Transition Ferndale Seeks Those Who Want a Sustainable Future

Transition Ferndale Seeks Those Who Want a Sustainable Future

(Crystal A. Proxmire, 4/10/2011)


Members of the newly organized group Transition Ferndale met Thursday to discuss how the group will be structured and what direction it will take in the effort to keep Ferndale moving forward in the face of depleting global resources.


“Peak oil, climate change and economic instability are all indicating that we cannot rely on the high-tech, high-energy global economy.  We advocate developing a network of low energy and high-employment local economies. Transition from high energy to low will be the work of generations, just as building up to the global economy was the work of generations,” explains Transition Ferndale’s website –


The goal is to create a master plan that gets neighbors working together with local government and businesses to encourage and support local efforts for change.  The emphasis is on growing or shopping locally and understanding the costs (both environmental and economic) of having the bulk of  food transported in.  They also hope to solve transportation issues, and to find out what other residents might like to work on as a team.

“By the end of this century, fossil fuels will be gone,” said Transition Ferndale founder Art Myatt.  “Peak oil will run out and we will have to deal with it.  The more we can do now to prepare, the better we will be able to adjust to the changes in our world.”


Myatt connected with about a dozen other people in the greater Ferndale area who he found in online discussion groups.  He retired from 30 years working in the solar energy industry with a keen awareness of the energy problems that face our world.  He hopes to share that awareness with as many in the area as possible.


Ferndale resident Todd Blakenship worked in the automotive industry for years without considering the big picture of how that industry would survive as resources became more scarce.  “I read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and it started opening my eyes to the agricultural system,” Blakenship said.


“I’ve gone from a starry-eyed car freak, to someone who can’t wait to get rid of his car,” he said.  “Once you understand what is going on, you look around and feel like you’re wearing special glasses, and you see things other people don’t seem to see.”

He and others in the group now hope to see Ferndalians working together on projects like a community garden, changing local ordinances (such as allowing residents to keep chickens), and solving transportation issues.  Members from the Ferndale Time Bank also attended the Transition Ferndale meeting, hoping that their system of volunteer hour swapping might help the movement get started.


“This is the year to get everyone speaking the same language,” said Ferndale resident and Master Gardener/Certified Permaculture Specialist Trevor Johnson.  Johnson has been active in the Ferndale Farm Stand and other community farming projects.  (He also does educational speaking, such as this class done for FernCare –  He said that educating people about the fact that resource depletion is a problem is part of the initial battle, and that the first year will be spent building the base of the organization and making sure people are familiar with how a Transition group actually works.  “When we have a few hundred people involved I will think it’s going well,” he said.


The Transition Ferndale movement is modeled after other Transition Town groups worldwide.  The idea has taken off more in Europe, but there are groups in Grosse Pointe, Ann Arbor, and Ypsilanti.


As part of their efforts to educate the community, on the third Thursday of each of the coming months, Transition Ferndale will host a film and discussion night at the Ferndale Public Library (222 E. 9 Mile) beginning at 7pm. (see schedule here –

Transiton Ferndale is looking for people to get involved.  See their website at

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