On Saturday, 11/6/2010, four Transition Michigan members from Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge and Royal Oak met at AJ’s (coffee shop) on Nine Mile Road in Ferndale. Our intention was to introduce ourselves and to explore the possibility of forming a local transition group. We discussed having a more formal meeting in the near future, with the agenda to be developed by e-mail, and possibly including more people interested in a local transition group. Time and place is still to be determined.

One item on that agenda will be planning for a series of public educational meetings, probably beginning with the showing, in three parts, of Chris Martenson’s ‘Crash Course.’ After the meeting, people looked at various possible venues: the Royal Oak Library, the Ferndale Library, the Pleasant Ridge Community Center, and so on. Of these, the Ferndale Library seems the best choice. Certainly, the price is right. With the event will be open to the public and no admission charge, the librarian agreed we could use the room for free. This includes use of the library’s large screen TV, so we will not even need to bring a projector.

Library policy is that a given group can have a meeting room once a month. I suggested that we would want to start about the middle of January, which should give us time to get sufficiently organized to publicize the events. Assuming this plan works, we have a tentative idea about public meetings for January, February and March of 2011. Other possible films to show would be ‘Crude Awakening,’ [http://www.oilcrashmovie.com/] a 2007 documentary similar to ‘End of Suburbia,’ and ‘Fresh,’ [http://www.freshthemovie.com/] a documentary about our food system.

At the Saturday meeting, we also discussed the Chatam School in Lapeer [http://www.chatfieldschool.org/Default.aspx], or more specifically, the Willows Educational Center at the Chatham School.

This is a newly-constructed straw bale/living roof building housing a unique educational program for elementary students. My idea was to organize a trip, including some members of the Ferndale and Royal Oak School Boards, and perhaps some interested parents. If I understand it correctly, it is possible for local schools to send groups of students to this facility for one-day or longer educational programs.

We discussed briefly the Ferndale Time Bank [http://www.ferndaletimebank.org/]. It seems to me that the time bank idea fits very well with localization and building a resilient community. Perhaps this can be the topic for a later meeting.

According to the Transition Initiatives Primer, Step 1 in creating a local transition group is: “1. an understanding of Peak Oil and Climate Change as twin drivers (to be written into your group’s constitution or governing documents).” [page 14] It also says: “All organisations need some kind of governing document. This can be a constitution, Mem & Arts, or “rules”. Some people would prefer to drive a nail into their skull than tackle this, but it’s got to be done otherwise there’s no real point of reference for the group or organisation. And in several cases it’s a legal requirement.” [page 21]

If we are going to be doing things like renting rooms for our meetings or paying for mailings to publicize them, then we are going to need a Treasurer and a checking account at a local credit union or bank. In order to do that, we are going to need to fill out the forms to get a tax identification number [http://www.ehow.com/how_6395288_business-tax-id-michigan.html], and to do that, we are going to need, at a minimum, to pick a name for the organization. We may as well write up bylaws at the same time.

A draft for bylaws is on the “ABOUT” page of this blog. If you use a small enough font, they could be printed on one page. Please use the comments on that page to suggest changes, including a completely different set of bylaws if you feel these are completely off the mark.

We are going to have to have the more formal meeting sometime soon to actually get organized. Please use the comments for this entry to indicate a time and place that would be good for you. We don’t have to be limited to using the internet. Phone calls might work better. Maybe the best possibility will emerge from discussion.

Finally, this whole web site is just an experiment of mine. I thought something like this might be useful for the group, and I wanted to see what could be done for free with WordPress. It can be changed or deleted entirely, and I won’t be offended if you feel it should.

Art Myatt