17 Jan 2008
Ted Trainer Q&A Part Six
**8. Do you have a document setting out inspiring achievements, examples of what some towns have done? I am not sure the information on the website is what I have in mind here; maybe need a short overview document that could be given to students in courses like mine.**
Not yet, although some of that will be gathered together in The Transition Handbook when it comes out. We are currently looking to redesign the website so that that kind of information will be easier to access, so that say, the food group in Lewes can learn from the best practices of other Transition food groups around the country.
**9. Similarly, not sure about this, but I am inclined to think there might be a need for a more “prescriptive” list of things to try and not to try, for people thinking about going the TT way….i.e., actual projects to try early or leave until later, easiest to get off the ground first, etc.**
Possibly, but I am wary to do that. It may be that as the model is tried out in a variety of places, the need for that emerges, and facilitating that is one of the roles of the Transition Network. At the moment though, I don’t get a sense that people want that, rather they like the freedom that the 12 Steps offer to develop and design their own way through this, and the way that activities emerge from ‘the field’, from the capacities, passions and vision of those involved.
The process is designed not to be top-down, and one of the reasons is that there is not a one-size-fits-all way of preparing communities for energy descent. The diverse and complex terrains that we are working in mean that what we need is more a process that understands the complexity of the local context, and is able to design solutions that are actually appropriate. This is why, I would argue, peak oil and climate change will never be resolved without the active participation of communities developing their own pathways.
Projects will also depend on what is already in place, what resources there are and so on. I imagine that over time, by different Transition Initiatives sharing what worked for them and what didn’t, a body of ideas will emerge as to what works best at what stage, but it would be a mistake for that ever to become more than a collection of possibilities. I gave a talk last night in Wadebridge in Cornwall, to an audience that contained lots of farmers (it was a great evening). They are a very dispersed rural community, whereas Transition Brixton is almost another world from that. Keeping the model loose enough so that it can act as a catalyst rather than arriving with a set of pre-formed recommended solutions is, I think, one of the great strengths of the Transition approach.