We can do this the hard way or the easy way. The easy way is that you skip this post and buy the book now.
The hard way is that your reviewer attempts to describe a 320 page book whose contents have been shaped by the infinitely varied experiences of self-organising initiatives around the world. In these, thousands of people have explored one question over a five year period: “How do we make our community more resilient in uncertain times?”.
In my previous article, I recapped and built upon Nicole Foss’ (Stoneleigh of The Automatic Earth blog) presentation in Vancouver last week. The first part of her presentation, I noted, was about the current intractable economic (and specifically debt) problems we face at all levels (governments, corporations, individuals), and how neither of the most-supported top-down alternatives (austerity or stimulus) can hope to improve the situation or avoid total economic collapse.
How has Transition changed my life? Utterly, completely, forever. This is not how I would have started a Sunday morning several years ago. I would not, for example, have known why the birds were feeding in the arable fields, I would not have rejoiced in and lamented the frost, thinking simultaneously of the vegetables and the fruit trees that need a winter to flourish and the shivering people in the Occupy encampments. I would not have put on two recycled jumpers or got down to write a blog at 7am. The central heating would have automatically warmed up the house, and I would be up around nine, thinking about my private world, lying in a hot bath.
After a few years of getting a bad rap during the recession and the Occupy protests, a group of economics professors are fighting back with an organization devoted to promoting a "reality-based" study of money and market...
A sustainable world that works for the 99% is possible, if we can respond to climate change, economic injustice and resource depletion at the same time. The transition to a renewable energy economy can be a valuable frame for that discussion. Just as the financial elites brought about the economic crisis, they are blocking the renewable energy transition to reap more profit from their fossil fuel investments. Because of fuel depletion as well as climate change, further delay may prevent a successful transition. Social justice and sustainability advocates can blow the whistle on the 1% for this issue too, and collaborate to speed up the transition locally.
Some of you are aware that I have been working on a cooperative board game called Collapse! designed to help people learn and practice grassroots community-building and preparing locally for the various crises that may precede civilization’s collapse. I’ve finally got a first outline draft of the game, and decided to share it with the world before I go any further. Here are the rules and some images of the game equipment that I have developed thus far, along with a list of what I still have to do to complete the game’s development.
As part of the promotion of ‘The Transition Companion‘, Emilio Mula made these 10 short films of different stories from the book. The recent BBC series ‘A History of the World in 100 Objects’ beautifully told the story of the evolution of human history illustrated by 100 objects chosen from the British Museum’s collection. We used a similar approach to tell the story of the emerging and unfolding Transition movement, which in its short life has spread to 35 countries around the world from its humble beginnings in Kinsale, Ireland.
Imagine a world where we no longer rely on oil for transportation or fuelling our economy. Rather, we live in local communities where we collectively grow our own food, trade goods, swap ideas about health and lifestyle and exchange services using a local currency. This scenario is called a Transition Town (TT) and it’s not some distant utopian vision; it’s already happening around the world, including here in Australia.
Let's mobilize of thousands of new residents, create innumerable sustainability actions provide the community networks and cross-sector collaborations needed to Transition our towns and cities across the US.
A Village Reinvents Itself But down the road from me, in the tiny former mill town of Saxapahaw, North Carolina, is a gas station that is working hard on becoming more sustainable. And that's just one of the exciting, green and innovative things going on in this rural community that is working toward resilience in its truest sense. From local food to biofuels to renewable energy to serious rock and roll, a village that was once considered a bit of a backwater has become a hub for a new way of doing things.
In the sustainability field, we face the challenge of extreme complexity and gloom scenarios. We hear mainly bad news: scarcity and decline. It is extremely easy for people to feel overwhelmed or depressed. We find ourselves living in fear and fear inhibits the creative response required.
Join us for an insightful conversation with Rob Hopkins, author, Permaculturist and founder of the Transition Towns Movement.
In this conversation we will be asking Rob to go more deeply into the "ingredients of Transition" as well as answering questions supplied by participants. Transition US board member, author and visionary Vicki Robin will be the host for this call.
From competition among hunter-gatherers for wild game to imperialist wars over precious minerals, resource wars have been fought throughout history; today, however, the competition appears set to enter a new--and perhaps unprecedented--phase. As natural resources deplete, and as the Earth's climate becomes less stable, the world's nations will likely compete ever more desperately for access to fossil fuels, minerals, agricultural land, and water.
One of the challenges of community organizing in the Transition model is the sheer variety of people involved. Many are enthused and inspired by the hope that Transition offers in response to the challenges of economic contraction, peak oil, and climate change. People are roused, excited, wanting to break new ground and create an inspirational working model of what the world could be. But what happens when your voice joins with the varied voices that make up your community?
Many people, many different ideas. Some more forthright than others. Some born leaders. Some not necessarily leaders but vocal just the same. Or the quieter one, the stubborn one, the one ready to do everything. The challenge is bringing all these different voices to the same table.
"The Global Transition 2012 is an international network of organisations and leading thinkers from the Global North and South.
It is catalysing a ‘Global Transition’ by building a community of civil society organisations across the globe to promote and deliver a rapid transition to the desirable and beneficial economy that we aspire to.
The ultimate vision of the initiative is an alternative global green economy that maximises well-being, operates within environmental limits and is capable of coping and adapting to global environmental change."
Surely in our present and unfolding predicament, to recalibrate our economy as a Steady State economy requires an enormous amount of infrastructure, investment and maybe we don’t have that kind of resource any more. Might the kind of more localised world that Transition is talking about be what we get by default rather than by design?
Transition in general is great. But in our view the Transition movement itself is even greater. People need a values-based (and sometimes a selfish) reason to shift a paradigm. Too see that it’s the right thing to do for other species, our own survival and our kids’ futures; Transition lifestyles are more sustainable, human-scale and help create community; our health and happiness matter, etc. And people also need practical responses that they can apply now without having to reinvent the wheel.
A year and a half ago, inspired and guided by Transition US and Northeast Regional Trainer, Tina Clarke, twelve adventurous and committed Northfielders embarked on a project designed to re-localize Northfield. They were armed with the following mission:
“Transition Northfield is a creative community-based response to economic instability, resource depletion (peak oil), and climate change. Its aim is to engage residents from all aspects of our community to work together in a positive practical process that increases local resilience and economic vitality. It is flexible and fun, encourages local creativity, and results in a stronger, more cohesive community.”
In the Q&A section of public presentations we often get asked "How do you tell people about Transition ..." Then the questioner launches into a vivid description of how his attempts have failed to get through to his Hummer-driving brother-in-law, or his boss who vacations in the Bahamas, or his fellow churchgoers who rhapsodize over malls and "bargains" at big box stores, or his neighbor with the pristine, overwatered chem-lawn.