Why we need the Transition Movement – a personal view

Like many people, I agree with the purpose and ideals of the Transition Movement – to find ways of living within our environmental means and in a way which adds to our enjoyment our community. In fact I’ve been a member of the Transition Nayland committee since it started, but I’m not as active as I would like to be. This is partly because, like most of us, I have many competing demands on my time – believing in something and doing something about it aren’t always as close together as we’d like them to be.

I’m sure most of us would choose a more sustainable future in which we are not confronted by large rises in oil prices due to the reality of Peak Oil, and are not disturbed by changing weather patterns as the ice caps melt. Both climate change and Peak Oil are highly inconvenient to our modern way of life, but they are irrefutable; unfortunately the scale and breadth of the challenge can make it seem impossible to act.

The good news, though, is that personal change does make a difference, both in how we think about the environmental impact of what we are doing, and in demonstrating to others (not least politicians) that there is an appetite for action. The Transition movement exists to encourage those personal changes as well as facilitating action on a larger scale – whether that is investing in photovoltaics on the school roof, recycling something, or swapping surplus apples for pears so they don’t go to waste.

Along with the rest of the Transition Nayland committee, I recently watched In Transition 2.0 (available online), a film about the impact the Transition movement has made in communities across Europe and the USA. Transition had changed how people used local resources (e.g. a community garden project), and had created real social benefits within the communities. It reminded me how far the values of Transition have spread, but also how widespread the need for it is. A strong community – whether local or international – can reinforce sustainable behavior and help discourage the old habits of the carbon age.

Each tiny change, like me resolving to shop more locally, can cause ripples of change that can gradually build into a sea-change. Do log on to http://www.transitionnetwork.org.uk to read more or get involved.



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