Transition towns

The Transition Network is a global unifying movement born in Great Britain in September 2006 in the small town of Totnes, following on from permaculture teacher Rob Hopkins’s experience in Ireland a year earlier. There are now over 700 Transition initiatives in fifteen countries, including the USA, South Africa and France.

The movement is a response to two interconnected facts. Firstly, peak oil heralds the end of abundant and cheap oil in the very near future, requiring a radical rethink of how we function. Secondly, climate change and the urgent nature of the general ecological crisis are very real threats whose consequences tend to be overlooked and that require real and immediate political choices. Taking these two crises into account totally changes our perspective and the type of solutions we need to implement in a realistic way in order to overcome them.

The movement asks the question: what capacity for resilience do our societies have? In other words, do we really have the capacity to bring a creative response to these crises by making changes, or are we doomed to disappear because we lack this capacity?

Transition towns refer to a process initiated in a given area—village, town, city neighbourhood, island—by citizens, sometimes in collaboration with the local authorities. The process seeks to:

• raise awareness of the consequences of the energy crisis, climate change and the ecological crisis in general;

• set up concrete solutions aimed at reducing CO2 emissions and consumption of fossil fuels;

• relocalize activities and strengthen social ties between inhabitants and between local economic actors (including the use of local currencies in some cases).

Each local authority is encouraged to rethink its own future, reflect on the notions of wealth, happiness and prosperity, develop a new perception of current and former practices that tend towards greater self-sufficiency, and find the solutions that suit it, in line with its resources and the specific issues it faces, and in collaboration with existing activities working towards the same goals.

One publication

3 Videos

One proposal

One case study

4 Analyses/working papers/articles

An article