The Transition Handbook

The Transition Handbook

From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience

Book - 2008
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We live in an oil-dependent world, arriving at this level of dependency in a very short space of time by treating petroleum as if it were in infinite supply. Most of us avoid thinking about what happens when oil runs out (or becomes prohibitively expensive), but The Transition Handbook shows how the inevitable and profound changes ahead can have a positive outcome. These changes can lead to the rebirth of local communities that will grow more of their own food, generate their own power, and build their own houses using local materials. They can also encourage the development of local currencies to keep money in the local area. There are now over 30 “transition towns” in the UK, Australia and New Zealand with more joining as the idea takes off. They provide valuable experience and lessons-learned for those of us on this side of the Atlantic. With little proactive thinking at the governmental level, communities are taking matters into their own hands and acting locally. If your town is not a transition town, this upbeat guide offers you the tools for starting the process.
Publisher: Totnes [England] : Green, 2008
ISBN: 9780857842152
Branch Call Number: Business & Career 333.79 Hop

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g
ghreads
Feb 10, 2012

This book has 3 sections. The first describes the double, interconnected threats of Peak Oil and Climate Change and the effects they will have on our economy and society. The second addresses the psychological effects of these facts on people, discusses the psychology of change and describes how we can overcome our addiction to fossil fuels. The third section describes the Transition Initiative approach to creating resilient communities able to withstand this double threat.

The book is always positive – it doesn’t dwell on what is wrong with our behaviour but envisions a bright and enticing future in resilient communities that can withstand the economic and social shocks that will inevitably come our way. The Transition Initiative system described began in the UK around 2005 and is rapidly spreading to communities around the world – including several in Canada. It is a community-initiated, inclusive, positive approach based on the key concepts of resilience, localization and envisioning a brighter future. It goes beyond the traditional concept of ecological sustainability to a new way of thinking about our communities, our economies and our interaction with nature.

The book is written in an accessible, easy-to-read, conversational style. I would have preferred the language to have been a little tighter but this does not at all detract from the message of the book. The one flaw in the content, in my opinion, is that it did not address the third threat of coming water shortages, largely the result of climate change.

The concepts of Peak Oil and Climate Change can be overwhelming and depressing, leaving us with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and despair. This book urges us to rid ourselves of these feelings and envision a bright and enticing future, beyond fossil fuels, with vibrant and resilient communities based primarily on local economies and where life is, once again, on a human scale. And it tells us in step-by-step detail how to work together as a community to pursue such a future. It should be essential reading for anyone interested in creating this future for themselves and for subsequent generations. It is our best, and perhaps only, hope.

j
jfdunbar
Jul 20, 2011

Examples from the UK of towns which have already started to transition to the realities of a post-oil world. Ideas for generating interest and commitment to the process and discussion of what has worked and what has not.

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