While politicians squabble, make poor choices, and offer few solutions, the "Transition Movement" is quietly but surely spreading across the globe.
From Toronto to Vancouver, from Auckland to Sydney, from Brixton (UK) to Berkeley California, from Portugal to Brussels, the Transition Movement has grown from 400 registered towns in 2008 to over 1200 in late 2014, spanning 43 countries.
Peterborough is a city of around 80,000 people on the Otonabee River in Central Ontario, Canada, 125 kilometers (78 mi) northeast of Toronto. The Transition Town Peterborough website explains concisely the goals typical of the Transition movement.
Transition Town Peterborough (TTP) is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization focused on reducing our community-wide dependence on fossil fuels while increasing local resilience and self-sufficiency in food, water, energy, culture, and wellness with economic localization. (1)
With a background in permaculture design, Hopkins and his students looked at the challenges of shifting social, environmental, and economic conditions to develop a blueprint for communities to move forward.
Hopkins wrote "The
Transition Handbook" in 2008 which has become a revered
reference tool for the movement.
The Transition movement runs events,
conferences, training, blogs, and webinars, as well as producing
monthly newsletters, books, films, guides, and tweets, all with the
intention of supporting those around the world who are doing
The movement addresses all aspects of life - social, economic, environmental, spiritual /psychological - which are being profoundly challenged by the unfolding of the environmental crisis, economic upheaval, and resource depletion. (3)
Secondly, by exploring these more locally based solutions, many of the broader environmental challenges are also addressed. Many of the problems that have emerged from globalization, such as the transfer of capital to an elite class, unsustainable long distance supply chains, and energy intense industries and agriculture are reassessed.
Farming practices more in line with permaculture principles are designed to move away from large agribusiness industrial models.
Since the 1960's there has been a gradual demise of common skills essential for survival and providing one's everyday needs. Skills which were commonplace back in the 1940's and 50's such as how to garden, repair things, and generally make do with little, have dwindled significantly.
Today most people are completely dependent upon supermarkets and long supply chains for their survival.
With Greece in tatters and tens of thousands of people lacking access to basic necessities such as food and water, it is a reminder of just how vulnerable modern Western society has become.
Having the skills and knowledge to be self-reliant is at the cornerstone of the Transition Movement. As well as providing the skills to help people live more resilient lives, Transition Towns is about creating networks and alliances which are valuable in bringing individuals and other organizations together.