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Transition Towns (also known as Transition network or Transition Movement) is a movement that was created by Louise Rooney and popularized by Rob Hopkins. It was founded in Kinsalemarker, Irelandmarker and was then spread to Totnesmarker, Englandmarker by environmentalist Rob Hopkins during 2005 and 2006. The aim of the project is to equip communities for the dual challenges of climate change and peak oil. The movement currently has member communities in a number of countries worldwide.

History

The Transition concept emerged from work permaculture designer Rob Hopkins had done with the students of Kinsale Further Education College in writing an "Energy Descent Action Plan". This looked at across-the-board creative adaptations in the realms of energy production, health, education, economy and agriculture as a "road map" to a sustainable future for the town. One of his students, Louise Rooney, set about developing the Transition Towns concept and presented it to Kinsale Town Council resulting in the historic decision by Councillors to adopt the plan and work towards energy independence.

The idea was adapted and expanded in September 2006 to Hopkins' hometown of Totnes where he is now based. The initiative spread quickly, and as of September 2008, there were one hundred communities recognized as official Transition Towns in the United Kingdommarker, Irelandmarker, Canada, Australia, New Zealandmarker, the United Statesmarker, Italymarker and Chilemarker. While referred to as 'towns', the communities involved range from villages (Kinsale), through council districts (Penwithmarker) to cities and city boroughs (Brixtonmarker).

In the United States, Transition Initiatives have sprung up in many communities. There is a Transition US organization to serve the growth of Transition Initiatives (http://transitionus.org). Many communities have spontaneously started initiatives of their own accord for example Transition Whidbey Island and Transition Santa Cruz. State sites have been set up using the popular Open Social software, Ning. These state sites, under the umbrella of a Transition US site, were set up to help facilitate, network, inform, monitor, and house regional and organizational Transition Initiatives and ensure the rapid spread of the Transition Movement while networking related organizations, projects, ideas and activities. It has now begun to spread worldwide.

Features of the project

The main aim of the project generally, and echoed by the Towns locally, is to raise awareness of sustainable living and build local resilience in the near future. Communities are encouraged to seek out methods for reducing energy usage as well as increasing their own self reliance — a slogan of the movement is "Food feet, not food miles!" Initiatives so far have included creating community gardens to grow food; business waste exchange, which seeks to match the waste of one industry with another industry that uses this waste; and even simply repairing old items rather than throwing them away.

While the focus and aims remain the same, the methods used to achieve these vary. For example, Totnes has introduced its own local currency, the Totnes pound, which is redeemable in local shops and businesses helping to reduce food miles while also supporting local firms . This idea is also planned to be introduced in three Welshmarker transition towns and in Malenymarker Australia, the Baroon Dollar as a part of a regional transition towns project .

Central to the Transition Town movement is the idea that a life without oil could in fact be far more enjoyable and fulfilling than the present "by shifting our mind-set we can actually recognise the coming post-cheap oil era as an opportunity rather than a threat, and design the future low carbon age to be thriving, resilient and abundant – somewhere much better to live than our current alienated consumer culture based on greed, war and the myth of perpetual growth."

An essential aspect of Transition in many places, is that the outer work of transition needs to be matched by inner transition. That is in order to move down the energy descent pathways effectively we need to rebuild our relations with our selves, with each other and with the "natural" worlds. That requires focusing on the heart and soul of transition .

Future of the project

The number of communities involved in the project is increasing with many localities in the process of becoming "official" transition towns. Transition Towns has even featured in the plot line of the long-running BBC Radio 4 series The Archers, which illustrates the media attention and rapid growth the movement is generating.

As of 2009, many in the Transition Town movement are including the global financial meltdown and global food crisis as a third aspect beside peak oil and climate change. This has been linked to the creation of a series of local currencies in Transition Towns including Totnes Totnes pound, Lewes Lewes pound, Stroud Stroud pound and Brixton Brixton Pound in London.

See also



References

  1. http://www.localplanet.ie/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=191&Itemid=49
  2. The Guardian - Article on Transition Towns
  3. Transition Towns - Official List
  4. http://transitiontowns.org/TransitionNetwork/TransitionCommunities
  5. BBC - The Totnes Pound
  6. BBC - Welsh Towns Plan Local Currency
  7. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/06/10/2594106.htm ABC - Money worries:town prints its own
  8. Transition Town Westcliff website
  9. Who we are and what we do by Rob Hopkins and Peter Lipman. Transition Network. February 2009.
  10. Heart and Soul in Totnes
  11. http://www.thedirt.org/node/3702
  12. Nelson Mail - Considering becoming a TT
  13. Transition Towns - Communities in Consideration
  14. The Archers website - Transition Ambridge


External links




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