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Deniers, Doomers, and Doers: Shaun Chamberlin Talks Transition

Carl Munson talks to author Shaun Chamberlin (The Transition Timeline) on about the four possible scenarios in a future of dwindling resources and worrisome climate trends.

Here’s a partial transcript:

SC: [The book] lays out four scenarios for how the next twenty years could pan out in the U.K…

So, there’s the denial scenario, which is, essentially, a continuation of business as usual and not acknowledging the sort of environmental crises that we’re facing, and reaping the consequences of that, and in that scenario, for example, I think by—I have to check this—but I think by 2016 in that scenario we hit unstoppable runaway climate change, for example.

And then the next scenario we look at is called “hitting the wall,” and in that scenario we acknowledge these problems exist, but we try to deal with them through existing ways of thinking, through sort of free market mechanisms and through the same kind of thinking that got us into the problem in the first place and really fail to address them sort of satisfactorily.

The third is what we call “the impossible dream,” which is the sort of, the scenario that many people have in their minds where renewable technology sort of rides in to the rescue and everything’s fine and we just transition happily from oil to solar panels and wind power and it’s a very smooth process. But when you actually look at the facts and figures on that, it’s not really possible that it can work out that way. So in this scenario…we follow that story that that’s what’s going to happen, but we end up facing a lot of difficulties because we can’t really bring the energy supply online that we need in time.

But the real focus of the book is on the fourth scenario, which is the transition vision, which is a sort of best-realistic-case scenario as to how the future could pan out, and that’s looked at in a lot more depth than the other three scenarios. We look at trends on population and demographics, we look at healthcare, we look at food and water, travel and transport, energy. So all these sections are looked at in detail, and we look at the current position and the current trends, and then the kind of new ways of thinking that we need to avoid the unpleasant consequences of those trends. So the kinds of cultural stories that we need to shift in order to thrive and move into a thriving, resilient future, given the energy constraints that we face and the carbon, the climate constraints that we face.

And so we look at the present position of trends and the cultural story trends, and then we lay out our transition vision in detail of how each of these areas—food and transport and energy—could map out over the next twenty years in a really positive, happy, thriving way.

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