A lady from Transition Houston called me yesterday and I got the opportunity to chat with a woman whose city is on a similar path as ours. Houston and Oklahoma City have many of the same characteristics: conservative, oil and gas industry-dominated, huge sprawling metroplexes, and so it was a very interesting discussion.
It seems that Transitions Houston and OKC are working with some of the same challenges as well. For instance:
- How do we phrase and present the issues to a resistant population?
- How do we discuss what may seem like 'liberal' ideas to conservative people?
- How do we emphasize the positive while not minimizing the urgency and scale of the negative? - How do we focus our efforts, especially where there is so much geographic space?
- How do we appear credible and legitimate?
- How to engage other groups already working on related issues?
One thing that Transition Houston is doing is encouraging neighborhood initiatives. This kind of hyper-local organizing is something that I think will be very valuable for Oklahoma City. Neighborhood initiatives were one of the discussion groups that we had during our recent retreat, and we are going to refine the idea more during our next meeting - and hopefully get to some action soon ;).
I'm glad that I got the chance to talk with Transition Houston and I hope to keep in touch. As our groups make progress, it will be interesting to compare notes and share ideas. I believe Transition Town is a very grand experiment, where we need to continually try new things, see what works, and improve and refine our efforts. It's great to have a sister city for the journey!