If permaculture is bringing answers to the awkward questions around sustainability, then community is how we can make permaculture a reality on a meaningful scale. For a brief introduction to permaculture, see my earlier article here.
I’m delighted to report that many communities are now finding their feet and getting off their sofas to do this work, through the Transition Network.
People getting involved in Transition initiatives are coming from every walk of life and with a vast range of motives. The movement itself was begun due to concerns, not just about climate change and the loss of our natural resources, but also about the expected effects of peak oil.
Peak oil is a complex subject, but in a nutshell, demand for oil is growing, and new sources of oil are shrinking. There’s a point on the graph where the economics mean oil prices will sky-rocket. So let’s take a moment to think about what in our lives that would effect.
Tell you what – it would be much quicker to list what it wouldn’t effect. Nothing!
Everything we buy these days is transported, often half-way around the world. In fact, many things are made from materials transported half-way around the world. Then the finished products are transported back again. All this flying or sailing about requires fuel. Then there are the materials themselves. Plastics made from oil. In everything. Then there is the energy to drive the manufacturing processes. Sometimes, admittedly, from coal. Extracted and transported using oil. And then there are the energy-hungry, manufactured pesticides and fertilisers. There are those who believe that if we do not invent the technologies to combat climate change while we can still transport things about relatively cheaply, our options will suddenly become very limited.
So the Transitioners are starting now. Their aim, above everything else, is to build local resilience. What if we grew a huge range of food plants and animals close to home? What if we put back the local butcher, the local baker, and yes, the candlestick maker? What if we made an audit of the essentials in life, and tried to create local social enterprises to supply them? And what if, as shoppers, we supported these local enterprises before going to the supermarket?
It’s not about going backwards, to some romantic pastoral idyll, and giving up all our advances. We can green up the cities. We can connect and share ideas over the internet. There are already many great ideas to be found for greening up our lives, without losing anything of real value.
Transitioners are not waiting for governments to put things right for them. They’re getting out there and building community themselves. And, rather hearteningly, quite a few councils are getting involved or lending support too.
Cheap energy, cheap food and cheap consumer products have come to us at an enormous cost to the planet and to the people paid a pittance to produce them. Transition offers us a way to prepare for and begin to live more responsibly. Caring for people, caring for planet, ensuring fair shares for all.
See the video below to find out more about the Transition Movement and what changes we all can make to ensure we have a brighter future.
For more information on the Transition Model, check out the Transition Network website. http://www.transitionnetwork.org/
Image and video reproduced from transitionnetwork.org
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