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The Transition Handbook: from oil dependency to local resilience
by Rob Hopkins
240 pages in two colours, 234 x 234mm
Published by Green Books (2008). Sorry. We just sold the last one of these!
“If your town is not yet a Transition Town, here is guidance for making it one. We have little time, and much to accomplish.”
Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute, Santa Rosa, California, author of ‘Power Down’ and ‘Peak Everything’
We live in an oil-dependent world, and have got to this level of dependency in a very short space of time, using vast reserves of oil in the process – without planning for when the supply is not so plentiful. Most of us avoid thinking about what happens when oil runs out (or becomes prohibitively expensive), but The Transition Handbook shows how the inevitable and profound changes ahead can have a positive outcome. These changes can lead to the rebirth of local communities, which will grow more of their own food, generate their own power, and build their own houses using local materials. They can also encourage the development of local currencies, to keep money in the local area.
The book has three sections, the Head, the Heart and the Hands. The Head explores the issues of peak oil and climate change, and how when looked at together, we need to be focusing on the rebuilding of resilience as well as cutting carbon emissions. It argues that the focus of our lives will become increasingly local and small scale as we come to terms with the real implications of the energy crisis we are heading into. The Heart looks at where we find the personal tools for responding to what can feel like overwhelming challenges. It argues that key to our success will be our ability to generate positive visions of future, to harness the power of engaged optimism, and overcome powerlessness. The Hands offers a detailed exploration of the Transition model, setting out its principles, its origins, the 12 Steps of Transition, how they were applied in the first year of Transition Town Totnes, as well as offering a taste of how the model has been applied in a range of other settings. The book also contains lots of ‘Tools for Transition’, exercises and activities that can help to deepen this work in your community.
There are now over 40 Transition Towns in the UK, with more joining as the idea takes off. With little proactivity at government level, communities are taking matters into their own hands and acting locally. If your town is not a Transition Town, this upbeat guide offers you the tools for starting the process. It is a process which is, as Richard Heinberg writes in his Foreword, “more like a party than a protest march”.
The Author: Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Network has long been aware of the implications of our oil-dependent status, and has been energetically campaigning to increase awareness of its impact. Having successfully created an Energy Descent Plan for Kinsale in Ireland which was later adopted as policy by the town council, Rob moved to Totnes in Devon and initiated Transition Town Totnes, the first UK town to address the issues of life after peak oil (www.transitiontowns.org/Totnes).
What the Reviews Say:
“In conclusion, the book succeeds brilliantly at every level: as a precise, detailed, what-to-do manual for those developing Transition Initiatives; as a guide for those curious as to what Transition is all about; and even as a lay-persons guide to peak oil, climate change and what to do about them… this is one of the most important books in the sustainability field to appear in this decade. It is essential reading for all environmental activists and all concerned about what we can actually DO about the threats now bearing down on us. The future well-being of us all, depends on its success”.
Robert Morgan, Green College.
“This book by the visionary architect of the Transition movement is a mustread labelled, ‘immediate’. Growing numbers with their microscopes trained on peak oil are convinced that we have very little time to engineer resilience into our communities before the last energy crisis descends. This issue should be of urgent concern to every person who cares about their children, and all who hope there is a viable future for human civilisation post-petroleum.”
Jeremy Leggett, founder of Solarcentury and SolarAid, and author of The Carbon War and Half Gone.
“The Transition concept is one of the big ideas of our time. Peak oil and climate change can so often leave one feeling depressed and disempowered. What I love about the Transition approach is that it is inspirational, harnessing hope instead of guilt, and optimism instead of fear. The Transition Handbook will come to be seen as one of the seminal books which emerged at the end of the Oil Age and which offered a gentle helping hand in the transition to a more local, more human and ultimately more nourishing future.”
Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association
“Rob Hopkins has written the most thorough description so far of how we get from the present chaos of cities and towns that are killing the planet and the people in them, to viable new ecologically sustainable urban and rural systems. This is more than a theoretical how-to manual; it is based on his own team’s ground-breaking work, engaging whole communities in a transformative process that accepts the crucial need to reverse course, and has succeeded in doing so. The book is a great guide for how we must live in a future world where the limits of nature are honoured, but so are the basic comforts and joys of communities coming together in a great common cause. There is no more important book than this one for any community seeking change toward ecological sustainability.”
Jerry Mander, founder/director of the International Forum on Globalization and author of In the Absence of the Sacred
“Rob Hopkins is the Gentle Giant of the green movement, and his timely and hugely important book reveals a fresh and empowering approach that will help us transition into a materially leaner but inwardly richer human experience. Full of reliable, readable, far-reaching scholarship, and warmhearted practical advice on how to instigate transition culture wherever you are, this book will energise and regenerate your commitment to place, community and simple living. There is no better call to action than this book, and no better guide to the hands-on creation of a liveable future.”
Dr Stephan Harding, co-ordinator of the MSc in Holistic Science at Schumacher College and author of Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia