After more than a year in the making (with lots of expert and volunteer support) we have finally released our neighborhood carbon/water/waste reduction project, Transition Streets. If you are interested in what this scrappy nonprofit can do with help from a lot of friends and supporters take a look here: http://transitionstreets.org/.

In a nutshell: We did not dream this up ourselves but adapted this award-winning program from Transition Town Totnes in England, for use in neighborhoods throughout the U.S.

Transition Streets fits a real need. Here in the US most municipalities are trying to meet ambitious climate goals or reduce their waste streams. In California more and more talk is about the drought and what to do to conserve water. Transition Streets engages neighbors in bigger picture conversations. But more importantly, it applies just the right amount of friendly peer pressure so participants really do end up lowering their home energy and water use, reducing their waste, and changing how they eat and transport themselves.

The added bonus of Transition Streets is that all the while neighbors are participating in the 7-sessions, they are getting to know each other. We have heard this enthusiastically over and over – that that is the very best part. People finding out that they have creative, caring, and interesting neighbors – they love that! Transition Streets is easy to implement (as we developed facilitator and outreach guides). Just download the Handbook, enlist a handful of neighbors (more tips in outreach guide), get together for seven meetings to read and discuss clear and easy actions to implement, then take these action ideas home to put into practice. The focus is on low-cost (or no-cost) actions that result in the lowering of both expenses for, and the energy used by, each participating household.

The support of fellow neighbors helps keep participants motivated, the process engaging, and the outcomes pleasurable as well as effective.

The initial pilot households were thrilled with what they accomplished and overjoyed with the new found relationships they formed. So I’ll end with this PBS story about the San Diego group in hopes of relaying the enthusiasm and possibility catalyzed by Transition Streets.