Is Your Town in Transition?
Jessica Stein has an interesting article at InTheseTimes.com:
When I set out to investigate the appeal of Transition, a sustainability movement that has spread to 1,105 towns in 43 countries over the past eight years, I started with what I thought was a basic question: What are “Transition Towns” transitioning to?
“Resilience,” I was told. “What does that mean?” I asked, thinking vaguely of steel. “The ability to absorb shocks to a system!” was the reply. Well, yes, but …? Pressed for details, Nina Winn, who runs a Transition initiative at the Institute of Cultural Affairs in Chicago, said, “I don’t think there’s a conclusion. Like when a person’s trying to self-improve, it’s a constant growth. Our communities would grow to be a lot more intimate. We wouldn’t be hesitant to ask for that cup of sugar or tomato. The streets would be narrower instead of expanding; there would be fresh produce on every corner that was grown just down the street. You would see people on the street because of that—because where there’s food, there’s people.”
Such bucolic but fuzzy visions are typical of Transition, which is more about shifting paradigms than prescribing solutions. With an it’ll-take-shape-as-we-go ethos, most Transition Town websites sport a “cheerful disclaimer”: “Just in case you were under the impression that Transition is a process defined by people who have all the answers, you need to be aware of a key fact. … Transition is a social experiment on a massive scale.”
On a basic level, however, the experiment seeks to address what founder Rob Hopkins sees as a source of frustration in the environmental movement: Personal action feels like a drop in the bucket, while governments often move at a glacial pace.
“Until now, there’s been the things you can do at home on your own—changing your lightbulbs and sharing your lofts and things—and then there’s everything else that someone else is meant to do: the sort of mythical ‘they,’” says Hopkins. “Transition is what’s in the middle, what you can do with the people on your street.”
The seed for Transition came in 2004 when . . .
Continue reading. It’s a lengthy article with much in it.