The Transition Movement is comprised of vibrant, grassroots community initiatives that seek to build community resilience in the face of such challenges as peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis. Transition Initiatives differentiate themselves from other sustainability and "environmental" groups by seeking to mitigate these converging global crises by engaging their communities in home-grown, citizen-led education, action, and multi-stakeholder planning to increase local self reliance and resilience.
We are living in an age of unprecedented change, with a number of crises converging. Climate change, global economic instability, overpopulation, erosion of community, declining biodiversity, and resource wars, have all stemmed from the availability of cheap, non-renewable fossil fuels. Global oil, gas and coal production is predicted to irreversibly decline in the next 10 to 20 years, and severe climate changes are already taking effect around the world. The coming shocks are likely to be catastrophic
These 12 Ingredients (aka Steps) have grown out of the observation of what seemed to work in the early Transition Initiatives. They don’t take you from A to Z but rather from A to C, which is as far as we’ve got with the model today. These Steps don’t necessarily follow each other logically in the order they are set out here; every Transition Initiative weaves through them differently. The 12 Ingredients are still evolving, in part shaped by your experience of using them.
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This book seeks to answer the question: “What would it look like if the best responses to peak oil and climate change came not from committees and Acts of Parliament, but from you and me, and the people around us?”
For the first Transition Handbook, published in 2008, this was ...
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.
We truly don't know if this will work. Transition is a social experiment on a massive scale.
What we are convinced of is this:
Everything that you read on this site is the result of real work undertaken in the real world with community engagement at its heart. This site, just like the transition model, is brought to you by people who are actively engaged in transition in a community. People who are learning by doing - and learning all the time. People who understand that we can't sit back and wait for someone else to do the work. People like you.
Transition Towns (also known as Transition network or Transition Movement) is a brand for environmental and social movements “founded (in part) upon the principles of permaculture” , based originally on Bill Mollison’s seminal Permaculture, a Designers Manual published in 1988. The Transition Towns brand of permaculture uses David Holmgren’s 2003 book, Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability.  These techniques were included in a student project overseen by permaculture teacher Rob Hopkins at the Kinsale Further Education College in Ireland. The term transition town was coined by Louise Rooney and Catherine Dunne. Following its start in Kinsale, Ireland it then spread to Totnes, England where Rob Hopkins and Naresh Giangrande developed the concept during 2005 and 2006. The aim of this community project is to equip communities for the dual challenges of climate change and peak oil. The Transition Towns movement is an example of socioeconomic localisation. In 2007, the UK-based charity Transition Network started up in order to help spread the ideas of transition and support communities around the world as they adopted/adapted the transition model to turn their locale into a more resilient, lower carbon settlement.
The Transition concept emerged from work that permaculture designer Rob Hopkins had done with the students of Kinsale Further Education College in writing an "Energy Descent Action Plan". This looked at across-the-board creative adaptations in the realms of energy production, health, education, economy and agriculture as a "road map" to a sustainable future for the town. Two of his students, Louise Rooney and Catherine Dunne, set about developing the transition towns concept and took the far-reaching step of presenting it to Kinsale Town Council, resulting in the historic decision by councillors to adopt the plan and work towards energy independence.
The idea was adapted and expanded through 2005, 2006 and beyond in Hopkins' hometown of Totnes where he is now based. The initiative spread quickly, and as of May 2010, there are over 300 communities recognized as official Transition Towns in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Italy and Chile. The term transition towns has morphed into transition initiatives to reflect the range and type of communities involved - e.g. villages (Kinsale), neighbourhoods of cities (Portobello, Edinburgh), through council districts (Penwith) to cities and city boroughs (Brixton).
In the United States, transition initiatives have sprung up in many communities. Transition US is the national hub and has a vision "that every community in the United States will have engaged its collective creativity to unleash an extraordinary and historic transition to a future beyond fossil fuels; a future that is more vibrant, abundant and resilient; one that is ultimately preferable to the present". Transition US is a resource and catalyst for building resilient communities across the United States that are able to withstand severe energy, climate or economic shocks while creating a better quality of life in the process. They are accomplishing this mission by inspiring, encouraging, supporting, networking and training individuals and their communities as they consider, adopt, adapt, and implement the transition approach to community empowerment and change.
A large number of state sites have also been set up using the Ning social networking platform. These state sites, under the umbrella of a National Ning site, were set up to help facilitate, network, inform, monitor, and house regional and organizational Transition initiatives and further the rapid spread of the Transition Movement while networking related organizations, projects, ideas and activities. These social networking sites have now begun to spread worldwide.
The main aim of the project generally, and echoed by the towns locally, is to raise awareness of sustainable living and build local ecological resilience in the near future. Communities are encouraged to seek out methods for reducing energy usage as well as reducing their reliance on long supply chains that are totally dependent on fossil fuels for essential items. Food is a key area, and they often talk of "Food feet, not food miles!" Initiatives so far have included creating community gardens to grow food; business waste exchange, which seeks to match the waste of one industry with another industry that uses that waste material; and even simply repairing old items rather than throwing them away.
The Transition Network website contains a listing of the initiatives that have registered there.
While the focus and aims remain the same, the methods used to achieve these vary. For example, Totnes has introduced its own local currency, the Totnes pound, which is redeemable in local shops and businesses, helping to reduce "food miles" while also supporting local firms. This idea is also planned to be introduced in three Welsh transition towns and in Maleny Australia, the Baroon Dollar as a part of a regional transition towns project.
Central to the transition town movement is the idea that a life without oil could in fact be far more enjoyable and fulfilling than the present: "by shifting our mind-set we can actually recognise the coming post-cheap oil era as an opportunity rather than a threat, and design the future low carbon age to be thriving, resilient and abundant — somewhere much better to live than our current alienated consumer culture based on greed, war and the myth of perpetual growth."
An essential aspect of transition in many places, is that the outer work of transition needs to be matched by inner transition. That is in order to move down the energy descent pathways effectively we need to rebuild our relations with our selves, with each other and with the "natural" worlds. That requires focusing on the heart and soul of transition.
A key concept within transition is the idea of a community visioned, community designed and community implemented plan to proactively transition the community away from fossil fuels. The term "community" in this context includes all the key players - local people, local institutions, local agencies and the local council. With a website devoted to the plan and the publication of Totnes' Energy Descent Action Plan (EDAP), the definition of the concept of transition towns has recently seen a significant development.
The number of communities involved in the project is increasing with many localities in the process of becoming "official" transition towns. Transition Towns has even featured in the plot line of the long-running BBC Radio 4 series The Archers, which illustrates the media attention and rapid growth the movement is generating.
As of 2010, transition initiatives are generally including the global financial crisis as a third aspect beside peak oil and climate change. Initially, this has been linked to the creation of a series of local currencies in transition towns including the Totnes pound, the Lewes pound, the Stroud pound as well as the Brixton pound in London.
There are transition initiatives all over the world now, and much of the material has been translated and adapted to other languages/cultures. These translated materials are linked from this page, and cover:
Transition Network, the charity based in the UK whose mission is to "inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities as they adopt/adapt the transition model in response to climate change, peak oil and economic contraction" has released a number of publications. These are designed to help communities through the varying stages of their initiative.
The books listed on the Transition Network books page are: