The 2008 Transition Towns Conference - Image Credit: Mike Grenville
Peak Oil Response Continues to Grab Headlines
At some point we're going to have to stop posting each time Transition Towns appear in the mainstream press. From the pages of The Guardian to the BBC's top radio soap, the movement has been extraordinarily successful — not just in raising awareness about peak oil, but also in showing that we can do something about it. In fact, when UK Members of Parliament were asked about their summer reading, the Transition Handbook came in the Top 10, alongside Obama's Audacity of Hope and a biography of William Wilberforce. Now Transition Towns are hitting the headlines once again, this time in the Conservative-leaning Times newspaper. While there is little new here, the article does give a good account of the scope and ambition embodied by this community-lead response to Peak Oil:
"In Sandpoint, Idaho - birthplace of Sarah Palin, who really wouldn't approve - residents have prepared the community garden for its first winter and plans are under way for a local biomass-fired power plant. In Bell, a district of Geelong, Victoria, Australia, they are making wood-fired pizza ovens in each other's gardens and have negotiated bulk-buy discounts on solar power equipment for local residents. They have also planted more than 150 trees in a push to become the "fruit and nut tree area of Geelong".
Viewed in isolation, these well-intentioned community efforts are laudable, yet insignificant. But Sandpoint and Bell are two examples of something much bigger - the Transition Initiative, a movement barely two years old that claims to have the answer to sustainable living in a world without oil. In some 700 towns, villages and cities worldwide, Transition is under way, and more communities are signing up every day. Most of the groups are "mulling" - Transition-speak for gearing themselves up - but 114 have launched publically, or "unleashed"."
Luke Leitch's article points out that even the groups that are active have a long way to go in creating lasting change — apparently a recent German pilgrim to Totnes, the original Transition Town, was shocked to find cars still in use. But you've got to start somewhere — and as Leitch also notes, when food imports halved in the Second World War, the UK nearly doubled domestic output. The sooner we get started on transition, the easier (and more rewarding) it will be.
The Times Online, via Transition Culture
Further Reading on Transition Towns
Transition Towns and Cities Emerge in the US
Transition Towns New Zealand Gains Strength
Transition Towns Reach Japan
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