Minutes from Steering Group Meeting 10th May 2008

Transition Edinburgh (TE) Meeting, 10th May 2008

Present: Lukas Lehmann, Maggie Chapman, Brian O’Hare, Mandy Meikle, Joseph Payne, Scott Langley, Liam Young, Eva Schonveld, Hamish Ross, Neil Hollow, Yuanbuo + 4 others

Facilitating TE meetings
•    Discussion took place about the best techniques for working within the group at meetings. There was agreement that there should be a facilitator/chair and recorder/minute-taker established prior to each meeting
•    ES stated that in Glasgow, one meeting’s Recorder becomes the next meeting’s Facilitator. The group agreed to adopt this principle, on the understanding that, if a scheduled Facilitator is to be absent (or is unwilling to facilitate for another reason) then he/she is expected to arrange another willing candidate to fulfil the role in his/her place
JP volunteered as Recorder; LL as facilitator for the meeting.

LL reviewed the minutes and action points from the last meeting (6th April)

Group feedback
Communications and Inclusion
•    Wednesday’s training meeting for the Wiki and WordPress websites (hereafter ‘Wiki’ and ‘Website’, respectively)  was attended by 9 or 10 people and considered to have been successful and should aid collaboration within the group. It was agreed that another training session may prove beneficial in the future.
Food and allotments
•    Meeting due for next Wednesday (14th May)
•    They are in contact with a farmer who has ideas for relocalisation in the food sector. Eva had a pre-meeting with him and he suggested that a good point to aim for is the EU Food review
•    There is hope of bringing together various stakeholders in the food industry in Edinburgh for a round-table discussion on this matter
•    ES thinks that a big food cooperative (i.e. with large buying power) may be the only effective way to persuade farmers to sell food directly to the city, rather than to supermarkets etc. CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) was raised as a possible option for this
•    A review of E.U. subsidies is forthcoming, and this could have a significant impact on the food situation
Energy & Power
•    One small meeting took place between SL and Alister Hamilton; the latter showed the former his Peak Oil presentation
•    LY plans to update the website on the activity of the Energy and Power group and
•    The Edinburgh Community Energy Co-operative (E.C.E.C., a project spearheaded by MP Mark Lazarowicz) now exists in an official capacity; LY has become a board member. There was a request for other people to get involved in this project. It will be investigating the potential for ‘Community Energy’ in North Edinburgh (Granton and Royston Wardieburn) and has received a £10,000 grant from SCRI for this consultation, and is seeking further funding
•    Community Climate Challenge (?)
•    Group is dormant. However, HR is happy to remain as group contact
•    Group is barely active, although MC is compiling a database of organisations working on waste issues in the city
Heart and Soul
•    BO’H I trying to collaborate with Living Witness (at the Quaker Meeting House) on this (through Jonathan) but has been frustrated in trying to set up a meeting between the two groups to work through some ideas such as Deep Ecology. This is particularly appealing since the meeting house is a free meeting space.
•    Activity within this group has been minimal
•    MM stated that more awareness raising is needed
MM made the point that it is difficult for some people to fit in activity on these issues.
ES emphasised the need for flexibility on the groups front i.e. it is not necessarily a problem for some groups to be inactive at a particular time, if the energy is usefully going somewhere else

Other matters arising
•    NH has paid “nearly £230” for a table and 3 chairs (inside a marquee) at Edinburgh Treefest & Woodmarket on weekend of 14th-15th June
•    A planning meeting for the event will take place on Tuesday (13th May) at 8 p.m. in the Bruntsfield Hotel. All are invited to attend
•    Volunteers are wanted for manning the stall on both days and we will need to have our leaflets prepared and printed (see below)
•    NH requested some reimbursement of costs, which are currently entirely out of his own pocket. There was discussion as to whether we might be able to fundraise at all at the event itself to help cover this cost
•    No insurance has been arranged. However…
•    The Edinburgh Powerpod is available; BO’H has a car with a towbar which could be used to transport this. There may be children who could guide people around the Powerpod. ACTION POINT: NH and Yuanbuo to make further enquiries about feasibility of bringing the Powerpod
•    Draft leaflet from Fife is now available. LL circulated this for comments, but needs more ACTION POINT: ALL to read leaflet online and send comments to LL
•    There was discussion as to how many might be required for Treefest; no consensus was reached, but suggestions ranged from a few hundred to a couple of thousand
•    Printing costs were discussed. JP may be able to secure some free printing; MC some free photocopying

Parliament Peak Oil and Climate Change event
•    This event is on the day following Treefest (16th June) and involves Robin Harper and Sarah Boyack (MSPs)
•    Volunteers are requested to help during this event
Farmers’ Market
•    No progress (Concentration on Treefest)
Christian Climate Change Conference
•    No progress reported
•    BO mentioned the St Mary’s School (where?) EcoWeek which took place recently and agreed to investigate this further ACTION POINT: BO’H
•    ES mentioned TT Totnes’s ‘Transition Tales’ programme, which takes the Transition message into local secondary schools. HR has extensive links with Edinburgh Schools, and agreed to investigate this ACTION POINT: HR
Filmhouse screening
•    Neil Hollow is in the process of communication with the Filmhouse on this issue
•    LL has posted a draft constitution (adapted from that of SCVO); it currently suggests making TE a ‘Voluntary Association’, which means it will not be a legal entity; however, a collective decision needs to be made about how we wish to govern ourselves
•    It was noted that such status can always change as the initiative evolves
•    There was discussion about what PEDAL is; MC said that it can be difficult to change from certain organisation types to others. E.g. a Trust is non-membership based, non-hierarchical alternative. (ES and MC are unaware as to PEDAL’s official status!) ACTION POINT: ES or MC to find out and communicate back
•    LL suggested setting up of a Task Group to bash out details of constitution. This was agreed, in principle
•    However, ‘Objects’ (objectives) must also be decided upon, and it was agreed that these should be agreed widely amongst the group.
•    The constitution will require ratification at a General (regular) meeting
•    It was decided that the group will be allowed a week to comment on LL’s draft, then a Task Group to meet and then circulate a final proposed constitution 1 week before next meeting (8th June), where it can (hopefully) be agreed upon ACTION POINT: LL to email constitution again, requesting feedback, and volunteers for a Task Group

MM reminded that it was useful to copy the most important information from such an attachment into the body of an email message, so that people can quickly and easily view the key points

Discussion as to what we wish to achieve over the next 6-12 months
ES fed back from last month’s Transition Network Conference:
•    Representatives were present from Bristol, Brighton, Paris, Aberystwth, York and Nottingham
•    Cities have experienced difficulty with separate local and citywide approaches, so perhaps our mixed approach is best
•    A Transition Cities gathering is planned for the summer (in Nottingham)
•    Importance of awareness raising, and especially at the local level
•    Debate about how best to collaborate with existing local groups/organisations
•    After much discussion I think it was agreed that while we need a focus on encouraging local (transition) groups to be set up, this doesn’t necessarily require eventual dissolution of the citywide group; the two should be complementary.
•    Existing local groups may be the gateway into many communities who will hopefully be compelled to start a transition group alongside existing community groups
•    PEDAL are beginning to plan how to link in more with other existing community groups – which should hopefully prove instructive
•    Existing community groups include Neighbourhood Partnerships and Community Councils (3 per Neighbourhood Partnership)
•    ES pointed out that the Transition Inititative Primer says that all should be doing now is awareness raising
•    HR pointed out the importance of raising awareness of solutions as well as problems
•    LL mentioned how Lewes provided very sensible criteria for forming a sub-group and it was suggested that all should look at these guidelines
•    LL has spoken to Alternative Centre Edinburgh about possible collaboration
•    MC mentioned the Canongate Project, a community group in the Old Town which is running a daily events programme up until 14th June
•    Yuanbuo mentioned that the Quakers are planning a Peak Oil event
•    LL suggested that as many people as possible try to find out about community groups/projects in their area and maybe have a chat with them about the possibility of arranging an event ACTION POINT: ALL. If you can, please enquire about community groups etc. in your area and find out what you can and how you might help organise an awareness raising event
•    JP asked how many local Transition groups there is potential for in Edinburgh. MC informed that there are 12 Neighbourhood Partnerships from 5 areas with 17 wards and 58 sub-wards. She suggested that the sub-ward was the most likely scale for a local Transition group.
•    Council to unveil a ‘Workplan’ for the city (hopefully in 6-8 months’ time) and that TE may be invited to be involved. The Workplan should address (loosely) issues of ‘sustainability’
•    Portobello are planning an event, to include screening of ‘Power of Community’

•    LY took us through some details of the Yahoo! Group and the website
•    The need for a communication strategy was discussed. BO mentioned a game he knows that can be used for building up such a strategy
•    The intended use of the 3 online resources was discussed and (somewhat) clarified:

Yahoo! Group
•    It is envisaged that, in the longer run, this will be used only for managing email communication and (possibly) maintaining a calendar. ES and LY are moderators and LL was added as a moderator
•    This is an entirely public website dedicated to the ongoing work of TE, and so will contain information on upcoming events, recent and past activity of the group and subgroups and allows for submission of comments. LY commented that editing access should not be distributed too widely, partly because of its relatively complex nature and partly for ease of administration

•    LL briefly demonstrated the Wiki, run by Sustainable Consumption Opportunities Today (SCOT) and NOT officially linked to TE
•    Able to be edited by anyone who signs up (although SCOT retain ultimate administrative authority)
•    Wiki is designed for more fixed, unchanging information, rather than announcements, updates etc. Also contains evolving map of related/sympathetic organisations. Information pages are arranged into relevant categories and sub-categories

Other business
•    No one was sure if there is or is not an ‘Edinburgh Green Festival’…

Date of next meeting: Sunday 8th June 2008, Business Centre, 2 p.m.- 4.30 p.m.,
City Chambers, (N.B. JP may be unable to attend, in which case he will arrange for another person to facilitate)