The Solutions

The future with less oil could be better than the present, but only if we engage in designing this Transition with creativity and imagination.

–Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Towns movement

People throughout the United States and the world are concerned with the enormous problems posed by Peak Oil, Climate Change and the problems that come with economic destabilization. The Transition Movement proposes positive solutions that are able to motivate people to action.

Text from transitionnetwork.org (photos from Transition Culver City events):

Cheerful disclaimer: Just in case you were under the impression that Transition is a process defined by people who have all the answers, you need to be aware of a key fact: Transition is a social experiment on a massive scale.

 

What we are convinced of is this:

– If we wait for the governments, it’ll be too little, too late.

– If we act as individuals, it’ll be too little.

– But if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time.

 

It all starts off when a small collection of motivated individuals within a community come together with a shared concern: how can our community respond to the challenges, and opportunities, of Peak Oil and Climate Change?

They begin by forming an initiating group and then adopt the Transition Model with the intention of engaging a significant proportion of the people in their community to kick off a Transition Initiative.

A Transition Initiative is a community working together to look Peak Oil and Climate Change squarely in the eye and address this BIG question: “for all those aspects of life that this community needs in order to sustain itself and thrive, how do we significantly increase resilience (to mitigate the effects of Peak Oil) and drastically reduce carbon emissions (to mitigate the effects of Climate Change)?”

After going through a comprehensive and creative process of:

– awareness raising around peak oil, climate change and the need to undertake a community lead process to rebuild resilience and reduce carbon

– connecting with existing groups in the community

– building bridges to local government

– connecting with other transition initiatives

– forming groups to look at all the key areas of life (food, energy, transport, health, heart & soul, economics & livelihoods, etc)

– kicking off projects aimed at building people’s understanding of resilience and carbon issues and community engagement

– eventually launching a community defined, community implemented “Energy Descent Action Plan” over a 15 to 20 year timescale

 

This results in a coordinated range of projects across all these areas of life that strives to rebuild the resilience we’ve lost as a result of cheap oil and reduce the community’s carbon emissions drastically.

The community also recognizes two crucial points:

– that we used immense amounts of creativity, ingenuity and adaptability on the way up the energy upslope, and that there’s no reason for us not to do the same on the downslope

– if we collectively plan and act early enough there’s every likelihood that we can create a way of living that’s significantly more connected, more vibrant and more in touch with our environment than the oil-addicted treadmill that we find ourselves on today.

Final point. Just to weave the climate change and peak oil situations together…

– Climate change makes this carbon reduction transition essential

– Peak oil makes it inevitable

– Transition initiatives make it feasible, viable and attractive (as far we can tell so far…)

Transition concepts are drawn largely from Permaculture concepts. For an excellent 16 page summary of these concepts go here.

“The Transition concept is one of the big ideas of our time. Peak oil and climate change can so often leave one feeling depressed and disempowered. What I love about the Transition approach is that it is inspirational, harnessing hope instead of guilt, and optimism instead of fear.”

–Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association