Just over a week ago I left Greyton in the heart of the Overberg, in the Western Cape to attend one of the biggest conferences in South Africa, taking place in Johannesburg and organised by the United Nations (UN); Known as the International Civil Society Week. I was invited to attend in order to represent not only Greyton Transition Town (GTT) but also South Africa and was flown there and accommodated as a guest of the UN.
Delegates from some 56 countries gathered to learn and share information about the challenges in their local communities and effective action arising from the people at grassroots level. I was one of eight individuals selected from around the world to share the work that I do at GTT as well as projects that are run by GTT, for example tackling food security and building a sustainable community.
The two hundred delegates are world leaders in effective grass roots action and each person had the opportunity to introduce themselves and the work they are doing. I introduced myself to as many people as I could during the networking sessions and explained what a Transition Town is as well as my role as a presenter at the conference.
My presentation at the conference was very well received and as a result I was nominated by the delegates as a UN sponsored ambassador and adviser on sustainable living and community gardens. I was also invited to join the Generation 2030 Africa movement which is a UNICEF initiative that focuses on the future of children in the African continent.
In these capacities, my role will be to introduce transition as a driver for social change to communities around the world which are suffering from poverty and a lack of integration or cohesion. I will be sharing our Greyton/South Africa experience of Transition to places such as Bangladesh, Brazil, United States and Tunisia. I will be able to continue as Director of GTT and my travels will be funded by the UN.
This was truly a wonderful experience and a great way of networking with like-minded people who are doing transition style activities all over the world. It is phenomenal that GTT, which has been in existence for just over two years, has earned its place in this global arena.
I came back with a different perspective of our work and one of the most important things that I have learned is…..BE THE CHANGE THAT YOU WANT TO SEE IN THIS WORLD.