What is Transition?

A Transition Initiative is a community (lots of examples here) working together to look Peak Oil and Climate Change squarely in the eye and address this BIG question: "for all those aspects of life that this community needs in order to sustain itself and thrive, how do we significantly increase resilience (to mitigate the effects of Peak Oil) and drastically reduce carbon emissions (to mitigate the effects of Climate Change)?"

After going through a comprehensive and creative process of:
  • awareness raising around peak oil, climate change and the need to undertake a community lead process to rebuild resilience and reduce carbon
  • connecting with existing groups in the community
  • building bridges to local government
  • connecting with other transition initiatives
  • forming groups to look at all the key areas of life (food, energy, transport, health, heart & soul, economics & livelihoods, etc)
  • kicking off projects aimed at building people's understanding of resilience and carbon issues and community engagement
  • eventually launching a community defined, community implemented "Energy Descent Action Plan" over a 15 to 20 year timescale
This results in a coordinated range of projects across all these areas of life that strives to rebuild the resilience we've lost as a result of cheap oil and reduce the community's carbon emissions drastically.

The community also recognises two crucial points:
  • that we used immense amounts of creativity, ingenuity and adaptability on the way up the energy upslope, and that there's no reason for us not to do the same on the downslope
  • if we collectively plan and act early enough there's every likelihood that we can create a way of living that's significantly more connected, more vibrant and more in touch with our environment than the oil-addicted treadmill that we find ourselves on today.

12 Key Steps to embarking the transition initiative process

  1. Set up a steering group and design its demise from the outset
  2. Awareness raising
  3. Lay the foundations
  4. Organise a Great Unleashing
  5. Form sub groups
  6. Use Open Space
  7. Develop visible practical manifestations of the project
  8. Facilitate the Great Reskilling
  9. Build a bridge to Local Government
  10. Honour the elders
  11. Let it go where it wants to go…
  12. Create an Energy Descent Plan


Terms that perhaps need a brief introduction at this point include;  

"Transition network" (small n) refers to the broad international community of individuals and groups basing their work on the Transition model (has sometimes been referred to as "the Transition Movement". On the other hand  

"Transition Network Ltd" refers to the legally constituted body currently called Transition Network.

'Resilience' has been defined as "the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganise while undergoing change, so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity and feedbacks". In Transition, the concept is applied to settlements and their need to be able to withstand shock.  

'Transition Primer'. The free online pdf. which acts as the guide for groups starting the Transition process. Available at www.transitionnetwork.org/Primer/TransitionInitiativesPrimer.pdf 

'Carbon cutting' refers to endeavours which lead to reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases.  

'Energy Descent Plan' or EDP refers to one of the main projects that a Transition initiative sets out to achieve, the creation of a 20 year 'Plan B' for their community, looking at how it might transition away from its current oil dependency, and towards a low carbon, resilient way of working.


What is a Transition Town (or village / city / forest / island)?

12 Key Steps to embarking on your transition journey


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