Transition Culture

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

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26 Jan 2010

Transition: what’s it all about?

Andreas Teuchert filmed a series of interviews at the 2009 Transition Network conference, which he edited together around three key questions. Here is the first, the other two are posted below. Thanks Andreas, they turned out really well….

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


Brad K.
27 Jan 3:21am

I have to say – where’s the beef.

I spent 17 years in scientific software, grew up on a hog farm, and served seven years in the US Navy. I tend to focus – what is the task, what are the parameters, how do I know I am done, what result is acceptable. Tangible descriptions and technical details matter to me.

This video, I am sure, is great in some way. It presents all kinds of concepts and generalities – but it reminds me of those 500 lines long “testimonial” web sites and junk mailings that never seem to get to what it will cost to gain all these marvelous benefits.

This bit of motivation and marketing doesn’t move me. There aren’t any distinct bits that resonate, that I think, “Yeah, I can do that,” or “These look like good people, and the opening seems quite attractive.”

I have a “junk mail” rule. If I have to look for the price, I immediately trash the mailing piece or blot out the web site. Do I think this video should start with “Here is the address you need to get to. Call first.” No. But at 2:47 into the clip, I am still waiting to hear what has been done, what I am to do.

And that is why I didn’t listen to the whole piece. The message so far seems to be “Transition! It is good because I think it is good! You should too!” And at this point, this evening, this isn’t a message I cherish.

Steve Last
27 Jan 8:19pm

I really like this video as it provides a neat introduction to the idea of transition. I’ll certainly be showing it to others to introduce them and inspire them.

I think that the jump between expecting to have someone telling you what to do to solve all our problems is still the dominant mindset. The real strength of transition has got to be in acting as a catalyst for community action. And as we know, there is plenty, and growing evidence of this throughout the world.

Steve Last
27 Jan 8:23pm

I meant to say:
I think that the jump between expecting to have someone telling you what to do to solve all our problems, and actually working as a community to just get on with it, is a large, cultural one. There is no one ‘answer’ to our predicament, but this remains the dominant mindset.

27 Jan 11:15pm

If Brad K. had have listened to the whole piece he may have heard what needs to be done and what he can do. As for his ‘junk mail rule’ my take on transition is; if you don’t get involved and make sure you are prepared to enable yourself to survive the massive change that will occurr when our systems go with the oil – the price you will pay is your life!

Susanna Lepianka
28 Jan 7:27pm

What I love about this model is that it isn’t one, in a concrete sense. It’s organic and allows spontaneous approaches to living and being in the world. Why should anyone have to tell anyone else what or how they should do anything. Haven’t we had enough of concepts, future planning applications that are never realized. Being told what we should or should not be doing. Relying on central governments to work it all out for us.

Tangible descriptions and technical matters are not what it’s about that’s the old way. See how that kind of mindset works when say employed to work on the “peace process” in the middle east (just an example.) That kind of mentality doesn’t work anymore. Hierarchy’s within society doesn’t work, we need a more co-operative, inclusive way of being not hard and fast rules, regulations, etc. The transistion movement is the best initative I have seen towards this.

29 Jan 12:31pm

Thanks so much everyone who made the wee film – i loved it – brilliant . . . and Hi Brad . . . well – i certainly don’t respond well at all to being TOLD what to do . . . and i do enjoy a lot working it out with friends . . . that’s the beauty of the whole transition thing as far as I can see . . . here in Lancaster UK we are having a pretty exciting time starting to work out some of this stuff . . .

Susanna Lepianka
29 Jan 10:05pm

Well said Steve re people needing to make that jump from expecting others to work things out for them or tell them what to do show them the way etc. The let’s sit back and let someone else get on with it is outdated. People need to stand up and be prepared to be accountable and reponsible and work together in mutual support of each other. I believe the world would be a lot better off if people stop looking for solutions to supposed problems and allow spontaneous action to drive them. Otherwise they just go round in circles debating so called problems and in the meantime nothing gets done.

I also agree with Chris if Brad K. had listened to the whole of the tape before commenting he would have a better idea of what communities in transistion are all about.

Brad K.
30 Jan 4:19am

Chris, Susanna,

I watched the video all the way through. There were about four minutes, starting three and a half minutes in, that might be said to address the question of “what is transition all about?” The rest, and as a whole, the piece more properly addresses “Is Transition a good thing for you?” or maybe “What do you like about Transition?”

What comes to my mind is the difference between data – observations – and information – data used to make a choice. I found this particular video rich in data.

Susanna Lepianka
30 Jan 6:46pm

Why not have a look at the transition website Brad to get a more in-depth picture and/or arrange to attend some transition events. The Transition Movement is very hands-on and holistic & I think you may be very pleasantly surprised with what’s being accomplished.

31 Jan 2:49am

I’m always reluctant to tell someone how they can benefit from our contribute to Transition. When they realise the implications of our global challenges they often come up with original ideas that they are passionate about. That is very powerful. Not sure what its all about? Read the Transition Towns Handbook.
I guess this does raise the point though, that those of us who have been involved with Transition for a while can forget how it looks from a newcomer’s perspective. It is worth preparing a simple explanation, which of course will be different for everyone, because we all have different interests and agendas.

Susanna Lepianka
31 Jan 12:09pm

I like the film “In Transition 1.0” that, for me, gives a good overview for anyone interested in the transition movement. It certainly speaks my language.