- WHY TRANSITION INITIATIVES ARE NECESSARY?
In response to the pressures of Peak Oil and Climate Change, some pioneering communities in the UK are trying to reduce their carbon foot-print and increase their ability to resist the change that will accompany Peak Oil.
In this blog you’ll find an overview of these initiatives for transitioning to a lower energy future and to raise levels of community resilience. The climate change is due –in part- to the carbon dioxide (CO2) emission, produced basically by the use of oil (fossil fuel).
The transition model
The transition model consists of a set of principles and practices that have been building up over time through experimentation and observation of communities as they drive forward to build local resilience and reduce carbon emissions:
- Climate change and Peak Oil require urgent action.
- Life with less energy is inevitable and it’s better to plan for it than be taken by surprise.
- Industrial society has lost the resilience to be able to cope with energy.
- We have to act together and now.
- The present economic and consumptive patterns (models) are incompatible with a world where the resources are finite (not renewable).
- If we plan and act early enough, and use our creativity and cooperation within our local communities, then we can build a future that could be far more enriching, more connected and gentle on the earth (than the lifestyles we have today).
The 7 “buts”
The 7 “buts” are the most typical emotional and psychological barriers to change.
The 12 steps to Transition.
It’s not a prescriptive “must-do” list; it’s what we’ve seen working in Transition Initiatives ourselves. In time it will certainly change as we learn more about how communities can most effectively face the challenges of climate change and peak oil.
The transition Network role is to accelerate change through inspiring, encouraging, supporting, informing, networking and training communities as they consider and implement their version of the model. They are building materials, training courses, events, tools and techniques, resources and a general support to help the new transition communities.
A) KINSALE 2021- AN ENERGY DESCENT ACTION PLAN
The first draft of the Kinsale Energy Descent Actions Plan (EDAP) was completed in 2005. The Irish town, in the south of Ireland, could make the transition from a high energy consumption town to a low energy one.
This plan looks out clear vision of a lower energy future and then identifying a clear timetable for achieving it. The report looks at most aspects of life in Kinsale, including food, energy, tourism, education and health. The town council supported and adopted the EDAP.
It is worth to know that the EDAP was a student project, working with a completely new approach.
B) TRANSITIONS TOWNS TOTNES- 2005
Transition Town Totnes (TTT) was initiated by Rob Hopkins to face the challenge of Peak Oil and Climate Change. He had helped and worked with Kinsale EDAP.
TTT is the UK’s first “Transition Town”, and aim to build resilience in all aspects of life.
It consists of a town using much less energy and recourses which will be more resilient, more abundant, and more pleasurable than the present.
A resilient community (a community that is self-reliant for the possible number of its needs) - will be infinitely better prepared than existing communities with their total dependence on heavily globalize systems (for food, energy, heath, horsing…)
The TTT started in 2005, with an intensive programme of awareness on the issues of Peak Oil and Climate Change. In 2006, when the population had been sufficiently prepared, it became official. Since then, there have been a lot of actions like:
- Film screenings, workshops, seminars, documents, blogs, training courses, local currency, presentations, garden swap, oral history archives…
The programme of activities and events continues. Nowadays, there are ten working groups meeting regularly to investigate lower energy and more resilient solutions and other groups are in process of starting up to build the community resilience plan for Totnes.
3. THE SEVEN BUTS
1) BUT WE'VE GOT NO FUNDING...
To start the project, we don't need money; we have to feel excited to take it forward. In 2005, Totnes started the project with no money. They organized conferences and films to earn some money. Don’t let lack of funding stop you!
2) BUT THEY WON'T LET US...
Maybe the council town or the government tries to stop the project, but with awareness of sustainability and Climate Change building daily, they will help our efforts.
3) BUT THERE ARE ALREADY GREEN GROUPS IN THIS TOWN; I DON’T WANT TO STEP ON THEIR TOES...
We aren't going to step on the work of the green groups, we only want to help them and work together. We want to have the same goals, take new ideas and motivate people to continue with the project.
4) BUT NO ONE IN THIS TOWN CARES ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT ANYWAY...
It's too easy to think that, but you will find surprising people who are aware of key elements of a transition initiative: local food, local crafts, local history and culture.
The key is to go them, rather than expecting them to come to you.
5) BUT SURELY IY'S TOO LATE TO DO ANYTHING...?
Never is too late to do something positive, but we must act now. Don't let helplessness sabotage your efforts.
6) BUT I DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT QUALIFICATIONS...
If you don't do it, who else will? It doesn’t matter that you don't have experience; the most important thing is that you care about your town. Needed qualities: positive, good with people and a basic knowledge of the place and some of the key people in town.
7) BUT I DON'T HAVE THE ENERGY FOR DOING THAT!
Try to do all that you would like. To turn your town into a transition town, you need implication and energy. To start maybe you need a pushing but, later, everything is going to work… Keep it moving.
4. THE 12 STEPS to make our village a Transition town
1. Set up a steering group and design its end from the beginning.
This stage needs a core team called “Steering Group” to drive the project forward. This general group will be divided in some sub-grubs in order to work better. Each sub-group will have one representative.
2. Awareness raising
Make the community aware of participating in the initiatives of Transition. Give people information about the effects of Climate Change and Peak Oil through talks by experts, films, networks, articles in local papers, presentations (also in the school); get people ready to start thinking of solutions.
3. Lay the foundations: networking with existing groups including them in the Transition Initiative.
Give them a concise and accessible overview of Peak Oil, what it means, how it relates to Climate change, how it might affect the community in question and the key challenges it presents.
4. Organize a Great Unleashing.
In terms of timing, we estimate that six months to a year after your first “awareness raising” before the imitative becomes official.
For example, the Official Unleashing of Transition Town Totnes was held in September 2006, preceded by about ten months of talks, film screenings and events.
5. Form working groups
Organize a number of small groups to focus on specific aspects of the process. Each of these groups will develop their own ways of working and their own activities.
Examples: food, waste, energy, education, youth, economics, transport, water, local government…
6. Use Open Space.
6. Use Open Space.
The Open Space Technology is effective to do meetings for transition initiatives. A group of people can go together to explore a particular topic or issue without a time limit.
At the end of each meeting people give their opinion and new ideas.
7. Develop visible practical manifestations of the project.
We need to begin the project creating practical, high visibility manifestations in your town. We need to demonstrate that the project progresses.
8. Facilitate the Great Deskilling.
One of the most useful things that we can do is to reverse and go forward looking at the last 40 years; we have to learn of our grandparents skills.
We must listen to older people because they have lived more years and they understand what a lower energy society might look like. Some examples of courses are: cooking, cycle maintenance, natural building, basic home energy efficiency, practical food growing...
9. Build a bridge to Local Government
You have to cultivate a positive and productive relationship with your local authority. And we have to present a beautiful Energy Descent Action Plan to the council town and maybe one day it will be a reality.
10. Honour the elders.
For those born in the 1960s when the cheap oil was a reality, every year of their life has had more energy than the previous years.
If you want to rebuild a lower energy society you have to contact people who remember the transition to the age of Cheap Oil (1930 and 1960)
We have to learn from how many things were done, how daily life was supported.
11. Let it go where it wants to go...
Your role is not to come up with all the answers, but to act as a catalyst for community to design their own transitions.
Keep your focus on building community resilience and reducing the carbon footprint and you’ll watch a practicable and highly inventive solution to emerge.
12.Create an Energy Descent Action Plan: Steps for the EDAP
Each of the working groups created in step 5 will propose practical actions. These actions form the Energy Descent Action Plan (EDAP), that could be done as follows:A. Build a local resource picture
B. Create a vision for the community in 15-20 years hence
C. Backcast from the visions to "today"
D. Get the local community plan and partnership strategy
E. Transition tales
F. Create the first draft of the EDAP
G. Finalise the EDAP