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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.


10 Books to Curl Up With This Winter

William Wordsworth was right when he said, “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Nevertheless, the cold, dark days of winter can still get the best of even Nature’s most tenderhearted admirer. What’s one to do? We here at Chelsea Green have concocted the perfect cabin fever remedy with our suggested winter reading […] Read More..

Top 8 Chelsea Green Books the Self-Styled Oregon Militia Should Read

The ongoing armed militia occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is showing no signs of ending — so, rather than send them snacks, or sex toys, we had an idea: Send them a book! Better yet, send them several Chelsea Green books. Don’t worry, we’ve picked five key titles that we think […] Read More..

Tracing the History of Cheddar with Cheesemonger Gordon Edgar

Cheddar is the world’s most ubiquitous and beloved cheese. You can find it nearly everywhere from macaroni and mousetraps to McDonald’s and mansions. Any cheese with so many fans has a story to tell, and Gordon Edgar is just the cheesemonger to tell it.In his book, Cheddar, Edgar traces the unexplored history of America’s most iconic cheese. Traveling […] Read More..

Winter Survival Tips From Mat Stein

Now that temperatures have started to dip below freezing and most folks living in colder climates have witnessed their first snow flurries of the season, it’s time to get serious about winter preparedness. Make sure you are ready for stormy weather and extreme cold on your next road trip with these winter driving tips from […] Read More..

A Book for the Fruit Nerd on Your Holiday Gift List

Have a fruit enthusiast on your holiday shopping list this year? Then give the gift that Booklist calls, “a thorough investigation of one wonderful fruit”—The Book of Pears by Joan Morgan.Sure cherries, plums, peaches, and other fruits have their unique qualities, but nothing quite compares to the pear’s luscious texture, richness of taste, and fragrance reminiscent […] Read More..
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