Author's Note: Readers from Somerset will have to forgive the perpetuation of stereotypes represented by this image. As a North Somerset boy and a cider-drinker, I couldn't help myself...
From virtual orchards to city-wide peak oil planning, we keep returning to the concept of Transition Towns, and with good reason — the way that the movement is sweeping the UK, and now the world, is a tremendous example of how communities can begin to tackle the twin threats of climate change and peak oil. Now we hear from Rob Hopkins that a small, but tremendously significant, step has just been taken in this unfolding story — Somerset County Council, in the South-West of England, has officially become the first "Transition Local Authority", thereby pledging to support its citizens in their transition efforts while also making moves to cut its own fossil fuel use. The full text of the council's motion can be read below:
That this Council
1. Acknowledges the work done by communities in Somerset on Transition Towns and that the independence of the Transition Movement is key to its grass roots appeal.
2. As demonstrated in its Climate Change Strategy, fully endorses the Transition Town Movement and subscribes to the principles and ethos of the organisation's goals to reduce dependence on fuel oil and create more sustainable communities.
3. Commits to providing support and assistance to all towns in Somerset that wish to join this initiative to help them achieve the goals they set for themselves as local communities, as demonstrated under the 'Community Initiatives' section of the Climate Change Strategy.
4. Therefore, requests the Scrutiny and Executive Committees to consider through the council's strategic planning process; allocating funds to assist in achieving the outcomes of the Transition Towns Movement in Somerset and requiring all directorates to engage with and provide support for Transition Initiatives in Somerset
5. Through the work outlined above, seeks to become the first Transition Authority in the UK. Agrees to undertake a review of its budgets and services to achieve a reduction in dependence on fuel oil and produce an energy descent action plan in line with the principles of the Transition Initiative.
This isn't the first time we've seen local government taking the lead on peak oil — activists and politicians in Portland, Oregon have already collaborated to help plan a post-fossil fuel future - but what makes this move significant is that with Transition Towns springing up across the UK and beyond, the stage is set for a network of local governments to join with a network of local communities in weaning us all off oil and planning a brighter, more community-focused future.
::Transition Culture::via site visit::
Further Reading on Transition Towns
Transition Towns Reach New Zealand
Transition Town Plants Up Nut Trees for Food Security
Interview with Rob Hopkins, founder of the movement
Transition City Bristol
The Transition Handbook
Transition Towns Reach Australia
The Virtual Orchard Project