According to a recent survey, a startling number of Brits do not actually believe in green issues. Here's the article if you want to read it... http://www.clickgreen.org.uk/analysis/general-analysis/122594-survey-finds-half-of-britons-don%5Ct-believe-in-green-issues.html
Down here in good old Tenterden, deep in the heart of Conservative Kent, we know this to be all too true. We've been running T3 since May13th last year and it's really still a struggle to get people involved in things. OK, we do get a lot of people turning up to our events, but essentially the events themselves would not occur were it not for the sheer bloody-minded determination and efforts of three or four core members. A lot of people tell us we are doing a great job, and that in itself is gratifying, but mention the 'V' word - that's right, 'volunteer' - and you can't get them to look you in the eye.
There is something vaguely amusing about what we do. It's as if we are just some harmless nutters doing all that green eco-friendly mumbo-jumbo stuff.
"Oh look in the paper Marjorie, it's those lovely Transition people again"
"Oh really, what are they doing this time?"
"Something to do with bikes, I expect."
I think they imagine we go home at night and knit Arran sweaters from bellybutton fluff and drive hessian cars that run on macrobiotic yogurt. (Wouldn't that be something?)
It's been really difficult to get people involved, despite the various ways of getting the message out there at or disposal. Some people have been kind and generous and have let us use their facilities or appear at their events and haven't charged a penny piece. We are eternally grateful for stuff like that. We've had some great events of our own and we've raised our profile in the town and actually raised funds for our ongoing projects.
And we've had some serious disappointments - ideas like The Tenterden Bag (a reusable shopping bag that, when used in local shops,would give the user a discount or a freebie or points of some sort - to keep the local people shopping in local stores and keep bags out of the landfill) and a local food festival have been met with disdain or mild disinterest.
Never mind. We will just keep plugging away at what we do, and one day the people will look at what we are up to and say "Hmmm... interesting. Think I'll give them a call." Transition is a slowburn process. People's attitudes will not be changed overnight. But when things start to get hairy out there, when the petrol is scarcer and more expensive, when Tesco and Waitrose can't afford to import stuff anymore, that's when we can really begin the Transition proper, because that's when our ideas may not sound so daft after all.