The New Paltz Transition Group launched its first kickoff event on Thursday, Feb. 2 in Coykendall Science Building Auditorium.
“Transitioning is about everyone knowing their neighbors and people doing what their grandparents did when things were frugal,” said Daniel Lipson assistant professor of political science and international relations and an active member of the transition movement.
The group’s primary goal is to inform the community about the rapid depletion of fossil fuels and to develop ways to decrease their increasing disappearance.
The group is calling on community members to change their lifestyle by becoming more energy efficient. The group suggests simple changes such as the town growing their own food, using public transportation or carpooling, sharing expensive household products and bartering.
Lipson said one of the biggest challenges in this movement is getting as many community members involved as possible.
“This movement is about getting the police officers, factory workers, children, and everyone involved,” Lipson said. “The village government is completely on board but the challenge is to get residents other than the usual suspects on board.”
Various towns in the Hudson Valley faced the same concern while planning their kickoff event, Lipson said.
During a conference in November, community members discussed the movement and the ways they could possibly create a successful kickoff event, which would draw in as many people as possible. The villages decided on a movie screening addressing fossil fuel issues and proposing solutions. Each town screened a different film which they thought would convey the best message for their community, according to the event.
The group chose to show the film “In Translation 1.0,” highlighting the theme of bringing the local community together and building an interdependent infrastructure. The film focused on various towns in the U.K. who have already made great strides in transitioning to a lower energy future.
“Other films focused on a global perspective, [“In Transition 1.0”] focused on grabbing the viewer with local solutions,” Lipson said.
The towns represented in the film explore changing the way they supply food, the way they travel, run their government, use energy and build and manage their economy.
Various community members attended this event and joined together in a discussion after the film. New Paltz Village Trustee and emcee Ariana Basco said this movement is about making a lifestyle change.
During the event, Basco spoke about what the transition movement represented.
“The transition movement is like putting all the puzzle pieces together to get everyone to see that big picture,” Basco said.
This event was the first of many for the New Paltz Transition Group. Following this event, there will be more general interest meetings, discussion sessions and training sessions.