to begin talking to each other, and build social networks. This stage lays the foundation for the process of developing Working Groups.

Step Two: Forming Working Groups

Transition Penwith has recently started moving into the next step, which is for people to start forming Working Groups around special interest areas (e.g. food / agriculture, health / medicine, transport, energy, education etc). The Working Groups give people an opportunity to engage more deeply with peak oil and climate change issues. More specifically they provide a networking forum for people to begin to feed information, research and ideas into the Penwith Energy Descent Action Plan , and ultimately to begin to design and build the infrastructure necessary for a low energy, low carbon Penwith. Once each Working Group has formed, a representative from each will be elected to sit on the Steering Committee

The Groups that have formed so far include: Education, Energy, Health & Medicine, and Food & Agriculture. They all have their own meetings and co-ordinators, the details of which can be found on the forum.

Step Three: Hold Open Space Events

Transition Penwith is holding a series of Open Space Events. Open Space is an extraordinary and powerful community-building tool. Each day is designed as a daylong coffee break where a group of people come together to explore a particular issue, with their own agendas, no obvious facilitator or note takers, and no particular timetable. They write up their ideas and put them on a wall, and then self-organise into groups to discuss them further. From this process, everyone gets to say what they need to, extensive notes get taken and typed up, lots of networking and cross-fertilisation of ideas takes place, and a wide range visions are sketched out.

The most basic principle is that everyone who comes to an Open Space event must be interested in the topic and willing to take some responsibility for creating things out of that interest. The four key principles are: Whoever comes are the right people, whatever happens is the only thing that could have, whenever it starts is the right time, when it is over it is over.

The first Transition Penwith Open Space Event took place on May 12th at Newlyn Community Centre, and was entitled: “How Can We Create a Vibrant, Resilient & Sustainable Penwith?” The second Open Space Event took place on June 16th at the Queens Hotel in Penzance and asked the question: "How Will Penwith Feed Itself Beyond the Age of Cheap Oil?". Others are planned later in the year around specific interest areas of energy, education, and health and medicine.

The Open Space process helps identify what is already happening in our community, and who the main movers and shakers are that will be able to take the work forward. Essentially the process is about building productive partnerships and relationships, making connections, and about identifying the priorities for the work we need to do to prepare for a low energy, low carbon future.

Open Space Events are designed into the overall Transition Penwith programme, such that a few days before each Open Space Event, we have a related talk or film designed to bring the key issues into the forefront of people’s attention. The intention is to raise awareness of peak oil issues, and to motivate people to come along to the Open Space Event a few days later and start working together to build solutions.