Welcome to the excitement that is Transition Town CHELSEA! Over the next few years, the community of Chelsea will be discovering the challenges and rewards of becoming a resilient community.

New Website coming soon! For more event info, contact Patrick Zieske: patrickzieske@yahoo.com

Coming 2014 Events:

August Potluck Dinner and speaker presenting "Inner Transition"
Inner transitionMonday, August 18 - dinner begins at 6:30, speaker at about 7:15.

Join us for a community sharing of food and fun, then stay to listen to Claire Maitre speak about how we internalize and respond to changes in the world.

September 15 potluck: Hear a talk on emergency preparedness by Tim & debbie Smashey.

*If attending potluck, please bring dish to pass and your place setting. Potlucks take place at the Chelsea Senior Center, 512 E. Washington St., Chelsea, MI 48118.

Transition handbookSo, what is the Transition Movement all about? To pull six principles from the Transition Handbook:

  • 1. Visioning: "The Transition approach has, as a fundamental principle, the belief that we can only move towards something if we can imagine what it will be like when we get there. The vision we have in our mind when we set out on this work will go a long way towards determining where we will end up."

2. Inclusion: "The scale of the challenge of peak oil and climate change cannot be addressed if we choose to stay within our comfort zones, if 'green' people only talk to other 'green' people, business people only talk to other business people, and so on. the Transition approach seeks to facilitate a degree of dialogue and inclusion that has rarely been achieved before, and has begun to develop some innovative ways of bringing this about. This is seen as one of the key principles simply because without it we have no chance of success."

3. Awareness-raising: "The end of the Oil age is a confusing time. We are constantly exposed to bewildering mixed messages. The media presents us with headlines such as 'Steep decline in oil production brings risk of war and unrest, says new study', and 'Carbon output rising faster than forecast, says study', yet at the same time advertising puts across the conflicting message that business as usual is the only way forward, that globalisation is the only model that can feed the world, and that just buying this next thing will make us happy. Indeed, the contrast can sometimes be striking, with an article about melting of Arctic ice-sheets next to an advert for a new car or cheap flights."

"Sometime new Transition Initiatives feel that they don't need to do much awareness-raising because everyone must be aware of these issues by now, but it is essential to start with the assumption that people don't know anything about these issues. We need to assume no prior knowledge, and set out the case as clearly, accessibly and entertainingly as possible, giving people the key arguments in order to let them formulate their own responses."

4. Resilience: "The rebuilding of resilience is, alongside the need to move rapidly to a zero carbon society, central to the Transition concept. Indeed, to do one without the other will fail to address either challenge."

5. Psychological insights: "Insights from psychology are also key to the Transition model. It is understood that among the key barriers to engagement are the sense of powerlessness, isolation and overwhelm that environmental issues can often generate. These do not leave people in a place from which they can generate action, either as an individual or as a community. The Transition model uses these insights firstly through the creation of a positive vision, secondly by creating safe spaces where people can talk, digest and feel how these issues affect them, and thirdly by affirming the steps and actions that people have taken, and by designing into the process as many opportunities to celebrate successes as possible This coming together - the sense of not being the only person out there who is aware of peak oil and climate change and who finds it scary - is very powerful. It enables people to feel part of a collective response, that they are part of something larger than themselves."

6. Credible and appropriate solutions: "It is important that Transition Initiatives, having laid out the peak oil and climate change arguments, enable people to explore solutions of a credible scale. One of the reasons behind what we might call the 'light-bulb syndrome' is that people are often only able to conceive two scales of response; individuals doing things in their own homes, or the government acting on a national scale. The Transition model explores the ground between these two: what could be achieved at a community level."

Take a look at our recently updated "helpful links" page, with some links to interesting green articles.

2013 Events:

July 15: Merilynne Rush spoke about Green Burials

Sat., April 20 - Dr. Thomas Princen at the Michigan Friends Center, part of our Earth Day Celebration, discussed his new book "Leave It In the Ground".

Mon., April 22 - Area resident Nick Ringe was our potluck guest at the Chelsea Senior Center, sharing the knowledge he's gained from his forays into Forest Gardening.

March 2013 potluck - Steve Kiluk, founder of the St. Clair Shores Transition Initiative spoke to us about his activities there.

Permaculture Film Series ran from Feb - April 2013.

Down to Earth Film Series, winter 2012

11/30: Water, the Drop of Life is a classic television series that presents a unique global exploration of what is predicted to be the biggest issue in the 21st century: coping with the scarcity of fresh water.

12.7: Life after Oil explores how new alternatives can achieve our independence from oil through technological innovation and perserverence. Also showing is Empowered, the story of one community's role in the energy independence revolution.

In conjuction with the Chelsea District Library, we participated in the Michigan Solar Home Tour in October. This was a self-guided tour of many homes that were extremely energy efficient in various ways.

We've had several Fall potlucks with lots of great food and conversation, as well as wonderful speakers! In September, Angela Barbash of ReConsider conducted a local investment workshop.
Then in November, Greg Raye-Leonard showed us slides and discussed his 3-month stint in Ghana teaching children at an orphanage. We had a large group, lots of great questions.

Burning money2012 Summer of Money Film Series - We viewed films on money and the economy on six Friday evenings. Lots of great discussions!

Sacred BalanceWe discussed David Suzuki's "The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature"


Earth Day, Sunday April 22, we viewed the film "Earth Days" at the Chelsea District Library. Afterwards we celebrate the day with a rousing drum circle, thanks to Tree of Life Studio!
Cary, Pat drumming on Earth Day  Tree of Life drumming on Earth Day

On April 16th we had our first General Membership potluck meeting. Our wonderful speaker was Raymond De Young, author of The Localization Reader. Great turnout, lots of fun!

2012: Transformation or Apocalypse? Movie series (ran Feb. 3 - March 30).
We had great turn-outs and lively discussions after these movies.

HajnalWe toured a Sustainable Homestead on Sept. 10th, with our wonderful guide and home-owner Hajnal. She discussed using solar panels on her roof, raising chickens, building a root cellar. She fed us chickensome delicious food made almost exclusively from things out of her garden (and her wonderful fresh eggs!).


Emergency PreparednessEmergency Preparedness Overview:
Local ham radio operator and trained emergency volunteer Jeff Cowall and Red Cross volunteer Michelle Roderick spoke at the Chelsea District Library in May. They discussed the kinds of plans that are in place in Washtenaw County for emergencies, and what families should do to be prepared. Jeff has supplied us with the following resources:

We ran a Food Movie Series, in June - see what was shown.

We also showed our first movie at Zou Zou's Cafe: "Convenient Truth".

Kurt Cobb
We ran a series of Earth Month presentations in collaboration with Chelsea District Library.

C. Muha, P. Kaminsky of Transition Town Chelsea, with author Kurt Cobb

On November 6, 2010, we presented our Living Lightly: Reskilling Festival:
Use What You've Got - Use it All!
Hoop house

at the Michigan Friends Center. See the Chelsea Standard Article about this wonderful event!


Transition Town Chelsea History:
Four Chelsea citizens attended a Transition Training conference in Winter, 2009 (see photo, below). They left the conference fired-up to take the message back to Chelsea and begin the awareness-raising phase.

Take a look at the Transition U.S. website to see what's going on across the country.

Winter, 2009 Transition Training Conference in Ann Arbor, MI.


For questions, contact Patrick Zieske at patrickzieske@yahoo.com