Thursday, October 16, 2008

Transition Towns

The Transition Towns movement started when Rob Hopkins held a permaculture (see my post of 7/22/08) course in Kinsale, Ireland. As part of the course, students created an "Energy Descent Action Plan". One of the students took it to the town council which resulted in the town of Kinsale adopting the plan. Rob Hopkins, inspired by this, took the idea to his hometown of Totnes, England, which eventually became an official Transition Town.

At this point there are one hundred locations, worldwide, officially embracing a Transition Initiative (the name that will be slowly replacing 'Transition Town' since many of the locations are cities, villages, districts, etc). In addition, there are well over six hundred locations across the planet that are 'mulling over' the idea.

The Transition Initiative is a formal process that involves a commitment from everyone involved. It begins when there are four or five people willing to step into leadership roles (the Transition folks are clear that one or two enthusiastic persons are not enough). They have a twelve step process (yes, like a recovery group) that they outline for developing the initiative--from setting up a steering group that begins with the intention to disband as soon as sub-groups are formed, to creating an Energy Descent Plan. (And one of the steps is to use Open Space Technology. See my post of 8/31/08, which includes a bit about Transition Towns.)

Rob Hopkins has written a book called The Transition Handbook which outlines the Transition Initiative process which is available from the Transition Culture website. There is also a Transition Primer available for free on the Transition Towns WIKI which is also a great source for all sorts of information on Transition Initiatives. Finally, there are Transition Trainings happening in England, the US, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, and provisionally, Australia and Japan. I am very pleased that several will be happening in the Boston area, as well as up in Portland, Maine.

If you are interested in taking sustainability beyond your household, this is the next step up. We may not be able to change the nations yet (let alone the world), but you may be able to make your town (city, village, district, etc) a Transition Town.

Quote of the day: "People are starting to see peak oil as the Great Opportunity, the chance to build the world they always dreamt of. ... The scale of the challenge is huge, and the obstacles are plenty, but there is an emerging energy to succeed, a sense of quickening and an exhilaration in talking and listening to each other once again, to visioning what we want and then rolling up our sleeves and starting to co-create it." - Rob Hopkins
Word (or phrase) of the day: Sustainable Agriculture
Hero(es) of the day: Maggie Kuhn

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