Transition Culture

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

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I no longer blog on this site. You can now find me, my general blogs, and the work I am doing researching my forthcoming book on imagination, on my new blog.

28 Jun 2010

What it Looks Like When Transition Meets Climate Activism….

Here is a fascinating short film about Transition Heathrow, which has emerged from the proposed (and now scrapped) Third Runway at Heathrow Airport, and is now focused around a community garden project called ‘Grow Heathrow’, a wonderful reclaiming of a derelict market garden site.  It will hopefully spark an interesting discussion here about how Transition and activism come together … thanks to the JustDoIt people for making the film…

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


28 Jun 10:09pm

That’s so cool!
Were they doing it where the extra runway was proposed? (It’s great it was scrapped).

Stephen Watson
29 Jun 9:06am

Wonderful! I had tears in my eyes.

29 Jun 1:20pm

Fantastic! Climate Camp at Heathrow was were I had my ‘climate change moment’ (thanks George Monbiot for tipping me into 6 months’ despair!) and it is also where I first came across Transition through a Transition Town Totnes workshop by Naresh (thanks Transition for seeing me through it). Fantastic to see the two come together in this creative and inspiring way. Community building at its best. Good luck to you all and please make another film when you are further down the line.

(Made me cry too!).

29 Jun 7:45pm

Absolutely brilliant! That kind of positive, practical, but very radical action shows people new possibilities that they would never have imagined. The enormous feelings of empowerment you get from physically reclaiming land/streets/buildings for community use is unbeatable, as it makes you realise you can actually do something where you previously felt totally powerless.

The current climate activism reminds me a lot of the direct action in the early-mid 90s (anti-roadbuilding, Reclaim the Streets, Reclaim the Land, etc.). Bringing it together with the ideas and experience of the Transition Towns movement has a real potential to make new links and ideas, and hopefully will make it harder for people to portray it as just another ‘anti’ movement.

I think (hope!) both movements can inspire and teach each other a lot.

I never thought I would find myself thinking the words “if only I lived nearer to Heathrow…”!!

Shane Hughes
29 Jun 9:42pm

Taking possession and squating a site is illegal. Like it or not it’s an act of aggression. Is this a positive act of Transition?

Just thought i’d try to spark some opinions from others.

Hats off to Transition Heathrow. I’ve been involved with a couple of squated sites and get it and love it but not without it perturbing the positivity puritan within me. 100’s if not 1000’s of squatted/community sites have taken on this kind of positive act of soft aggression that is illegal but plausibly morally sound and its been happening long before the birth of Transiton.

Worth noting though that in similar scenarios like the Brazilian landless movement similar acts of re-appropriating disused spaces escalates into very violent aggression rather than soft aggression and in the Brazil scenario it is plausibly even more morally sound given that it’s live or death for the people without land.

It’s a question of lines in th sand. Given the growing embracing of collapse within the Transition movement we might see a lot more talk about Argentina style reopening of the factories….

30 Jun 2:28pm

Agree with Simon that this looks a lot like the kind of direct action a lot of us were involved in in the 90s and not a lot like Transition (at least not as I’ve come to understand it).

That isn’t to say that what they’re doing isn’t great… I’d love to go and see them; just that I’m wondering if we’re seeing a much broader understanding of what ‘Transition’ might be and also what might constitute a Transition Initiative.

I get the feeling that the second edition of the Handbook – incorporating the Pattern Language style toolkit for and by initiatives – will take this even further (which can only be a good thing).

3 Jul 5:09pm


I am a community organizer in California.

I am looking to move to an active town/city to help out their work.

I am wondering what the most active transition initiatives are?? Or what you all think are the most active communities are in the World?


7 Jul 6:10am

Don’t want to side track the conversation but just wanted to respond to Shane’s comment that squatting was an act of aggression and is illegal.

Firstly squatting is like any other activity and is no more agressive than anything else. For the past two years I lived in a squatted house here in New Zealand, our neighbors loved us and we were on good terms with the community constable. I don’t think anything we did could be construed as agressive. We dug up the lawns gardened the whole property and when we ran out of space set up a community garden down the road.

As for legality depending on where you are and how you go about it there may well be nothing illegal about squatting.

Those of us involved in transition know that the current distribution of land is inequitable and unsustainable. Squatting can be one useful tool in reevaluating how land is distrubuted and used. Like anything else I don’t think squatting is inherently good or bad, it is simply a tool.

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