As people around the world experiment with the Transition Model and apply it to all sorts of different types of communities, we’re seeing the knowledge base expand significantly. And as Transition Initiatives get further into the work of transforming their communities, the specialist groups are learning more about relocalized responses in the fields of energy, local government, food, housing, business, economics and beyond.
In order to distill the learnings from all these projects and experiments, a number of books in partnership with Green Books has been produced by the Transition Network:
- The Transition Handbook: from oil dependency to local resilience – by Rob Hopkins
- The Transition Timeline: for a local, resilient future – by Shaun Chamberlin
- The Transition Companion: making your community more resilient in uncertain times- by Rob Hopkins
- Local Food: how to make it happen in your community – by Tamzin Pinkerton and Rob Hopkins
- Local Money: how to make it happen in your community – by Peter North
- Local Sustainable Homes: how to make them happen in your community – Chris Bird
- Communities, Councils and a Low Carbon Future: working together to make things happen – by Alexis Rowell
All of the authors have been involved in their own local transition initiatives, experiencing the joys and challenges of working in their own back yard.
Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association, describes it well:
“The Transition concept is one of the big ideas of our time. Peak oil and climate change can so often leave one feeling depressed and disempowered. What I love about the Transition approach is that it is inspirational, harnessing hope instead of guilt, and optimism instead of fear. The Transition Handbook will come to be seen as one of the seminal books which emerged at the end of the Oil Age and which offered a gentle helping hand in the transition to a more local, more human and ultimately more nourishing future.”
The next was the Transition Timeline, by Shaun Chamberlin. Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute and author of eight books, including The Party’s Over and Peak Everything, lays it out…
“Here it is: the map and timeline of how to save our world and ourselves. Whether we WILL take up these suggestions as scheduled is a question for the cynics and dreamers to debate. For us realists, the only relevant questions are, Where do we start?, and, Will you join us?”
The Transition Timeline lightens the fear of our uncertain future, providing a map of what we are facing and the different pathways available to us. It describes four possible scenarios for the UK and world over the next twenty years, ranging from Denial, in which we reap the consequences of failing to acknowledge and respond to our environmental challenges, to the Transition Vision, in which we shift our cultural assumptions to fit our circumstances and move into a more fulfilling, lower-energy world.
The practical, realistic details of this Transition Vision are examined in depth, covering key areas such as food, energy, demographics, transport and healthcare, and they provide a sense of context for communities working towards a thriving future.
The book also provides a detailed and accessible update on climate change and peak oil and the interactions between them, including their impacts in the UK, present and future.
The Transition Companion
In 2008, the bestselling The Transition Handbook suggested a model for a community-led response to peak oil and climate change. Since then, the Transition idea has gone viral around the world, from Italian villages and Brazilian favelas to universities and London boroughs. In contrast to the ever-worsening stream of information about climate change, the economy and resource depletion, Transition focuses on solutions, on community-scale responses, on meeting people and on having fun.
The Transition Companion picks up the story today. It tells inspiring tales of communities working for a future where local economies are valued and nurtured; where lower energy use is seen as a benefit; and where enterprise, creativity and the building of resilience have become cornerstones of a new economy. It combines these remarkable stories with practical advice on the tools needed to start and maintain a Transition initiative.
Many people already buy their vegetables as locally as possible, eat organic and seasonal food when they can, and are perhaps even getting to grips with managing an allotment. However, with current economic pressures and mounting concerns about climate change and peak oil, there is a growing feeling that we need to do more to reduce dependence on the global market.
Local Food offers an inspiring and practical guide to what can be achieved if you get together with the people on your street or in your village, town or city. It explores a huge range of local food initiatives for rebuilding a diverse, resilient local food network – including community gardens, farmers’ markets, Community Supported Agriculture schemes and projects in schools – and includes all the information you will need to get ideas off the ground.
Drawing on the practical experience of Transition initiatives and other community projects around the world, Local Food demonstrates the power of working collaboratively. In today’s culture of supermarkets and food miles, an explosion of activity at community level is urgently needed. This book is the ideal place to start.
An inspiring yet practical new Transition Book, Local Money helps you understand what money is and what makes good and bad money, and reviews how people around the world and in the past have experimented with new forms of money that they create themselves.
The book draws on the track record of experimentation with local money to show those in the Transition movement and beyond what has been tried, what works, and what to avoid. Different models of alternative currencies are reviewed, from the Local Exchange Trading System (LETS) and TimeBanks, which work within communities, to paper currencies such as Berkshares, German regional currencies and Ithaca ‘hours’, which circulate between local businesses as an alternative to their losing trade to the national chain retailers. Currencies like Ithaca ‘hours’ can also easily be used to enable people to exchange services locally at agreed hourly rates.
How can local banks and bonds help us move our cities, communities and homes on to a more sustainable footing? The book suggests how groups can create future forms of local money that can deepen local resilience and support the development of more local production of the things we need, such as food and power.
While the government talks about sustainable housing, thousands of individuals, groups and organizations are busy turning their buildings and homes into low-carbon exemplars, pushing the boundaries to cut carbon emissions far beyond government targets.
Where are these examples we should all be learning from, and how are they bringing sustainable housing closer in our communities? What are the obstacles to making sustainable housing the ‘norm‘ rather than the rare exception? Which housing associations are building Passivhaus homes for the elderly and retrofitting existing houses with ground source heat pumps?
Local Sustainable Homes answers these questions and features inspiring examples of communities making housing more sustainable, offering advice for those wanting to follow in their footsteps. The book covers everything from building a roundhouse in the woods to refurbishing council flats in Sheffield; developing an eco-cluster in rural Dorset to overcoming the psychological barriers to change; and includes town profiles showing what has been achieved in Totnes, Stroud, Brighton and Sheffield.
This book is entitled “Communities, Councils and a Low Carbon Future – what we can do if governments won’t”: Publication date: Autumn 2010
The Transition Handbook is very clear that local government is a critical element in Transition because of the levers it controls such as planning, and that Transition groups need to build bridges to local government. “You will not progress very far unless you have cultivated a positive and productive relationship with your local authority,” writes Rob Hopkins in The Transition Handbook. Equally, councils and councillors have much to learn from the Transition Movement where so much thinking is underway about life after oil in a world with climate change.
What if there existed a companion to The Transition Handbook which contained examples of best eco practice from local authorities across the UK (and elsewhere), to inform and inspire councils and councillors everywhere? And what if that companion handbook was also designed to help local environmental activists, community groups and Transition Initiatives to understand what they can reasonably (and unreasonably!) ask for from local councils, as well as to explain exactly what levers they can pull? That book is Local Communities and Local Councils: working together to make things happen.