Olivia Levy reports that Transition Bondi is a group of inspired individuals who want to turn their home in Bondi, Sydney into a sanctuary of sustainability and community spirit.

The Transition Town Movement was initiated in the early years of the new millennium, in Ireland by Permaculturalist Rob Hopkins. His aim was to create security and resilience in response to peak oil, economic instability and climatic and environmental destruction.

Transition Bondi is a fairly small committee but a dedicated one. These seaside transitioners meet every Wednesday at ‘the Chapel by the Sea’, a beautiful community space right by the Bondi ocean, to celebrate local, organic food in a communal meal accompanied by stimulating movies and documentaries relevant to the cause. These films cover a range of topics, from food and medicine, to world economy, to the life of bees; every week has the potential to change your life with new and unexpected revelations and inspirations!

As well as this, the keen gardeners within the group meet every Saturday at number 241 Bondi Rd, their local community garden, to have a dig, a plant and a play.

Transition Bondi also supports Food Connect, a food delivery company whose vision is to provide ethically grown, organic, seasonal food to the city of Sydney, with respect and support for the local farmers behind the scenes of the dinner table.

Early this year, the Transition Bondi Wave gained a gust of momentum with the introduction of BURP: The Bondi Urban Resilience Plan; a plan for action in the face of energy descent. Sprouting from the Wednesday night discussions, BURP provides a unified platform for the transition team to flesh out what it takes to relocalise the community and become a sustainable village within the large metropolitan city of Sydney. They now meet every Friday for lunch to discuss the plan. They have identified a few key areas of the BURP to begin the focus with each area having a direct activity allocated to it.

Included is sustainability awareness and education, which is covered by the Wednesday film nights which gather 30-40 people to share knowledge, passions and ideas.

Another key area is local organic food. This is supported through the love for the community garden, the sharing of skills through permaculture workshops on topics such as food preservation and bee-keeping, a dynamic community composting program, and of course, the delicious dinners provided every Wednesday night.

Important to the transition movement is relocalising the economy by supporting local trade. As of the 12th of May, Transition Bondi has its own market stall at Bondi Farmers Markets each Saturday, mainly sharing information about permaculture and their programs but also selling local produce such as honey, fruit, nuts, and vegetables. Transition Bondi is also looking to encourage and spread participation in the local LETS community (a system of credit trade that is used in the place of monetary exchange).

The Bondi Team is also looking at a group buy-in campaign to get solar installed on entire streets to address the important issue of Renewable Energy. This is in early stages yet but shows incredible promise.

Finally, BURP is dedicated to the community spirit and resilience of Bondi, acting as a hub for passionate people to stand up and be champions for a particular sustainability cause. Currently they are supporting a Bondi local, Sandra Marshall, workshop a sustainable seafood campaign for November.

Behind the scenes, Transition Bondi is a connected core group of people exploring community governance and decision-making models to bring positive change to their community… And they are not afraid to inspire and be inspired! They regularly collaborate with the nearby suburb of Chippendale which has just recently released a formal plan for relocalising their community, headed by Michael Mobbs of Sustainable House. Through BURP, Transition Bondi aspires to collaborate with local council, which has already been very supportive, in order to create unity, strength and solidarity between the land and the people within the beach front community of  Sydney’s eastern suburbs Bondi. However, although each community has its own unique land to interact with, the transition movement is not about segregating hubs of survival security. Just like the permaculture principle ‘Integrate rather than Segragate’ suggests, the transition movement is about sharing, collaborating, encouraging, inspiring, and helping each other reach our full potentials!   .

My brightest hope is [that] we can bundle up all our experiences at some point to make it easier for other groups to start up and relocalise their communities too, then we can have an amazing network of vibrant communities to buzz around and cross-pollinate” – Peter Dowson of Transition Bondi