What keeps Rob Hopkins (founder of the Transition Network) going in tough times
Rob Hopkins, one of the founders of the Transition Towns movements (now called the Transition Network), is a great inspiration to The Alternative UK. Transition is an example of how a toolbox for communities, and a spirit of joyful and social creativity, can get real changes happening around sustainability.
But he's written a more personal blog recently about how he is sustained in his life and activism, even as the times get tougher. An extract below:
There are a few things that keep me going through these difficult times and which keep me focused on what I can do to help. The first is that you never know where the tipping points are. You never know who will see a project you are doing and be inspired, who might hear the story of what you’re doing, and where it might go. One Transition group in Berlin planted 26 fruit trees in their local park. A year later their Council passed a law to say all new Council landscaping had to be edible species. Things can tip, and they do so unpredictably.
Another is that we have no idea how things are going to turn out. Remarkable things have happened in the past, and this is our moment to step up and do remarkable things. The fact that we don’t know how it’s going to turn out is no reason not to dedicate our lives to ambitious change. Indeed it makes it all the more intriguing!
The third is that things are moving so fast. In my experience, most of the doors that I imagine to be closed to me actually, when I push them, tend to swing open. Businesses, Councils, individuals, are hungry for this stuff in a way they never were before. You’re not a freak any more (well, you may be, but in this context you’re not…).
I try very hard to put firebreaks into my life. My family time, time with my kids, evenings, weekends, are ring-fenced and sacrosanct. I try to have measures in place to minimise the risk of burnout, being open to seeking support and talking to someone if I feel I am at risk of it. I make time to read, to cook good food, to go away with my wife sometimes, to draw, paint, garden, spend time with friends. If we are burnt out, exhausted, stressed, an absent parent, then we are not in service to the work we are doing. Seek, and insist upon, balance.