Image credit: Transition Culture
When I wrote about efforts by Transition Brixton to launch its own currency, commenter Liz voiced her concerns that it was an exercise in "right-on-ness" due to the relative lack of ethnic diversity represented. Others have worried that the Transition Towns Movement feels like a rebranding of back-to-the-land ideals, appealing to a self-selecting group of green-minded souls. If Transition groups really do offer a viable, community-led response to peak oil and climate change, then it is vital they reach beyond the usual suspects. Luckily, the signs are good that the Transition movement is fully aware that preaching to the converted is no longer an option. In fact, the Transition Network is actively seeking a paid Diversity Project Coordinator to help the network achieve its goal to successfully engage across culture, race, faith and income groups.
It's an issue that many other green groups would do well to pay attention to. It's true that prominent environmentalists like Majora Carter and Will Allen have long since disproved the idea that the environment is somehow just a white, or just a middle class concern. Yet with issues like climate change and peak oil effecting all of us, and hitting the poor the hardest, it is vital that environmentalism builds as broad a coalition as possible. And by broad I don't just mean a coalition crossing ethnic lines. I mean ethnic, economic, social, political and every other line imaginable.
As I argued in my post on whether environmentalism is a movement or not, if you are a human being interested in survival of the species, then you are, whether you recognize it or not, an environmentalist. But it's up to all of us already active in green issues to communicate in a manner that engages the rest of the world. It looks like the Transition Network is taking one step in the right direction.