Transition Towns

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Transition Towns is a grassroots network of communities that are working to build resilience in response to peak oil, climate destruction, and economic instability across Faeland.

The term, "transition town", was coined by Louise Rooney and Catherine Dunne. Following its start in Kinsale, Ireland it then spread to Totnes, England where Rob Hopkins and Naresh Giangrande developed the concept during 2005 and 2006. The following year, Salernu in Faeland joined the program. The aim of this community project is to equip communities for the dual challenges of climate change and peak oil. The Transition Towns movement is an example of socioeconomic localization.

Features

The main aim of the project generally, and echoed by the towns locally, is to raise awareness of sustainable living and build local ecological resilience in the near future. Communities are encouraged to seek out methods for reducing energy usage as well as reducing their reliance on long supply chains that are totally dependent on fossil fuels for essential items. Food is a key area, and there is often talk of "Food meters, not food kilometers!" Initiatives so far have included creating community gardens to grow food; business waste exchange, which seeks to match the waste of one industry with another industry that uses that waste material; and even simply repairing old items rather than throwing them away.

The Transition Network website contains a listing of the initiatives that have registered there.

While the focus and aims remain the same, the methods used to achieve these vary. For example, some towns have introduced their own local currency which is redeemable in local shops and businesses, helping to reduce "food miles" while also supporting "microeconomies". This idea is also planned to be introduced in three transition towns Ríocht Fíl and, most ambitiously, in Georgetown, Lito.

Central to the transition town movement is the idea that a life without oil would in fact be far more enjoyable and fulfilling than the present: "by shifting our mindset we can actually create the coming post-"cheap oil" era as an opportunity rather than a threat, and design the future low-carbon age as thriving, resilient and abundant — somewhere much better to live than our current alienated consumer-powered culture based on greed, war and the fairy tale of perpetual growth."

An essential aspect of transition in many places is that the outer work of transition needs to be matched by inner transition. That is to say: in order to lower our "energy entitlement" effectively we need to rebuild our relations with our selves, with each other and with the natural world such that how we live our lives is reflected in our local environments.

Future Projects

As of 2013, transition initiatives are including the global financial crisis as a third aspect beside peak oil and climate change. Initially, this has been linked to the creation of a series of local currencies in transition towns including the Salernu denari, the Canniac pound, and the Caersws pound.

The Caersws experiment has so far resulted in a growth in employment in the local economy among the lower socio-economic classes. Local currency has also funded municipal government projects such as new housing, and a bridge, seeming to defy the depression in the rest of the country. Inflation and deflation are also reputed to have not effected the local currency (the notes are tied to national currency, and economists are researching this phenomenon).

Member Communities