Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Transition Towns- A way through the coming dual crises of peak oil and climate change

There are twin crises looming in our immediate future .. ones which threaten our society with its very survival. Our society has reached a great and beautiful place, in many ways, but the core foundation our society rests on is cheap oil. We are coming to the end of the age of cheap oil and it seems almost nobody knows about the problem. Further complicating the problem is one more people know about, climate change, where the environmental conditions we humans have enjoyed for eons are spiraling into an extremely hot period. Neither of these issues are ones which will kill all life everywhere, so we are not talking about apocalypse here. However these mean an end to the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed. The transition from our current overly luxurious lifestyle to the new one can be easy, or it can be abrupt and bloody.

The Transition Town concept is about preparing society for a more orderly transition to a different style of living. The suggested lifestyle is lower in impact, sustainably focused, localized, human scale, etc. It shares a lot of concepts with other simplification lifestyles and one could see this as a remedy for the high stress high speed lifestyle modern life has become. Wasn't technology supposed to give us a life of leisure? If so then why are we rushing about so madly? Maybe we just need to slow down irregardless of the threats of peak oil or climate change? - is the home site for the Transition Town movement. It began in 2006, apparently, in Totnes, UK and is spreading like wildfire. It is most prevalent in the UK but groups are springing up worldwide.

What is a Transition Town (or village / city / forest / island)? 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.

There are twelve key steps to setting up a transition town group:-

#1. Set up a steering group and design its demise from the outset

#2. Awareness raising

#3. Lay the foundations

#4. Organise a Great Unleashing

#5. Form sub groups

#6. Use Open Space Technology - a meeting format that allows for very open ended conferences that organically grow

#7 Develop visible practical manifestations of the project

#8. Facilitate the Great Reskilling

#9 Build a bridge to Local Government

#10 Honour the elders

#11 Let it go where it wants to go…

#12 Create an Energy Descent Plan

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