Last night, there was a meeting in the local town hall to talk about Agenda 21. It was probably the most exciting meeting we’ve been to in France.

After a fairly tedious slideshow on the French interpretation of Agenda 21 (eg, caring for the environment means planting some flowers so the village looks nice), from someone I took to be a professional bureaucrat, a friend from the local Transition town movement stood up and talked about what they’ve been doing. Which is a lot. All of it positive.

It electrified the room. Objections based on cost and difficulty were swept aside by the idea that: If you can do something, you should. If there are blockages that come up (a certainty in this country), you work with the blockages, not against them. And/Or, you just get on with it anyway. The simple, beautiful thing about Transition initiatives is that they are unrelentingly positive. If someone is stuck in their negativity, you can just remind them that we’re staying with the positive – and leave them behind. Or to change.

A few things made this meeting especially exciting. First, I learnt that our friend from the Transition town who stood up to talk has just been elected mayor in his village. Second, it seems that our new mayoral team locally is open to these ideas. In fact we’re having a meeting with them later on today to go into detail about what we’ve been doing in écovallée for the last seven years. Where we have been depressed by our previous brushes with bureaucracy, we are elated. And long may this continue.

Today, it strikes me that this meeting was a microcosm of how our world will change. People who are already doing what they can – transition, alternative currencies, renewable energies, recycling and upcycling, walk-to-school initiatives – will meet the institutional blockages of our existing political and economic systems and just breeze through them tossing a: “We’re doing it anyway” over their shoulder. The political and economic systems will then turn round and start running to catch up – or be left behind.

The world is changing people. And it’s all for the good.


Very positive meeting with the new mayoral team. Open, honest, proactive. Looking forward to working with them.