Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Transition Towns: Strawberries and Cream in the People’s Paradise?

Often (I’m told), a new convert to the Transition Movement will embrace it with the fervor of a religious zealot. The skeptic warns that crafting a vision of the future and trying to steer society towards that vision is an endeavor that is not only presumptuous but fraught with peril. The truth, says Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Network and author of The Transition Handbook: From oil dependency to local resilience, is that the right attitude lies somewhere in the middle.

No one knows what the future will bring. Transition adherents are no different. Like most people who have been awake at some point in the last couple of decades, they can make educated guesses. Finite, carbon-based resources are dwindling. Climate change is real and threatens the survival of our species and the planet. What the Transition Movement does is bring people in a community together to try to bring their separate expertise and experience together to map out a blueprint to prepare for just about any calamity or upheaval. There is no one-size-fits-all Transition plan, and their website readily—cheerfully, actually—acknowledges this:

The 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. 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:

  • 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.

Everything that you read on this site is the result of real work undertaken in the real world with community engagement at its heart. There’s not an ivory tower in sight, no professors in musty oak-panelled studies churning out erudite papers, no slavish adherence to a model carved in stone.

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, perhaps…

If you live in New England, you’ll have a chance to find out for yourself what it’s all about:

Luckily, there’s a chance Monday for everyone in the central Vermont area to find out more about Transition Towns and judge for themselves. Naresh Giangrande, co-founder of the first Transition Town, Totnes in the UK, will speak on “Transition Towns: From Oil Dependency to Resilient Communities.” The talk is Monday, November 24, 7 pm. Unitarian Church, Main Street, Montpelier. We’re being contacted by people as far away as Maine and Massachusetts who want to hear the talk, so come early!

Read more here.


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