If you have read my blogs over a long period you will know that I am very supportive of the Transition Towns movement.
I have to thank my good friend James Machin for keeping me fully abreast of many environmental issues. We marched together against the Cepsa refinery at Campamento in San Roque. He kept me in touch with the work of the Bucket Brigades in Gibraltar and the bay zone. He was briefing me on Peak Oil in the days when it meant little to a few – now Google ‘Peak Oil’ and you’ll see its one of the hot topics of our age debated from Wall Street to Wallsend.
The same is true of the Transition Town movement. It started in Ireland in a town that is very close to my heart and soul - Kinsale. There Rob Hopkins had worked with the students of Kinsale Further Education College in writing an "Energy Descent Action Plan" and one of them, Louise Rooney, set about developing the Transition Towns concept and presented it to Kinsale Town Council. This resulted in the historic decision by councillors to adopt the plan and work towards energy independence. There are now at least 100 such communities in the UK, Rob started the first in Britain in Totnes and James was instrumental in forming the first group in Spain – Ciudad de Transición Estepona.
Indeed the real challenge for our age is not that we have reached Peak Oil but also possibly Peak Food. Therefore in the coming decades our communities will have to cope with the decline in our conventional oil powered lifestyle and our ability to produce sufficient food to feed our people.
This is a serious issue that involves all the communities spread throughout the world. Communities within the Transition Town movement are encouraged to seek out methods for reducing energy usage as well as increasing their own self reliance. In short this is a matter that should concentrate all our minds – and depending on our ages the implications will impact on us, our children and our children’s children.
So why my concern? I have just visited a website – no names, no pack drill – that promotes the Transition Movement but at a coming festival offers workshops on giving hugs, music improvisation, body consciousness and magic – so you can visualize the transition.
Fine. I have no problems giving hugs but I find it easier to visualize a world that hasn’t made the transition than one that has. I also have nothing against festivals and am as happy to dance around a May Pole as the next man!
However my real point is this I believe the transition movement is a serious movement for everyday people and mustn’t be hijacked by those whose dreams are more important than reality.
If our communities are to make the transition, if the concept is to capture people’s imagination and more important inspire them to action then it has to be as a broad-based popular movement – one we can all identify with, one that deals with the real issues and not the abstract.