Rob Hopkins

Rob Hopkins

Rob Hopkins photoRob Hopkins brings humour, imagination and vision to the great challenges of our time, and argues that what is needed, above all else, at this time in history, is “engaged optimism”. The rapidly-spreading Transition movement which he was pivotal in establishing, is an embodiment of that.

Nicholas Crane, presenter of BBC2’s ‘Town’ series, referred to Transition as “the biggest urban brainwave of the century”.

He is the co-founder of Transition Town Totnes and of the Transition Network. This grew out of many years experience in education, teaching permaculture and natural building, and setting up the first 2 year full-time permaculture course in the world, at Kinsale Further Education College in Ireland, as well as co-ordinating the first eco-village development in Ireland to be granted planning permission.

He is author of ‘The Transition Handbook: from oil dependence to local resilience’, which has been published in a number of languages, and which was voted the 5th most popular book taken on holiday by MPs during the summer of 2008, and more recently of ‘The Transition Companion: making your community more resilient in uncertain times’, published in October 2011 and The Power of Just Doing Stuff: how local action can change the world, published in June 2013. He publishes a blog here which was once voted ‘the 4th best green blog in the UK’(!). He tweets as @robintransition, and recently came 11th in the PeerIndex-driven Sustainability Drivers List.

He was the winner of the 2008 Schumacher Award, is an Ashoka Fellow and a Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, served 3 years as a Trustee of the Soil Association, and was named by the Independent as one of the UK’s top 100 environmentalists. He is the winner of the 2009 Observer Ethical Award for the Grassroots Campaigner category, and in December 2009 was voted the Energy Saving Trust/Guardian’s ‘Green Community Hero’. In February 2012, Rob and the Transition Network were among NESTA and The Observer’s list of ‘Britain’s 50 New Radicals’. He and Transition Network won the 2012 EESC Civil Society Prize, and a 2014 PEA Award for Campaigner Hero.

He lectures and writes widely on peak oil and Transition, holds an MSc in Social Research and completed a PhD at the University of Plymouth entitled ‘Localisation and resilience at the local level: the case of Transition Town Totnes’. He recently became a Visiting Fellow at the University of Plymouth and in 2012 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of the West of England. He is a founder Trustee of Atmos Totnes and a director of New Lion Brewery. He lives in Devon and grows food for his family.

“Rob Hopkins has done more to change the way that we live in the past 10 years than any one else in Britain. Because he has given people the tools to create change for themselves. It is beautifully simple and incredibly powerful.”

Monty Don, gardener, writer and broadcaster

Sarah Pugh

Sarah Pugh

I have been facilitating permaculture courses since 1999 and teaching them since 2003. I was incredibly fortunate to learn to teach with Mike Feingold and Patrick Whitefield, both experienced and innovative teachers. I have worked as a community rabble rouser and environmental instigator for the past 15 years, mostly within the thriving network that is the Bristol green scene.

My focus has always been on inspiring people to use Permaculture design to improve their local space. On creating opportunities for communities to work collaboratively and encouraging reconnection with nature, particularly in urban areas. I’m always looking for new ways to take the joys of Permaculture to a wider audience and in 2007 I founded Transition Bristol. After a couple of years of exhausting organising, followed by the birth of my son I decided to step back from the frontline and focus on addressing the skills gap that lies between people wanting to and being able to create more sustainable systems. In 2010 myself and colleague Laura Corfield founded Shift Bristol to run the one year Practical Sustainability Course – the first of its kind in the UK. It’s an expansion of the Permaculture Curriculum taught in collaboration with 40 experts and tutors. Visit the Shift Bristol website for details of this course.

I am a founder member of Bristol Permaculture Group since January 2000, It’s an active network of nearly 1000 people working to bring sustainability to the city. We use the network for sharing resources, tools and ideas and generally practicing common sense living.

I am now self-employed as a teacher and consultant, full-time single mum and Director of Shift Bristol. Keeps me busy!

Jenny Mackewn

Jenny Mackewn

Jenny is an environmentalist, creative, coach, learner, writer, leader, educationalist, connector, change agent, teacher, parent, communicator and artist. Here is how she describes her work.

“I have facilitated and catalysed breakthrough in many different groups and contexts. I love the continuous creative challenge of discovering what is needed in each unique situation.

For a decade I have run a popular, year-long Facilitation Course for the School of Management at Bath University; a specialist Training for facilitators in the Work that Reconnects; Creative Facilitator and Catalyst Training in many organizations; Intensive Trainings in Systemic Constellations – as well as writing on Facilitation as a form of Action Enquiry and Creative Methods of facilitation. I am a creative consultant with the nowhere group, facilitator, organizational consultant, author, friend, grandmother and continuous learner.

Sophy Banks

Sophy Banks

Originally trained in engineering, Sophy worked in London for over 20 years teaching electronics, computer systems and technical stuff to women returners, and then in housing associations. She later trained in psychotherapy, healing and family constellations – and set up a private practice as a therapist. In 2005 she realised she was too old to carry on slide tackling on the muddy football pitches of Hackney Marshes and moved to Devon, to find the Transition movement coming into being just down the road.

In 2006 Sophy co-founded the “Heart and Soul” group of Transition Town Totnes, addressing the psychological and spiritual dimensions of Transition. She helped to set up and run the Totnes project as it took off. In 2007 she and Naresh set up Transition Training and created the two day “Introduction to Transition”, now known as Transition: Launch. Sophy has trained trainers from around the world to deliver this training. Transition finally brought together her love of football, engineering and inner work in its comprehensive and systemic approach to creating healthy and joyful communities.

Still a part of the Totnes project, Sophy mainly works for Transition Network coordinating, supporting and speaking about Inner Transition in the UK and around the world. Sophy blogs here.

Sarah McAdam

Sarah McAdam

Sarah McAdam pictureSarah has had a varied public sector career working in housing, criminal justice and – most recently – rural development (she was leading DEFRA’s Rural Communities Policy Unit when she caught the transition bug).

She has run a housing aid centre, helped set up a new Ombudsman Service, managed criminal courts and cleverly became Chief Executive of a small Quango shortly before the Government decided it should be abolished.

Sarah became a Transition Network trustee in 2011 when we were looking to widen the range of skills and perspectives on our board. Finding Whitehall exhausting and increasingly frustrating, she left the civil service to sit under a tree for a while and then search for a more satisfying way to live and work. She believes she may have found that in TN.

Sarah lives in Woolwich in South East London with her partner Lynne and loves being able to travel into town by boat.

Bristol Energy Champions Needed!

Be part of Bristol 2015 European Green Capital as a Bristol Energy Champion! Would you like to help your community? Are you interested in saving energy?

Could YOU be an Energy Champion?

We would like every neighbourhood in Bristol to have a local person to turn to for energy advice, a person who will champion energy awareness in their community.

Energy Champions are local people like you from all over Bristol who are interested in engaging their friends, neighbours and the whole community about energy savings, local renewable generation and tackling fuel poverty.

By being an Energy Champion you will have the opportunity to:

  • Get involved with exciting new projects and events from across the city
  • Bring your community together and meet your neighbours
  • Increase your knowledge of energy saving and engagement through expert training from our partners
  • Help tackle fuel poverty with practical advice and sign posting to funding available
  • Learn about renewable energy and make your own solar panel
  • Lead energy initiatives at your school, workplace and/or in your community
  • And of course improve the energy performance of own your home!

We will provide all the information, training and support needed for you to become an energy champion.

The first free training sessions are scheduled for early February

Interested? Want to know more? Contact Elsie at or 0117 934 1432 or go to

Bristol City Council launches multi-million pound drive to improve Bristol homes

BREAKING NEWS: the scheme now has access to ECO (Energy Company Obligation) funding, which aims to help households in fuel poverty to upgrade both their energy systems and buildings. There are three related obligations for this (all of which have eligibility criteria) details of which can be found on our website.

More details of the wider scheme are available on the dedicated website and do please use the BEN referral code BEN000 or one from your local energy group in any communications. A show home (56 Heron Road) will be open from Thursday 4th December 2014 on Tuesdays and Thursdays (9:30-16:30) and Saturdays (10:30-14:30) until Tuesday 23rd December. It will reopen again on Saturday 3rd January 2015. More information on the show home can be found here.

Bristol City Council has launched a new multi-million pound initiative designed to make homes across the city warmer and healthier places to live.

Warm Up Bristol is one of the most ambitious energy efficiency schemes in the country, with a target to provide 30,000 home improvement measures over the next four years.

Run by the council’s dedicated Energy Service, which has secured government funding to deliver the initiative, Warm Up Bristol is part of a city-wide drive to reduce energy use.

Bristol has some of the oldest and most inefficient houses in the UK and a huge range of measures are available under the scheme. These include solid and cavity wall and loft insulation, double glazing and draught proofing, plus new boilers and renewable energy systems.

Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, said: “Warm Up Bristol gives a huge opportunity for us to address householders’ energy needs and costs. We are working with local communities with the ambition to engage residents right across the city. Real change comes from the community and I’d like to personally encourage all to grasp the nettle.

“This is a cause that is central to our Green Capital status and will lay a vital part of the foundations for Bristol to be the most sustainable city in years to come.”

Amber Rudd, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, added: “With Bristol Green Deal communities and more money announced for the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, people in Bristol have lots of options to make their homes more energy efficient.

“It makes sense to help more families install energy saving improvements now, so that they see the benefits of lower bills and a warmer home for years to come.”

Warm Up Bristol has something for everyone. The council is working with community partners such as Bristol Energy Network and Easton Energy Group to engage local residents and help them to make their homes warmer and cheaper to heat.

A cluster of houses on Johnsons Road, Stepney Road and Stepney Walk in Easton have already benefitted from external wall insulation and people are encouraged to visit the demonstrator streets to see the finished result.

Bristol City Council launched the website where people can find out how they could benefit from the scheme.

Community groups can earn referral fees as part of the project if you would like to refer your “Warm Up Bristol” application to support your local community group in your area please mention one of the following referal codes:
·         BEN000 Bristol Energy Network

·         BEN001 Easton Energy Group

·         BEN002 Totterdown Energy

·         BEN003 Hillfields Energy

·         BEN004 Bristol Friends of the Earth

·         BEN005 Bristol Energy Cooperative

·         BEN006 Bristol Power Coop

If you would like your community group/ energy group to get involved please contact

Bean Feast 2014 planning meeting 5th March!

The sun has started shining again and it’s nearly March already, which means the Bean Feast is just over 6 months away! Crikey, we’d better get cracking on with organising it. This email is to let you know that the next planning meeting is happening this coming Wednesday 5th March at 8pm at 33 Bath Buildings (BS6 5PT).

You can read out about the proposed agenda on our wicked website (link).

Feel free to come along with ideas or suggestions for the agenda, we like to bring cakes and biscuits to our meetings to help the creative juices flow.

Over and out,

The Bean Team x

Transport system sustainability in Bristol

From Glenn Vowles:

Hello everyone. I’m hoping you will look at this academic survey on the sustainability of Bristol’s transport system here and circulate it to anyone with an interest and stake in Bristol who might complete it in whole or part(takes approx. 15 mins).

This survey is part of a piece of postgraduate research being conducted by an Open University student because Bristol (EU Green Capital for 2015) has sustainability ambitions. Its results will only be used for general academic purposes (contact if you want information about the results). It is an entirely anonymously completed survey aimed at a wide range of people with an active stake in Bristol’s transport system.