Discussions of Community, Civility and Compassion kicks Off with Transition to a Slower Future:  How Community Resilience and Slow Money could lead to less work and more fun

The Telluride-based New Community Coalition partners with the Wilkinson Public Library in “Building Common Ground”, a series funded in part by the American Library Association and the Fetzer Institute. (See related post) To kick off the series of talks over the course of the year, we have invited two very special guests: Michael Brownlee of Transition Colorado and Woody Tasch of the Slow Money Alliance.

We feel the combined messages of the two speakers are so important we’re giving the public THREE different opportunities to hear them. What’s so important? Michael and Woody tote very sexy tool boxes containing all the implements needed to build and enhance community resilience in innovative and productive ways.

According to, the Transition Town movement began as a grassroots effort in a student project overseen by permaculture teacher Rob Hopkins at the Kinsale Further Education College in Ireland. Following its start in across the pond the idea spread to Totnes, England, where Rob Hopkins and Naresh Giangrande tweaked the concepts to create a “road map” for a sustainable future for their town.

A Transition Town is a place where there’s a community-led process to help the place become stronger and happier. The aforementioned communities started projects in the areas of food, transport, energy, education, housing, waste, arts, etc., as small-scale local responses to the global challenges of climate change, economic hardship, and shrinking supplies of cheap energy. Together, the collective responses make up something much bigger and help show the way forward for governments, businesses, and the rest of us.

A catalyst for re-localization, Michael Brownlee is co-founder of Boulder-based Transition Colorado (, the first officially-recognized Transition Initiative in North America. As a statewide hub, his organization has midwifed several Colorado Transition Initiatives, all working towards resilience and self-reliance of their communities. A founding member of Boulder County’s Food and Agriculture Policy Council, Michael is the architect behind Boulder County’s EAT LOCAL! Campaign to localize the food and farming system, and the publisher of the “Eat Local!”: Resource Guide and Directory.

In 2011, Michael co-founded Localization Partners LLC, which is now investing in joint ventures—Slow Money style—in scalable and replicable local food distribution systems and farm-to-school hubs, as well as offering powerful online tools and processes for catalyzing food localization as economic development in communities across North America. He is now deeply involved in organizing Slow Money Colorado, an organization focused on catalyzing local investments in local food systems.

Michael is also among the original initiators of Transition U.S. and served on the Board of Directors of that organization. He is a certified trainer for the international Transition movement and, with fellow co-founder Lynette Marie Hanthorn, has trained hundreds of aspiring Transitioners throughout the U.S. and conducted many “Transition Clinics” for local Initiatives around the country.

As the Transition folks have said: “Really, it’s the opposite of us sitting in our armchairs complaining about what’s wrong, and instead, it’s about getting up and doing something constructive about it alongside our neighbors and fellow townsfolk. People say that as a result of being involved in their local “transition initiative”, they’re happier, their community feels more robust, and they have made a lot of new friends.”

Next up we’ll tell you about the second speaker, Woody Tasch and the Slow Money Alliance.


Michael and Woody are presenting:

Thursday evening, February 2, 6:30 p.m. in the Program Room of the Wilkinson Public Library. We’ll have a community pot luck and gather to listen. The library will provide a few basic dishes, and we’re asking those who come to bring a dish to share – of any kind or flavor.

Friday morning, February 3, Michael and Woody are scheduled to speak at our regular Green Business Roundtable, 8:30 a.m., in the Program Room of the Wilkinson Library. Breakfast is provided.Donations greatly appreciated.

And a special Ridgway event will be held Friday evening, 7:00 p.m., in the Ouray County 4-H Center just outside of Ridgway.

As always, for more information, check out our website at or call us at 970-728-1340 or email

To learn more about Michael Brownlee and the Transition movement, just click the “play” button and listen to Susan Viebrock’s interview. Later in the week, watch for her interview with Woody Tasch:

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