Transition Bondi is a community group in Sydney, Australia, based on the principles of the global Transition Town movement. Through workshops and events, such as our popular Film & Feast night, a monthly Dig Day at our community garden and a farmers market stall for free bike tune-ups and training, Transition Bondi brings people together to share, learn and be active in creating a more sustainable community and world. We believe addressing the big issues of our time, from food security to dependence on fossil fuels, starts at the local level: here in Bondi Beach.
The Transition Town movement started in the UK and Ireland in the early part of the twenty-first century. It was sparked by a simple question: what would a community-led response to the big challenges the world faces look like? Using philosophies, tools, and values from social and cultural movements of the past – including an emphasis on permaculture principles – Transition Town Totnes was born in 2006, and the message quickly spread around Europe and the world. Soon, communities near and far were growing their own food, harnessing clean energy, and experimenting with local currencies.
In 2009, the Transition ethos reached Lance Lieber in Sydney, Australia, when he watched a TED Talk given by Transition Totnes co-founder Rob Hopkins. Rob spoke of peak oil and climate change as well as the stories we've been told for generations about wealth and abundance – from the magic pot of porridge to the elves who make our shoes – which have disconnected us from the truth about labour, energy, and environmental impact. This struck a chord for Lance.
"Now all of these fairytales have come true," Lance says. "We have the giant that can jump from one country to another in the airline companies. We have elves making our shoes; they just all live in China. We have this bottomless porridge bowl; it’s in the supermarket. So we have everything we’ve ever wanted, and now we have to reanalyse our narrative and the stories we tell ourselves."
Lance reached out to the Transition Town Network, who put him in touch with changemakers in Sydney and the Sunshine Coast. After a few meetings and talks, the not-for-profit Transition Sydney was established with Transition Bondi as a pilot project. Meetings began at Bondi FM Cafe and the Waverley Library before a permanent location was secured at Chapel by the Sea (now called Wayside Chapel) on Roscoe Street. The small Transition Bondi group hosted a symposium called Awakening the Dreamer in 2010, and Film & Feast grew out of that once a few more key people, including Kit Shepherd, came onboard. With Kit helming the kitchen, Film & Feast began to incorporate vegan dinners made from local produce delivered via a community initiative called Food Connect. Aside from eventually switching to Ooooby for local produce, Film & Feast ran relatively unchanged for six years.
While Film & Feast was screening top environmental documentaries and hosting speakers like Annie Leonard From The Story of Stuff and Helena Norberg-Hodge of The Economics of Happiness, other initiatives sprung up including the Bike Workshop at the Bondi Beach Farmers Market – led by Hugh Ellens from the Cycle Re-cycle Club – courses ranging from solar cooking to beekeeping and gardening programs, some of which were aided by Waverley Council grants. In 2015, Transition Bondi raised $20,000 during a successful crowdfunding campaign to renovate the Community Garden at 241 Bondi Road. The Community Garden, Bike Workshop, and a monthly Film & Feast, now held at the Margaret Whitlam Recreation Centre, all continue today.