Making Change in How We Live, Where We Live, in Light of Climate Change (FOR TEN YEARS!)

Friday, 20 July 2018

Join us at the London National Park City Fair on 21st July to co-create a Greener, Healthier and Wilder London!

We're thrilled to be invited to contribute to the London National Park City Fair on Saturday July 21st 11:00 - 5:00 - all the details here.

The purpose of the Fair is to celebrate's London's potential to be Greener, Healthier and Wilder.
Two dozen stands & an A-Z of short talks will show how that potential can be an imagined & achieved right now.

Our stand focuses on our partnership projects and facilitation since 2015 with CARAS the Tooting charity who work with refugees and asylum-seekers: all about social sustainability in the community.

We'll be sharing our thoughtful, creative and fun Signs of Welcome making workshop - come and join in: any ages, any languages welcome and you can take your signs home to brighten up your neighbourhood.

We'll share 5 short case studies that explore our work in partnership with CARAS beneficiaries, and explore options with stand visitors who are interested to get involved as volunteers.
You can read the case studies here.

There's also a more formal description of the history and impact of the partnership since 2015 - read it here.

Finally on sharing learning, there's an article on our Stay With Love pallet-benches on the London National Park City website in the Making a Difference section here.

We'll have a prize draw to attract a lucky winner plus family or friends to Tooting for a Taste of Tooting experience! You'll enjoy our diverse food culture, try recipes from CARAS participants and cook on an open fire on the Tooting Community Garden. Here's a copy of the prize draw details: you have to come along to the Fair to enter!

Please join in the fun of the Fair and meet us at the stand - we look forward to seeing you and we're proud to be contributing alongside so many fascinating London groups.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Foodival Poster 2018

TTT is running its 11th sustainable food festival - the Tooting Foodival - this September!  This year's Foodival poster celebrates the core elements of growing, cooking and eating!  If you are a connoisseur of any of these activities we urge you to get involved in this year's festival either as a grower donating some home grown produce, a cook helping to produce tasty locally sourced meals for the masses, entering the Top Tooting Cook Competition, or as a taster of these wonderful dishes on the day.  Perhaps you could be all three?!!

If you interested in finding out more about Tooting Foodival 2018 EMAIL US or check out the links below:

Download poster here
Latest Press Release here
Stalls Application Form here
Foodival Website here

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

The fabulous OaKomotion! Carnival promenading in Furzedown: re-imagining, movement & change

Ten days ago the fabulous OaKomotion! travelling Carnival promenaded all round Furzedown.

The whole amazing sunny event was based on the sucess of the Furzedown Oak Community Project. 
In the Project community artists and host groups adopted sections of the large American Oak felled locally. Then they created sculptures to give the oak a rich and longer life. Read all about the Project here!

Oakomotion! started at 10:30 on Sunday 24th June outside Sprout Community Arts. As Fio Adamson says: 
"As soon as Vince and the Never Wilbies started playing outside Sprout at 10.30 on Sunday morning I realised that music in the streets is all we need to complete the Furzedown dream."
Read about the whole carnival day in Fio's report - read or download here.

Tooting Community Garden hosted the last part of the day. Fio writes:
"A secluded dream-place with bees buzzing, veggies growing and flowers greeting the sunshine.  The Bean Dragon made by myself and 80 others still lives and should live there for many years to come. Remember the Big Day Out 2016, Dahomey Road street party and the Foodival the same year? – yes,  you too probably chipped away then at the big piece of Oak and helped it on its way."

Here's the oak Bean Dragon - part bench, all magic:

Below there's the new Community Garden table made with young refugees and asylum-seekers from the Tooting charity CARAS.
It's inscribed in many languages with messages of welcome, and all were invited to add more. When there was no more room on top it was the turn of the table legs to be decorated. Come and see the Dragon and the table any Sunday from 11-1 when the Garden is open to all.

Really the whole day was about re-imagining, movement and change,
from a felled tree to some beautiful living sculptures; 
from all corners of Furzedown to our hidden but accessible oasis. 
Thanks to Fio and all the OaKomotion! team.

Here's the dancing finale in the garden:

Monday, 18 June 2018

Annual general meeting and celebrations

Here at Transition Town Tooting we love a chance to celebrate - and we don't mind a good birthday cake either!
Last month was our annual general meeting and party, the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past year, look forward to the future and celebrate the now.
We had feedback from some of our main events and projects of the last year and it was lovely to hear from some new faces.

The projects represented were: Foodival (Mal), Future Tooting (Eleanor), Restart/Sewstart (Jeni), Vegetanuary (Sharon), Tooting Twirl (Lucy & Richard), Carbon Conversations (Peter), Caras (Jeni & Egle), Outdoor Learning (Sharon), Tooting Community Garden (Christine) and Green Drinks (Richard).

This list shows the diversity of our community activities - some long standing partnerships, some one-off events - and of course covers just a snapshot of the many things TTT is involved with.

We then moved to the formal part of the evening - reports from the treasurer, secretary and co-chairs and the reelection of the officers. Your chief officers remain: Sharon Gray & Jeni Walker, co-chairs; Eleanor Glen, secretary; and David Thorne, treasurer. We look forward to hearing from you!

Time for a fun activity - we asked everyone present to write down some ideas for future TTT projects or wishes for Tooting on a 'cookie' and these will be stored in our TTT Cookie Jar to be enjoyed when we have a lull in our calendar - there was certainly plenty of food for thought.
A quiz followed, put together by David, which provoked much debate and brain-straining and then we rounded off the evening with a gorgeous chocolate cake to celebrate TTT's 10th birthday, some delicious snacks and many enjoyable conversations.
Huge thanks to everyone who came and contributed to a great evening. We look forward to seeing you at next year's party, or before then at any of our TT activities. Just email us on to find out how you can get involved.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

'Even When I Fall' film showing to celebrate Refugee Week 2018 in Tooting

Join us to celebrate Refugee Week 2018 in Tooting!
It's the 20th annual Refugee Week, and in TTT's 10th anniversary year we're proud to be showing 'Even When I Fall' in partnership with CARAS and St. Mary Magdalene Church, Wandsworth Common.
When: Sunday 17th June. Doors open 7:00 for tea and a samosa and the film starts at 7:30
Where: St Mary Magdalene Church, in the Main Hall. 202 Trinity Road SW17 7HP - near Wandsworth Common
Free showing: we'll ask for voluntary donations to cover costs
Queries: please contact us by email

'Even When I Fall' is an intimate, beautiful film that harnesses the visual power of circus to give a unique perspective into the complex world of human trafficking.

‘Even When I Fall’ traces the journey of Sheetal and Saraswoti, two girls from Nepal. 
They met as teenagers in a Kathmandu refuge, survivors of child trafficking to corrupt Indian circuses and brought back to a country they could barely remember.
Inadvertently these girls were left with a secret weapon by their captors - their breath-taking skills as circus artists. 
With 11 other young trafficking survivors, the girls form Circus Kathmandu - Nepal’s first and only circus.
The group continues to take circus skills and trafficking awareness workshops all over Nepal.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Carbon Conversations - The Final Meeting

The final session discussed how we communicate with others about Climate Change. We were asked to consider examples of bad and good conversations we had experienced. We considered some of the reasons that make it so difficult to engage in conversation: busy-ness, it's all about the future rather than the here and now, it demands self-sacrifice with no benefit for me.

We went on to consider our own initial reservations about approaching the topic: fears about upsetting those closest to us, our sense of ignorance, never knowing enough to present a persuasive argument. We then shared what gave us positive support. Some found that being part of a group provided a network of resources. Others talked of the cost-saving arguments for low carbon energy use. What is most helpful is to frame the problem in terms of things that can be done now.

We followed up with a listening exercise in pairs where people were encouraged to listen to the other without interrupting them or listening selectively in order to ask questions. We recognised the importance of speaking from our own experience , "telling our story",rather than using ideas alone as a means of engaging with people.

Finally, we reflected on what we had found useful about our six weeks together. We shared how we had become empowered to make changes in our lives and how sharing our feelings about the process was so important. We celebrated with a meal that members brought to share and planned how we will keep in touch and meet up again in the future. Thanks, once again, to everyone for their contribution. Great to have your presence in the final session, Charles, as one of the founding figures. Thanks especially to Ben, for providing his home as an intimate space in which we could all share and reflect in an atmosphere of trust.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Al welcome to join in locally with our next five creative & thoughtful 'Signs of Welcome' workshops

Our Signs of Welcome series of ten local workshops is continuing now over the next two weeks.
Click here to read about the first five events and what we experienced together with our project partner CARAS.

We created these participatory workshops to provide a vivid, simple and accessible opportunity to imagine how to welcome people new to the community and then make decorative signs to take away. 
The workshops are for all ages and are free, fun, thoughtful and creative. 

Each workshop runs in a great local venue which offers the space for all comers to join in. Thank you to all the venues for partnering with us and supporting the project.

Signs of Welcome workshops in diverse places!

The remaining workshops (all details on the TTT Events Calendar here on the blog):

> Paradise Co-operative Garden, Earlsfield
   Sat 9th June, 10:00-12:00

> St Mary Magdalene Church, Trinity Road, Tooting

   Weds 13th June, 4:00-5:30
> Sprout Community Arts, Furzedown

   Fri 15th June, 4:00-5:30 

> The Migration Museum, Vauxhall

   Thurs 21st June, 6:00pm-7:45pm 
   Part of a drop-in evening of events at the Museum, 
   all celebrating Refugee Week


As we've run the events, new features have emerged. 
Recently we offered the workshop at a Family Visit Day in Wandsworth Prison. With four walls surrounding participants, the signs they created became a way to imagine new welcomes and relationships. One adult's sign simply stated 'Kids Matter'. A family created a sign together, a graphic recording of a live and positive conversation between themselves.

Our introductory script has developed. 
Now we're also saying "you can create signs to put up in the city spaces where you live - signs that don't just label places or limit us ('keep off the grass' or 'no ball games'). They're about welcoming people and what we value when we get together"

All welcome, all ages can join in 
and each workshop is different!

 Many thanks for funding support from ThriveLDN, an initiative by the Mayor Of London.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Carbon Conversations Week 5

General consumption and waste

 In this session we focused on our consumption. We learned how it is a big proportion of our carbon footprint and how it tends to increase in line with our total household income (the more money we have the more we spend!). There is a relationship between what we buy, why we buy it and our identity.

 Our first exercise was to relate a purchase we were pleased with: Kew membership, solar PV, a battery to go with PV, second hand clothing, bikes, evening courses. And those we regretted: books, home improvements that go wrong, bad phone contract, speed dating nights, shoes and interestingly, bikes.

Then we discussed why we buy using the exercise on p29. Thoughts that occurred to us included: purchases for comfort or enrichment, is being green denying ourselves pleasure?, purchases leading to hoarding, friends who buy to cope, purchases to celebrate traditions (Christmas, carnival), days out with children, substituting 'experiences' for actual gifts especially when celebrating children's birthdays.

 Our next exercise was to design a poster exploring the differences between personal needs and wants. One group drew three concentric circles with basic needs in the centre (food, warmth, housing, ?Wifi), then a middle ring for things like special food, entertainment, enrichment, studying etc and an outer area for purchases that we felt were extravagant and not needed like weekend breaks by air (some said these were a necessity to some people), art collections, extravagant jewelry, watches etc, private heated swimming pools and so on. The other group's poster was a collection of drawings: community giving companionship and friendship which didn't require expenditure, a mastercard advert for a festival, choices and thoughts when making purchases, children's expectations.

 Our penultimate exercise was to think about five 'ways to well-being' published by the New Economics Foundation which explored the ideas of give, connect, keep learning, be active and take notice. We all thought about whether we do these in our lives and could we make more time in our lives to do them. Generally we thought these were good principles but sometimes it can be hard to keep a balance. One particular example is how family responsibilities can take up the time we might spend on learning, being with our friends, volunteering and so on. Another is how education can give us a double bonus of spending time with others of different age groups and life experiences. And also our busy-ness can mean that we miss what is going on around us especially in the natural world. 

Finally we thought about the things we didn't get a chance to say during the evening - being too busy in our lives, remembering to be compassionate to ourselves, working towards the NEF Five ways, paying attention, new ideas for home improvements, the carbon significance of un-deleted emails (server space and carbon footprint!), unsubscribing to unread emails.

 Thank you to Ben for hosting our group and to Peter for the wonderful cake!

Friday, 25 May 2018

Carbon Conversations Week 4

We had a lively and informed discussion about food. We started by discussing some memorable meals that we'd had and interestingly a lot of people described the context much more than the food itself. We then did an activity in pairs where we discussed the meaning of food, such as what and who influences our food choices. Topics ranged from how there's more choice now than a few decades ago, veganism, organic vs. local, rituals and habits, noticing seasonality and availability to compassion for our own-grown vegetables. We then did an 'anxiety spectrum' where we got up and stood at one end of the room or the other according to how strongly we felt about certain issues, such as the treatment of small farmers in the UK and further afield, which some people in the group had not thought about much previously and took away as one of the main things they will consider after the session. In the break we enjoyed some lovely Brazilian snacks - cheese balls and corn cake and peanut sweets.

For the majority of the session we played a food footprints game looking at the main sections of the chapter in the book: production, processing, packaging and transport. It was really useful as it's difficult to differentiate between a lot of products which seem similar, such as the production of different fruits and vegetables, so it really gets you thinking. It seems easy to hold one piece of information in your head - say the worst or best thing about a product such as there being minimal packaging or it being flown over from New Zealand - but to think of all four factors with each product is more of a challenge. I generally find it easy to not buy a fresh product where it's obvious that's it's been flown from far away, but more difficult to take into account where the ingredients of products with multiple ingredients have come from. So in some ways it's easier to just avoid these products, or at least see them as a treat.

We also discussed our food diaries briefly, which was interesting as even for people who already think about these things quite a lot, such as vegans, there is still often a gap between your own perception of what you eat and what you actually eat. I realised that I don't think of myself as someone with a sweet tooth but I in fact eat more sweet things regularly than I had thought. And I also eat more dairy than I think of myself as doing.

My main lesson was to eat less dairy (I'm already vegetarian and used to be vegan for five years), because in terms of carbon it's actually worse than some meats. So I'm going to treat dairy as more of a treat than an everyday part of my diet. I was really encouraged by other people in the group who said they'd had loads of support to be vegan and it made me remember that my family and friends were really supportive when I was vegan a few years ago.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Carbon Conversations Week 3

'Travel and Transport' was the theme of the evening's discussion this third week of Carbon Conversations.  Stories of favourite and nightmare journeys were shared - from wonderful night time cycling through Hyde Park to the extreme frustration of delays, queues and missed connections while under pressure to meet a deadline elsewhere.  We talked about what travel represents to each of us , especially within a culture where it has become so accessible and so enjoyed.  Aspirations to travel the world are encouraged almost as a rite of passage and, subsequently, many thousands of conversations coalesce around those experiences.  We looked at our reasons for making journeys and there was a recognition of the challenge that would be felt were the visiting of family and friends abroad to be restricted.

We talked about the advantages and deficiencies of cycling and the current public transport system - who it works for, or not, - and some of the steps that could be taken to make it more accessible for all and why the obstacles to this happening are so significant.  There was a recognition that solutions in potentially wonderful technologies may be still in their infancy! This theme of taking difficult carbon-reducing decisions was continued in the group game we played: we experienced how lifestyle changing decisions could be made at the individual family level (good, though sometimes not to our liking, inconvenient and expensive) alongside having the opportunity to make strategic policy decisions at a government level (also good, potentially having a great impact but likely to incur huge resistance from many quarters).

We spent some time reflecting on the dilemma of what feels acceptable behaviour and how we can take responsibility for our carbon footprint .  Our final activity was deciding on a manageable action that we want to take and then looking at the driving and restraining forces that we could see coming into play, and then focusing on reducing the effect of the restraining forces.  Plenty to think about during the week!

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Carbon Conversations Week 2

In the second session of Carbon conversations, we predominantly discussed domestic energy and how we could reduce our carbon footprint from energy usage.

The discussion started with how much temperature rise could happen in the future and within what time and would we able to cope with it? People had thoughts from 2° C rise to 10 °C and some of them felt we are doomed, while a few who are still aware would not want to think of it negatively and see what action they could do.

We did an exercise of what a comfortable home looks like. While most of us did prefer fresh light and air some preferred a garden. We touched upon minimalism, as to how it could contribute to a comfortable home. We discussed energy, EPCs and how we could reduce our carbon footprint as owners or tenants.

The group was divided into two (role as owners and tenants) and played a game of reducing 6 tonnes of carbon footprint through energy savings. It included a combination of changes to the house along with behavioral changes.

We spoke about challenges that we could face in reducing our carbon footprint through energy. The changes being expensive was a dominant factor, while for some being in a position of the tenant could hinder progress. Understanding of the technical aspects could be a challenge, while the efforts and time for research and taking informed decisions could prove to be a big task.

At the end we all spoke about specific actions that we could take to reduce carbon footprint and any challenges that we could face. All in all, it was a fantastic session with a lot of learning on different aspects of energy as a facet of reducing our carbon footprint and how we could start off with even the simplest and free measures to reduce our carbon.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Carbon Conversations - First Session April 26

In our first session we discussed some general issues around climate change such as responsibility for the problem and what a low-carbon future would look like.

On the issue of responsibility we thought about individual vs structural change. We agreed that individuals do hold significant power through their consumer choices. However we also recognised that people can only take actions within certain frameworks of possibility (eg they can only use public transport if these services are provided; they can only use community-generated energy if the political system supports and encourages such endeavours). So of course there are limits to individual action.

We also brainstormed what a low-carbon future might look like. We wondered what legal frameworks might be developed to ensure that our carbon footprints were lowered. In the absence of such frameworks, would people's individual morals be enough to keep all of our footprints down? This is a thorny issue which governments are reluctant to touch, because it would involve imposing carbon quotas upon people, which could be unpopular.

We also thought about whether we would have such a strong sense of seasonal change in the future, given our changing weather and how the availability of produce all-year round makes us more immune to the seasons. We also wondered whether, if people have smaller families, this would lead to more people living communally, in order to find a sense of community which they wouldn't get from having a big family. Finally, we had a mind-bending discussion about self-drive vehicles, which felt like science fiction, but apparently is a fast-creeping reality!

Friday, 27 April 2018

Restart-Sewstart Party Returns on May 13th

Join our fixing and mending workshop with May's Restart and Sewstart! Whether it’s electrical or electronic items that you don’t want to throw away or a sewing machine that is broken or you’re not sure how to use, we can help!

Have a favourite piece of clothing that needs mending or altering and you’d like to learn how? Or simply good at fixing and mending stuff?

Or maybe you fancy a cup of tea, a piece of cake and a chance to find out more about Transition Tooting and what we get up to?

Come along on Sun 13th May - 2.00 - 5.00pm Mushkil Aasaan, 220 - 222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW (next to Nando’s)

(Restart Parties are a community self-repair space where you take responsibility for your own gadgets and data, so please don’t forget to take any back-ups beforehand, if relevant – and if possible arrive during the first two hours to allow time for fixing!

More info about Restart          More about Transition Town Tooting,
email TTT here     TTT on twitter

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Is Capitalism the best system for a sustainable future? Tooting speaks!

On Wednesday 18th April, Tooting Green Drinks played host to our first debate! Why run a debate? This was an experiment to engage more people and look beyond our (albeit wonderful!) usual hard working suspects. And it was to explore some of the more divisive areas of sustainability.

It worked! 40 people (ish) came along to join in our first debate on...

"Capitalism is the best system for a truly social, economic and environmentally sustainable future"

Standing Room only! 
The evening showed there is huge energy for ideas exchange in Tooting. We'll definitely be planning more debates in the future, hoping to engage head, heart and hands by way of an invitation for us all to become active in Tooting.

What would you like debated? Answers in the comments below please!

Did we assemble a room full of raging anarchists, ready to march on Westminster? Or were the challenges of sustainability just another problem to solve by Capitalist innovation, motivated by profit? Read on for the lowdown on how the evening unfolded...

Monday, 23 April 2018

The simple invitations of our 'Signs of Welcome' workshops have brought vivid, compelling and complex results. More to come, please join in!

It's TTT's tenth anniversary, and we're facilitating ten free, fun, thoughtful and creative 'Signs of Welcome' workshops locally, along with our partner CARAS. We're in diverse venues that are themselves welcoming and interesting spaces to visit: cafes, shops, local enterprises.

We're half way through - five workshops completed since March and five more in the next few weeks.  
All welcome! 
See the TTT events calendar for all the dates and details. 

The NEXT 'Signs' workshop is in the wonderful surroundings of the Wandsworth Oasis shop at Amen Corner on Friday 1st June from 4:00-5:30. 
That's at 234-250 Mitcham Rd, Tooting SW17 9NT.
Have you ever done a creative workshop in a shop? Was it as amazing a place as the Amen Corner Oasis shop? You'll have time to browse....and it's half term, so all the family can join.

We have lots of 'Signs' in many languages - all responding to this open question: "What would you like to say to welcome people who are new to the community?"

They've been fascinating sessions which everyone seems to appreciate. Expressing ourselves, meeting others, making it visual and being creative by 'thinking with our hands' is a very powerful mix.

A brilliant and valuable extra is that young people from the CARAS youth club have been joining in to gain volunteering experience co-facilitating a creative community session. 

There's been inspiring communication across the cakes and mint tea on the cafe tables. Young people who are refugees and asylum-seekers have enjoyed friendly venues they may not have considered visiting, and met many local people they would not otherwise have encountered.  

Throughout there's been interwoven threads of self-expression plus a two-way invitation to ask questions and share experiences.

We have a vivid record of the sessions in the shape of the Signs themselves. They'll be included in a local exhibition during Refugee Week, June 18th-24th: details to come. The materials for the Signs are re-purposed from publicity boards from the wonderful Work and Play Scrapstore. We had one of our workshops there, and met this Japanese architect who joined in (with a translation on the back):

These workshops are part of our partnership with CARAS throughout 2018 - the partnership purpose throughout the year will be to facilitate events which draw refugees and asylum-seekers and the local community closer together. For more about the year's projects, please click here, and there are lots of pictures on our TTT Facebook pages. 

Many thanks to the partnership funder ThriveLDN, an initiative by the Mayor Of London .