History of the Transition Town Movement
The Transition concept emerged from work permaculture designer Rob Hopkins had done with the students of Kinsale Further Education College in writing an â€œEnergy Descent Action Planâ€. This looked at across-the-board creative adaptations in the realms of energy production, health, education, economy and agriculture as a â€œroad mapâ€ 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 Hopkinsâ€™ hometown of Totnes where he is now based. The initiative spread quickly, and as of September 2008, there were one hundred communities recognised as official Transition Towns in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Italy and Chile. While referred to as â€˜townsâ€™, the communities involved range from villages (Kinsale), through council districts (Penwith) to cities and city boroughs (Brixton).
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 relianceâ€”a slogan of the movement is â€œFood feet, not food miles!â€ 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 Welsh transition towns.
Central to the Transition Town movement is the idea that a life without oil could in fact be far more enjoyable and fulfulling than the present â€œby 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 â€“ somewhere much better to live than our current alienated consumer culture based on greed, war and the myth of perpetual growth.â€
Future of the project
The number of communities involved in the project is ever increasing with many localities in the process of becoming â€œofficialâ€ 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.
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Climate Change is happening. Peak Oil is now.
Transition Town Brixton is a community-led initiative that seeks to raise awareness locally of Climate Change and Peak Oil. TTB proposes that it is better to design that change, reduce impacts & make it beneficial than wait to be surprised by it. We will vision a better low energy/carbon future for Brixton. We will design a Brixton Energy Descent Action Plan â€“ the route-map to the future. Finally, we will make it happen.
A Transition Town consider the challenges of the future as opportunities to rethink the way we do everything, to reconnect with our planet and our community and to relocalise. Themed working groups are formed to vision and plan a transition to a better low energy future in food, health, work, culture etc. Localisation is key and will require that we rediscover many lost skills. TTBrixton aims to be inclusive, imaginative, practical and fun. And to build a local community that is more interconnected, resilient and self-reliant.
To engage the whole community in visioning, planning and achieving Transition to a better low energy future
- To spread awareness of Peak Oil and Climate Change
- To motivate a significant number of people to engage in change
- To record actions and show benefit of carbon reducing measures
- To vision a good low energy future for Brixton and plan how to get there
- To create the Brixton Energy Descent Action Plan
- To put the plan into action and monitor progress, modifying as necessary