Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

Transition Culture has moved

After eight years of frenzied blogging at this site, Transition Culture has moved to its new home. Do come and join us, but feel free to also browse this now-archived site and use the shop. Thanks for all your support, comments and input so far, and see you soon.


20 Mar 2009

I’m With Stupid

While I love the film The Age of Stupid, and am completely in agreement with the aims of the campaign that is emerging from it to get a strong and deep agreement at the Copenhagen climate talks, there is something about the ‘Not Stupid’ campaign that sits uncomfortably for me. At Eden, where I was, there was a sign saying ‘Eden Project – Not Stupid’. I’m sure the Eden Project isn’t stupid, but this labelling of things as stupid and not stupid feels deeply alarming to me. Since the film premiere on Sunday, I have heard about two people I know who saw it, who were moved by it, felt touched and affected, yet who are planning trips by plane, one to Hong Kong for Christmas, and one to the US for a spiritual retreat.

That, the logic goes, is pretty stupid, and I am hard put to disagree. Yet who could have sat in the cinema on Sunday night and been able to argue convincingly that their daily lives are utterly carbon free or even that they live within their carbon allowance? How many people in present day Western society actually have a carbon footprint of 1 or 2 tons? I don’t, although goodness knows I try. That makes me, and probably you, I suppose, stupid too.  Feels to me like we’d be more skillful to understand such thinking and work with it, than to dismiss it as Stupid.

If George Monbiot was right earlier this week, and we really have passed many of the key climate tipping points, then not only does that constitute the spectacular failure of capitalist economics identified by the Stern Report, of the perpetual growth model, and a failure of successive Governments to actually govern when called by circumstance to do so, but it is also a failure of the protest movements and alternative culture to actually engage people in sufficient numbers in building a credible alternative.  No-one has emerged from the time running up to those tipping points as having actually done anything of any notable impact, despite all of our best intentions.  James Hansen this week called for more protest and direct action, and of course, that has a powerful place and we need more of it.

However, what concerns me is the introduction of the polarity that goes with starting to label things ‘Stupid’ and ‘Not Stupid’.  Yes, it is easy to label Kingsnorth stupid, and also the third runway at Heathrow Airport.  They are, by any rational consideration, pretty daft, indeed suicidal.  But is my friend going to Hong Kong for Christmas more stupid than me?  Possibly, but the reality is that most peoples’ lives are a complex mesh of compromise, insecurities, social pressure, enticement from advertising, the daily struggle just to keep their head above water and so on.

I don’t feel that labelling certain things ‘Stupid’ really addresses the complexity of our situation, and may indeed do more harm than good.  If someone were to label me stupid because of something I was doing, something I may be attached to in my life, it would boost my ‘sod off’ response, rather than my ‘hang on a minute, perhaps these people have something I need to listen to here’ response.  Although my personal perception of the decision that was taken, say with regards to the third runway, is that it was stupid, that decision-making process involved a lot of thinking and weighing up of factors, and we may learn more by trying to understand those, than just by dismissing the whole thing as ‘stupid’.

Take me as an example.  I have solar panels, I have insulated my house, I don’t have a car and I don’t fly.  I grow food and I make compost.  However I still do things that generate carbon, probably, given the size of my family, quite a lot of carbon.  I still live within a consumerist society and I can rarely afford locally made, organic fibre clothes and so end up buying clothes from goodness knows where with goodness knows what impacts.  I borrow a car sometimes if I need to do certain trips.  I buy books and still like to buy CDs, I like to take the odd bath now and then because a bath is somehow a more all-round relaxing experience than a shower.  I do sometimes eat out of season, non-local food.  I like chocolate.  If its been cold and damp for a long time and my kids need clothes to wear that day and they haven’t dried by any other means, I have even been known to use a tumble drier.  I’m no saint, but who is?  Does that make me stupid?  Quite probably.

Earlier this week we had Don Beck, one of the founders of the Spiral Dynamics approach in Totnes for a talk.  It was very interesting, and I found myself warming to the idea (I had been ambivalent about it in the past).  The idea in a nutshell is that people and cultures evolve through a series of observable stages, of what they call ‘memes’.  These echo the stages most cultures move though, from red, which is more tribal pattern, through blue, which is the authoritarian and order-filled stage, to orange, which embodies a powerful business ethic, and which gauges its success on its achievements, to green, which is very egalitarian and communitarian, and then to yellow, which is about integration.

I had always thought of Spiral Dynamics as offering a pretty simplistic overview of humanity, one in which each person who came to it placed themselves higher in the system than everyone else.  This is an misunderstanding, Beck said.  In every person, each of the 7 memes are existent, pulsing at different strengths at different times.  One can have a very orange approach to one area of life, and very yellow in others.

My personal ‘aha’ moment came when someone asked Beck “if the aim is to move everyone through all the stages until they reach the yellow meme, then surely, given the speed of climate change and peak oil, we’ve had it?”  Again, said Beck, this is a misunderstanding.  The aim is not to move everyone through.  The idea is to acknowledge and respect that in any community, there are people and institutions at each of these levels.  And what is vital is not that everyone ‘goes yellow’ as it were, (or completely ‘not stupid’) but that every meme manifests in a healthy version of that meme.

For example, the blue meme is about self sacrifice, a code of conduct, strong values everyone having their place, laws and regulations.  It is a very conservative mindset.  In its unhelpful manifestation can be seen, for example, in my local District Council, very conservative, knows what’s best, doesn’t want community involvement as it knows how to do everything thank you very much, business comes first.  In a healthy manifestation though, it is about harnessing the ability such a meme has to get things done, to work with focus and with values to make things happen.  The green meme is about caring, political correctness, exploring feelings and sensitivity, using consensus and so on.  It is the meme of alternative culture.  In its unhealthy manifestation, it becomes collective navel-gaving and stuck in the tyranny of structurelessness.  In its healthy manifestation it offers the heart and soul aspects of Transition, insights from holistic thinking, deep democracy and so on.  You can find some great insights into how to communicate sustainability to people at each meme in a series of excellent presentations here.

My feeling is that if, say, a town like Totnes, is to successfully Transition, it needs all of those memes, all the sectors of society, working together in pursuit of a common goal.  For me, this is a very useful way of looking at it, because it stresses that interventions need to be made strategically.  Rather than a Transition group raising awareness by showing the End of Suburbia to the usual people who come to watch such things, perhaps a series of talks to the local Conservative Club and Rotary Club, based on appealing to their core values of local economy, responsibility, conservation and so on, would actually unlock more momentum, and unleash more energy?  Perhaps the business community need to be focused on more at the initial stages?  We need to be strategic here, not beat people round the head, as that very clearly has failed as an approach.

Clearly we have very little time left to turn this round.  The Age of Stupid clearly makes the point that this is a historic crossroads for humanity.  At such a point it feels useful to reflect on the tools we have had thus far and how useful they actually are.  It has long felt to me like we need more than just protest and direct action, and that big societal changes are either imposed by totalitarian governments, or they are driven by an inspired, passionate populus with a shared sense of vision and purpose.  I would certainly favour the latter myself, but one does not create that by putting ‘Stupid’ stickers on things, organisations and people we don’t like or that we feel are acting in a misguided way.  We run the danger of invoking a mass ‘sod off’ response.  We are all, to varying degrees, stupid.  Yet we are also all brilliant, creative, driven, inspired, passionate geniuses (genii?), to similarly varying degrees.  It will be those qualities that will get us out of this, not our stupidity.  I may well be stupid, but I am a lot more than that too, as are we all.

Comments are now closed on this site, please visit Rob Hopkins' blog at Transition Network to read new posts and take part in discussions.

76 Comments

DaveDann
2 Apr 8:24pm

Robert:
“then someone else will”
This argument is used at government level, as well as individual level e.g. “If we don’t supply the arms then someone else will”. Presumably it could also be used at community level – “if we don’t allow the new supermarket then somewhere else will.”.
“take back power for yourself to make decisions that DO matter” – what might these decisions be? – and I’d love to hear some more details for the ‘take back the power’ bit….(there’s so little discussion of that sort of thing here)
I have no wish to be competitive about how little carbon I use but the person who flies to Nice for pleasure would certainly have lost credibility if they tried to persuade individuals, communities or governments that carbon use should be cut. In a small way they would probably be acting to convince government that the building of the next runway should be approved.

Mike Grenville
2 Apr 8:47pm

The argument that a plane is flying anyway so makes no difference is quite wrong. There is a big difference between the fuel consumed by a plane with just the pilot on board and a plane full of passengers, catering, luggage and cargo. When a pilot is preparing for the flight he recieves from the aircraft despatcher the details of what is being loaded on the aircraft. He/she then calculates the fuel needed for the journey, allowing enough to be able to divert to another airport if needed at the destination. The calculation includes the number of passengers (with a standard assumption of average weight), the number of bags and their weight, and the weight and position of any cargo cartried. On that basis he then passes the order to the fuel truck as to how much to pump onto the plane.

So every extra passenger has a very specific amount of extra fuel consumed on that journey.

And if you havn’t watched Flying by Seize the Day before then watch it now:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNO7F5m-7pQ

Justin Kenrick
3 Apr 7:22am

Dear DaveDann,

Just responding to your ‘take back the power’ question.

Here in Scotland people from transition communitites – together with other people actively trying to reduce their communities carbon emissions – have been working on how we scale up the transition approach to the national level.

We have realised that the first thing is to be clear about the steps we want the Government to take to enable all communities to make the transition, and then ask Government to take those steps to create the framework so we (all communities) can make this happen. The key is to get away from thinking WE can do this while ignoring the Government level, or thinking that if we shout loud enough THEY will do it for us.

We want to support them (i.e. ensure they have the ideas and then the popular electoral back-up) to be able to do what they may well know they need to do, but also know that (as things stand) if they start doing them they will no longer be in power. So we need to create creative alliances with Government, that support those aspects of Government that are willing to take the riht risks, knowing they have our support.

Have a look at our website at http://www.holyrood350.org

Best, Justin

DaveDann
3 Apr 8:17am

Justin
Thanks. I can appreciate your ‘creative alliances’ approach.
You are fortunate in that you have your own Parliament. As George Monbiot pointed out on Feb 17:
“One of the peculiarities of UK politics is that issues which hardly anyone supports receive majority assent in parliament. Under the current system, no popular support is required. University top-up fees, for example, were rejected by the Scottish and Welsh assemblies, but Scottish and Welsh MPs were frogmarched through the lobbies to impose them on England (the government won by five votes). Foundation hospitals were voted down in both Wales and Scotland, and foisted on the English by the representatives of those nations. Had Heathrow’s third runway been debated only by English MPs, the proposal would have been resoundingly defeated; it was approved by 19 votes, after 67 MPs from the other nations were induced to support the government. They can support such measures without any electoral risk, as their constituents are not directly affected.”

Robert
3 Apr 9:24am

Mike,

You’re right, of course, about the emissions from the number of people flying on a plane, but I wasn’t making that argument. I have seen Flying by Seize the Day, it seems to be using the same argument that has been presented here and in other places – i.e. reducing your own individual emissions as a way to help the planet, which I do not believe will work, for the reasons I gave.

DaveDann,

There are billions of consumers competing for fossil fuels through the market place. On the other hand, there are only about 20 national governments which would need to agree to reduce emissions in order to actually bring them down to sustainable levels. (Same goes for the supply of armaments on some levels.) If these governments were serious about it, they could sit down together and sign a treaty. (Let’s hope they do so in Copenhagen.) But there is no way billions of consumers can sign a treaty.

Look at the oil crisis of the 70’s – that was imposed by a small cartel of oil producers. As far as I know this is the only example of a mandated global reduction in emissions that has taken place. In fact, I think it is far more likely to work if fossil fuel PRODUCTION, rather than consumption, is regulated – because it’s much easier to control the stuff when it comes out of the ground, than when it is about to be burnt.

DaveDann, I’ll post something about my own experiences in taking back power shortly.

Robert
3 Apr 10:37am

DaveDann,

I wrote about my experiences in organizing a local community on the Zorrozaurre Peninsula, Bilbao, to promote local sustainable development, in Permaculture Magazine no. 45. The article’s online here:
http://gen.ecovillage.org/iservices/publications/articles/Bilbao%20PM45low.pdf

More recently, there was an article in the Guardian about the Zorrozaurre project, to which I responded as follows:
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/world/2007/10/383769.html

As of now, the story is a happy one for the local community, because the institutions responsible for the area’s redevelopment have agreed to subsidise the renovation of the community’s houses (using sustainable criteria). The community are still here and look like they will stay. What will happen to the Zaha Hadid masterplan, in today’s economic climate, is anyone’s guess.

For me, however, it is not a particularly happy ending. Although we still live here, and our flats are being renovated, I don’t play an active part in the community anymore, and don’t consider this as my long-term home. One reason for this is the attitude of a minority of radical Basque nationalists within the local community.

At the moment, we are engaged in a project to create an ecological house and study centre in a village an hour from Bilbao, which is an experience that I have found far more empowering than working with the community in Bilbao. Information about that project is available at http://www.abrazohouse.org.

To very briefly summarise my experiences:

– It’s more empowering to engage in projects that have a direct effect on your environment, than to sit around talking about it, though this may be necessary too.
– It’s necessary to feel that you belong to a community, otherwise you will not really get the benefit of your work, although your experience will be a benefit in itself.
– Have a vision of the long-term goal you wish to achieve (creating a sustainable community is a good one), and be aware that communities take a LONG time to develop – measured in decades.
– Whatever political parties, companies, or other hierarchical organisations you work with, will always try to coopt your work for their own ends. So beware.

Ben Brangwyn
3 Apr 11:32am

If you recognise the connection between CO2 emissions and species loss, inundation in Bangladesh and ecosystem destruction, then the question “”will my act of flying make a meaningful dent in carbon emissions?” is missing the point.

Let’s look at this with another problem that, IMO, adds clarity to this question – violence to children.

We’d probably all agree that violence to minors is wrong, and is a huge problem on a worldwide scale.

If I see a young kid getting bashed about by an adult on the street, will I get involved? Probably most of us would, some with a pause to assess their own vulnerability, others would wade in unhesitatingly. We’d get involved because it’s wrong, it’s power over, and it’s intolerable.

But, and here’s the big question in the context of this piece, would it put a meaningful dent in the totality of violence to children the world over?

Not really. But that’s not the point.

It’s wrong. We do what we can to stop it.

Now, if we replay that question about flying and the global totality of CO2 emissions with this example in mind, would some people come up with a different answer?

The “no-fly” decision right now (in rich countries) is based usually on moral grounds. Soon it’ll be economic. Later it will be that unless you work for the government, army, UN or are very rich, you probably can kiss goodbye to airline food.

Ben.

Mike Grenville
3 Apr 12:08pm

I hadn’t realised airline food was something we would miss 😉

DaveDann
3 Apr 12:21pm

Robert – like your argument in favour of restricting oil PRODUCTION. In the field of economics I think it would be viewed that 20 competitors would be unlikely to all agree – whereas just 3 or 4 dominant parties might manage to form an ‘oligopoly’, which is perhaps why OPEC can work. Of course the obvious link in this thread is that Justin and his collaborators can use their political influence to restrict the extraction of Scottish oil reserves in the North Sea…
Ben – I think the flaw in your analogy is that people are disgusted by SINGLE acts of violence to children, but they are usually NOT disgusted by single ‘acts of emission’, it’s only the TOTAL that is seen as a problem. I’m disgusted by much litter so I sometimes stop to pick it up. This would perhaps be viewed as irrational by some here but I’m most definitely not claiming to act rationally.

Mike Grenville
3 Apr 12:34pm

Roberts said: “..far more likely to work if fossil fuel PRODUCTION, rather than consumption, is regulated”.

This looks as though it is happening though not by design. Global oil demand fell in 2008 and should slide further this year, the first demand reductions since 1983.

Also over $100bn in oil infrastructure projects have been cancelled in the last year because of the collapse in credit and a price which is below the level that provides a margin for investment.

“The collapse in oil prices could end up cutting the growth in future oil supply in half from what would have been anticipated during the high price period, according to a new study from Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA).”
http://www.oilvoice.com/n/CERA_Low_Oil_Prices_Putting_Supply_Growth_at_Risk/65be2d2d.aspx

Robert
3 Apr 3:16pm

Ben,

Sadly, the issue of violence to children is far from being as clear-cut as you depict.

Many people in many places still expect obedience from children and consider a spanking (“done with love”) to be perfectly justified as a last resort to ensure this. Few people would interfere when they see a parent spank a toddler in public. I was of this persuasion just four years ago. Since then I have become totally anti-spanking, and pro-intervention (e.g. I have been known to provoke arguments at family gatherings!)

As for flying, it’s totally murky. Suppose you have been invited to give a workshop on some worthy topic in, say, Mexico. The flight is paid for on someone else’s dollar, and it’s the only way to get there. Is it morally wrong to fly? Would it be morally wrong if it were in Italy? If you went to Italy by car? If you flew to Paris? Went by train? blah… blah…

No, I don’t believe flying is morally wrong, in the same way that hitting a child is.

PS. What happened to my post with links? Must still be in moderation, I guess…

James
5 Apr 8:45am

I was leafing through an Argos Catalogue the other day when I noticed a ‘future-proof’ 10-in-1 TV/satellite/audio system etc remote control. I started to imagine a world of floods and eco-armageddon whilst the lucky purchaser sat smugly inside a magical protective bubble beamed from his 10-in-1. What a smart purchase s/he made back in 2009. Unless, of course s/he forgot the batteries (not included). On that theme I’ve always found it odd that most 4x4s are fitted with Climate Control. ‘Fire-storms getting a little intense today dear, shall we turn up the climate control a little?’

I was all set to get on my high-horse about green-wash, Organics shampoo, Nescafe fair-trade, David Cameron etc when my better half found an item (I won’t tell you what) with the small-print warning ‘dwarf not included’.

What? No dwarf? I’m not buying that then.

[…] Friendly Permacultre Critique of the Obama Garden and I’m with Stupid From Transition […]

Ian Clotworthy
17 Apr 11:20pm

I don’t really see how the facts of peak oil are supposed to suggest that one must stop flying. If anything, they suggest that one should travel now while it’s still affordable.

James
20 Apr 7:52am

Hi Ian. The latest predictions for climate change are extremely frightening. If the world is to avoid a tipping point into runaway climate change we have to keep the parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere down to below 450(ppm). At the current rate of fossil fuel usage that figure will be exceeded between 2015 and 2020. CO2 does not just go away, it takes hundreds (maybe thousands) of years to be re-absorbed into the world’s eco-systems.

Peak oil (according to the latest figures from Total) will occur in 2015. By that time we will have burned half of the world’s oil reserves and as a result caused run-way climate change.

Run-away climate change is likely to cause a reduction in the world’s population from 7 billion to 1 billion by 2100 – beyond that it is very difficult to predict how many people will be able to survive.

And if you don’t value human life, consider that half of the world animals and plants will become extinct by 2100.

I have two daughters who should be at the age to fall in love around 2020. Personally, I can no longer justify flying.

James
20 Apr 8:02am

Hi Ian.

Transition makes the link between peak oil and climate change.

The latest predictions for climate change are extremely frightening. If the world is to avoid a tipping point into run-away climate change we have to keep the parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere down to below 450(ppm). At the current rate of fossil fuel usage that figure will be exceeded between 2015 and 2020. CO2 does not just go away, it takes hundreds (maybe thousands) of years to be re-absorbed into the world’s eco-systems.

Peak oil (according to the latest figures from Total) will occur in 2015. By that time we will have burned half of the world’s oil reserves and as a result caused run-way climate change.

Run-away climate change is likely to cause a reduction in the world’s population from 7 billion to 1 billion by 2100 – beyond that it is very difficult to predict how many people will be able to survive.

And if you don’t value human life, consider that half of the world animals and plants will become extinct by 2100.

I have two daughters who should be at the age to fall in love around 2020. Personally, I can no longer justify flying.

But looking at your website I see you already know this.

James
20 Apr 8:03am

Sorry, clicked twice – please can someone delete my repeated message. Cheers.

Ian
20 Apr 9:52am

“The latest predictions for climate change are extremely frightening. If the world is to avoid a tipping point into run-away climate change we have to keep the parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere down to below 450(ppm)

I have two daughters who should be at the age to fall in love around 2020. Personally, I can no longer justify flying.”

Yes I know the facts about climate change and peak oil. However, it is also apparent to me and any other people that whether I make a flight or not will not make a difference to the likely run of history.

I don’t see the logical leap from being aware of these facts to considering it imperative that one attempts to be pure and free of fossil fuel use. It’s not as obvious as a lot of climate change writers think. It is this kind of moralising that is holding our movement back. But since you are involved in TT, I see you already know this!

Good luck with Stratford.

Mike Grenville
21 Apr 9:40am

Ian – are you saying that your individual actions don’t have an effect? They certainly do.

For example some people justify flying ‘as the plane is flying anyway’. But in fact each passenger and their luggage is included in the calculation of how much fuel is taken on board for that journey.

Individual actions also influence the people around us. If you are aware of Peak Oil and Climate Change and fly in spite of that knowledge, what do you think that the people around you who know less about it will think?

Ian
21 Apr 1:29pm

Well, individual actions are nearly always centred on using less oil. As far as I can see these are mostly valuable in demonstrating that it is possible to live without a high fuel consumption, and training oneself for when such an energy intensive lifestyle will be uneconomical.

But to think that because I use less oil, that less carbon dioxide will enter the atmosphere is a delusion. The reason for this is because it is a demand-side action. The supply side is not affected. By reducing my demand for oil, I am not reducing the supply. That reduction in demand, given equal supply, simply makes oil cheaper for those who live high-energy lifestyles.

I actually do live a relatively low energy lifestyle, mainly because such a lifestyle usually is in harmony with living a low-income lifestyle (e.g. cycling rather than driving or using the bus, not travelling often, leaving heating off). That is what is important. You win many people over to your side by talking about low-energy use being economical rather than merely virtuous.

This is why climate change activism has been stuck in the mud as a middle-class and alternative subculture interest. These are important, but what we need to learn from left-wing movements is that collective goals and action are far more important than the individualist attempts at political change.

Like all motor vehicles, the passengers make up a small percentage of the total mass of an aeroplane.

What people around me think is more influenced by what the media is saying than what I am doing. If there’s anything that climate change activism should not be allowed to become, it is a cult of good behaviour. It’s too urgent for that. But that has already happened, and caused tragic delays. There is a tendency to insist that people aware of the climate act in harmony with their beliefs. But I don’t like that. I would rather act in harmony with the facts, because the urgency of climate change is not a belief, as often implied, but a fact.

Transition culture gets around this because it is about doing “useful/good” things rather than not doing “bad” things. Pious self-abnegation typically just depoliticises the whole thing, and turns it into a lifestyle choice.

Robert
21 Apr 3:11pm

Thanks Ian, you’ve just said what I was trying to say in other words.

It’s not an accident that the main focus of mass climate activism, until very recently, has been on individual lifestyle changes. The capitalist media (you know, the ones that carry adverts for cars and airlines) have been very influential in pushing this form of “activism” as the one and only solution. I suppose that’s because it’s politically safe and non-controversial, and as Ian points out, probably completely ineffective.

Justin Kenrick
22 Apr 7:31am

Hi Robert,

I still don’t get the either/or approach beloved of the capitalst media you mention, and which you also appear to advocate (but in reverse). Surely changing how we live is connected to changing our communities is connected to changing our politics is connected to changing global processes. Or if it isn’t, then we ned to be working rapidly to make sure of this.

If I think of political movements that have been effective (or worked against all odds to be effective) they have not been ones that have told people not to make individual choices, not to buld community level organisation and change, because there is some other level (the national/ internatioal) where everything happens, so there is no point doing anything except some unspecified line of action which almost always comes down to simply protesting. Over my life I have regularly been involved in protest but, by itself, it simply bolsters the position of the powerful – and this is my problem with the whole Rocky Road approach. By itself it is another dead end. All of our approaches are (by themselves) dead ends. Our (slim, but worth struggling for) hope is to connect up these approaches, to turn up the creative and challenging heat of creatively recovering our power, rather than the heat of the planet and the poor and the ecosystems and (finally) the bloggers burning.

I’m still looking forward to your picking up on your statement to DaveDann (3rd April) to “post something about my own experiences in taking back power shortly”!

Best, Justin

Justin Kenrick
22 Apr 7:44am

My previous post (imedediately above) came out garbled! If anyone can delete it, great! If not, ignore it!

Hi Robert,

I still don’t get the either/or approach beloved of the capitalst media you mention, and which you also appear to advocate (but in reverse). Surely changing how we live is connected to changing our communities is connected to changing our politics is connected to changing global processes. Or if it isn’t, then we ned to be working rapidly to make sure it is!

If I think of political movements that have been effective (or worked against all odds to be effective) they have not been ones that have told people not to make individual choices, and not to buld community level organisation and change, because there is some other level (the national/ internatioal) where everything happens. They have not been ones that say there is no point doing anything except some unspecified line of action which almost always comes down to simply protesting.

Over my life I have regularly been involved in protest but, by itself, it simply bolsters the position of the powerful – and this is my problem with the whole Rocky Road approach. By itself it is another dead end. All of our approaches are (by themselves) dead ends. Our (slim, but worth struggling for) hope/ work is to connect up these approaches, to turn up the creative and challenging heat of creatively recovering our power, rather than the heat of the planet and the poor and the ecosystems and (finally) the bloggers burning.

I’m still looking forward to your picking up on your statement to DaveDann (3rd April) to “post something about my own experiences in taking back power shortly”!

Best, Justin

Mike Grenville
22 Apr 9:46am

… and anyway, Transition isn’t either/or. It is part of the mix of all the things that need to be done that include reorganising our lives, finding out how to do it and helping those around us, building resilience in the community where you live rather than place all your hope that government will fix it all for you in time, and yes that very much includes writing to your MP so that they know the issues are important to the people who vote, it involves demonstrating sometimes to make it clear how much popular feeling there is and all the other things that make for political and social change.

It’s all of it together. The great Transition principle is that people should follow their passion as the route to greatest success. The more time we spend this type of discussion simply diverts us from the really urgent need to get on with it – what ever it is that you think is best. But do it now!

Robert
22 Apr 9:39pm

Justin

I already posted something in response to DaveDann’s request – see my post of 3 Apr 10:37am above.

And no, of course I don’t think that lifestyle changes are unnecessary. No point in wasting more words on the topic though – I think it’s pretty much all been said now.

Justin Kenrick
23 Apr 7:28am

over and out – thanks for the thoughtful discussion Robert, Mike, Ian, Ben, James, DaveDann n all – I found that helpful: good luck with yor life/ work in this absolutely critical moment.