Can you imagine Asheville’s sustainable future? Forty years from now, walking down the streets, what do you see? What are you wearing? What are you eating? What do you hear? What do you smell? What might Asheville’s most positive potential feel like? Can you imagine it?
Transition Asheville members asked these questions at their fifth-anniversary potluck and community visioning, held last night, Oct. 13, at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. We need “to see the positive future that we want to live in and want to manifest. This is a really unique thing that Transition brings to the world, to the environmental and social justice movement, [and that is the] concept of positive visioning,” said Dylan Ryals-Hamilton, Transition trainer and organizer when he addressed the crowd of about 30 people.
Ron Hopkins, the figurehead behind the international Transition movement, dedicates an entire chapter of his book, The Transition Handbook, to the power of positive personal and communal visioning.
“In our culture,” continued Ryals-Hamilton, “we basically get two different stories about the future. The science-fiction films we see about the future are either these Mad Max apocalyptic [realms] where everyone is fighting over the last bit of remaining resources (it’s very violent and bleak, there’s very little green) [or] the other one is this kind of Star Wars/Star Trek techno-fantasty [promoting] the idea that we’re going to leave earth behind to colonize another planet because we’ve trashed this one. I bet a lot of folks in this room don’t think that that’s going to happen.”
Everyone who attended was then asked to close their eyes and imagine Asheville, 40 years from now, and what that might look like in its most positive manifestation. Listen to the vision-meditation here (skip the first minute to dive right in):
Participants then dispersed into breakout groups by category, including social justice (a world without poverty), redefining neighborhoods, energy solutions, infrastructure and building, new economic models, and art. Each group was asked to generate a timeline for change, starting with immediate action and rippling out through four decades, from 2024 to 2034 to 2044.
In the social-justice group, Susan Garrett said that the first and immediate step towards building a world without poverty is to offer a living wage to all workers: “The is no reason that the people I work with should have two jobs in fast food and still be unable to pay their bills.”
Deb Scott said, “We need to change our story, we need to redefine success.”
Transition events like these challenge us as individuals and as a community to imagine a more positive world where resilience is built on a local level. Transition Asheville meets on the second Monday of each month. For more information or to get involved click here.