Transition Towns: How Do They Stay Relevant?
Are Transition Towns Just Rebranding the Seventies Back-to-the-Land Movement?
The viral spread of the Transition Towns movement has been an encouraging sign that communities are ready to tackle their fossil fuel dependence head on. From planting fruit and nut trees in Kilkenny to reviving local currencies in Southampton - these groups are set on building local resilience in the face of urgent challenges. But while the Transition Movement has made admirable strides in mobilizing large swathes of the population into environmental action, as was hinted at in the New York Times article on Transition Towns, they are still skewed toward a left-leaning, greeny, liberal and counter-cultural demographic. Leo Hickman is asking pertinent questions over at The Guardian - what next for Transition Towns as they struggle to say relevant and capitalize on early success?Hickman argues that, while extremely successful, the Transition Town Movement sometimes feels like a rebranding of Seventies ideals:
Looking at the programme of last week's third annual transition conference held at the Battersea arts centre in south London, it doesn't appear as if there were any events that specifically discussed the potential threats to the movement, but it would be interesting to hear from any Transitionites about the challenges that still need to be overcome if the movement is to continuing expanding into new communities.
For example, many of the communities that have warmly welcomed the ideals of the Transition Movement have to date been those that already have, let's say, something of a reputation for being hubs of left-leaning greenery. I'm thinking Totnes, Lewes, Brixton, Bristol and the like. How does the movement now reach beyond these low-hanging fruit?
It's an important and timely question - and one that my own local Transition Town group has pondered long and hard. How do groups maintain their core impetus for change and still cast a wide enough net to attract participation across all race, gender, age and political/social/religious/economic divides. I'd love to hear thoughts from readers below.