Keynote Events

Keynote events are opportunities for National Gathering participants and members of the general public to come together to hear from leading voices in the Transition movement and beyond. The following presentations will be accompanied by panel discussions, Q&A sessions, music, and celebration. Please click on any of the images or titles below for more information.

Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow at Post Carbon Institute

We face a species survival-level problem - the need to transition society away from our reliance on climate-changing fossil fuels. Yet national officials not only deny that this is a problem - they are determined to make it harder to solve. Political resistance is one path forward, but it is unlikely to succeed soon. Another response, the Transition response, is local, grassroots action to build resilience at the community level.

It is at this level where those most affected by government policy have the greatest ability to shape it. It’s also the place where it may still be possible to work around political stereotypes to identify common values and goals.

Rob Hopkins, Founder of the International Transition Movement

Rob Hopkins reflects on the 10 years since Transition started as an optimistic project in a small Devon town, sparked by an opportune meeting in a thatched pub, which has been licensed to serve alcohol since 1321.

What has happened since? What has worked? What were the moments that were most surprising, intriguing, impactful or unsettling? What have we learned from this grand experiment? Illustrated with stories from around the world, this talk will be a celebration of what we have achieved and a herald of what may come next.

Phyllis Young, Standing Rock Elder and Water Protector

Standing Rock attracted the attention of the world in its historic gathering to fight against the building of the Dakota access pipeline that would risk polluting the water supply. Now, in the aftermath of what appeared to be a failure, behind the scenes the fight continues with successes and many other pipeline front-line camps now being built. Additionally, efforts have been catalyzed to help the Standing Rock reservation transition to sustainable enterprises, alternative sources of energy, cultural healing, and permaculture projects. Learn what happened at Standing Rock, the water protector movement that is going strong, and the great efforts currently underway that will continue to inspire the world, including the rising of women's leadership.

Update:  Pearl Means will be joining Phyllis and local water protector Sharon Day will be opening with a blessing. Please see their bios on our presenters page.  For media requests, email