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The End of Cheap
The impact of burning
fossil fuels on our climate is now obvious to all except a few die-hard
skeptics. We are fed, clothed and warmed not by the produce of the land
around us but by food, goods and fuel transported hundreds or even thousands
of miles—a system which is entirely dependent on abundant supplies
of cheap oil.
What Can Transition
The Transition approach
empowers communities to squarely face these challenges and to apply the
collective intelligence of our own people. It prepares us to answer the
question — What are we going to do?
First Steps to Transition:
- Set up an Initiating
Group (already in place)
- Awareness raising
(underway: films, events, talks
by experts, etc)
- Lay the Foundations
(underway: building connections to existing groups)
- Organize a Great
Unleashing (a memorable kick-off event, the first of which happened
in Bloomington on April 24th, 2010)
- Build Bridges to
Local Government and Education (we're happy to have growing support
from City Council & County Commissioners, but more help is
needed. How many letters have YOU sent to the Council or local news
Open Space (a meeting technique encouraging creativity & collaboration.
We applied this technique at the Great Unleashing April 24, 2010)
- Form Sub-groups
( where we've already begun to tap the collective brilliance of our
community. Your leadership skills are needed. Please step forward.)
- Develop Multiple
Visible Manifestations (implement practical solutions, demonstrations)
at the regional and neighborhood level on several scales What are YOU
doing. Tell us your story and we'll help you find an audience.)
the Great Reskilling (training
in lost skills – growing, repairing, etc. Do you have a
useful skill, talent or art? Let
us know about it and we will help you create an event.)
- Honor and utilize
the Elders (they often know what lower energy life is like having been
- Let it go where
it wants to go
an Energy Descent Plan (strategic plan for life beyond fossil
fuels. Partly written in the form of the City Council commissioned
Peak Oil Task Force report. Your help is needed to add the missing
parts.) The image to the right is a link to the 275 page 13.36
megabyte PDF file at the Bloomington City website.
- We work together because
we know that together we are greater than the sum of our parts. We work
in a collaborative way because we get better results for less effort.
- We don’t need permission
to act. There is no hierarchy. Individuals in Transition Bloomington
take responsibility for their own decisions, actions and results. Responsibility
and leadership are also shared by everyone.
- We trust that those who
step forward have good intentions and will make good decisions. We give
autonomy and support to those who wish to be part of Transition Bloomington.
- We are accountable to ourselves
and to each other in keeping with the purpose and principles.
- We are transparent in everything
- We don’t have a blueprint.
We support multiple paths, ideas and possibilities.
- We think questions are as
important as answers. It’s fine to make mistakes and learn from
- We are open to working with
everyone. We welcome diversity and see it as a strength not a problem.
We avoid categories of “them and us”.
- We recognise that we are
all teachers and learners. We value both the professional and the practical.
- We acknowledge other initiatives
and seek to find ways to collaborate and further the aims of Transition
- We give what we can and
ask for what we need. Please let us
know what you can offer.
- Individually and as a group
we work on the things we enjoy so that we learn to do them well.
- We work with a natural momentum,
driven by our passion and positive approach.
Few Resilience Indicators:
of food consumed locally produced within a given radius. Presently
Indiana gets less than 2% of its food from within the state.
- Ratio of parking space to productive land use
- Degree and variety of engagement in practical transition / relocalization
work by the local community
- Amount of traffic on local roads
- Number of businesses owned by local people
- Proportion of the community employed locally
- Percentage of essential goods manufactured within a given radius
- Percentage of local building materials used in new housing development
- Amount of trash sent to landfills and exported for “recycling”
- Percentage of energy consumed in the town
- Degree to which existing buildings are insulated and retrofitted for
passive solar attributes
- Number of sixteen year-olds able to grow 10 different varieties of
vegetables to a given degree of competency
- Degree of participation in local area composting and soil building
- Percentage of water use that was locally-captured rainwater
- Ratio of non-permeable hardscape to areas adapted for rainwater capture
- The ratio of water sent to sewer versus onsite greywater reclamation
- Percentage of medicines prescribed locally produced within a given
- Percentage of energy consumed in the town that has been generated
by local energy supply company
- Percentage of local trade carried out in local currency
- Number of local “inner work” professionals (mental health
professionals, counselors, spiritual & religious leaders, etc.)
who are prepared to work with the issues that arise as people cope with
a radically new direction for the future
Handbook concludes with these remarkably uplifting words:
While Peak Oil and Climate
Change are understandably profoundly challenging, also inherent within
them is the potential for an economic, cultural, and social renaissance
the likes of which we have never seen. We will see a flourishing
of local businesses, local skills and solutions, and a flowering of
ingenuity and creativity. It is a Transition in which we will inevitably
grow, and in which our evolution is a precondition for progress.
Emerging at the other end, we will not be the same as we were: we
will have become more humble, more connected to the natural world, fitter,
leaner, more skilled, and ultimately, wiser.
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to learn about events, access resources, get involved in focus groups,
watch videos, chat,and much more.
Four Key Assumptions
of the Transition Initiative Process:
• That life
with dramatically lower energy consumption is inevitable, and that it’s
better to plan for it than be taken by surprise.
• That our
communities presently lack the resilience to enable them to weather
the severe energy shocks that will accompany peak oil.
• That we
have to act collectively, and we have to act now.
• That by
unleashing the collective genius of those around us to creatively and
proactively design our energy future, we can build ways of living that
are more connected, more enriching and that recognize the biological
limits of our planet.
A few things to do in your
- Consider the personal
and collective consequences of energy descent.
- Evaluate and increase your
resilience to shocks and shortages
- Engage the local community
in its process and decision making
- Review the Transition principles
and adopt / adapt them
- Support Transition in other
neighborhoods through a variety of mutually beneficial exchanges and
- Develop and implement an
Energy Descent Plan with real bite (i.e. carbon budgets)
- Ensure that core services
like land use planning and transport go through a rigorous process of
re-assessing their current priorities