Online screening of ‘In Transition’
Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture
Please Take Your Seats Ladies and Gentlemen, the Online Screening of ‘In Transition’ Starts Now…
The film ‘In Transition’ is now available for viewing, for the next 72 hours. The version being screened is not the final version, it still has a sequence to add and some tidying up to do, but is almost there. We very much hope you enjoy it (you will need Quicktime on your computer)…. Please leave comments and feedback below. For more information on the film’s release click here. Also, if having seen it you would like to make a donation to help us finish it, please use the Paypal button below. So, to watch ‘In Transition’, click here. Enjoy it and no rusting your popcorn at the back now please…. hey, and you two in the back row, do you mind?
(11 June 2009)
Financial crisis: high noon on the high street
Mick Brown, Telegraph (UK)
As Britain faces up to its worst post-war slump, it seems no one is immune. In the first of a three-part series on the recession and the world that will emerge from its ashes, Mick Brown visits Chester and Totnes to see how the shops on the front line are fighting the crunch – in very different ways
... It is consumerism that has driven the engine of growth. Thrift has been bad for business, which is why even now – as we tighten our purse strings and look anxiously towards our savings and pension plans – we are urged to continue to spend to get the economy back on track. Even though spending is what has got us into trouble in the first place.
As Dieter Helm, Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Oxford, has put it, 'The fundamental cause of the current crisis is that consumption has been unsustainably high, based on borrowing too much, investing too little and saving too little. If we continue to try to spend even more, and borrow ever greater sums, the eventual effect on the standard of living will be commensurately greater.’
Helm reckons that sustainable consumption in Britain 'may be as much as 20 per cent lower than at the peak in 2006-07’. In other words, the days of the £1,500 handbag – and much else that we have come to take for granted – may be numbered.
But as much as we have been bombarded with media messages about the pleasures of consumerism, so there has been a growing sense of its costs – a realisation that the great national spending spree is both economically unsustainable and inimical to a healthy and happy life. This feeling may be detected in the rise of what the social theorist Kate Soper had described as 'alternative hedonism’ – a recognition of the pleasures of slow, rather than fast, food; of simple living, a life less dominated by the car, air travel and the computer screen, a respite from the anxieties of status and from being judged not by what you are but by what you own.
In this light, could the recession actually prove, in some way, to be a benefit? A salutary shock to a system that is not working, like the first twinges of chest pain that tell you that you really should slow down if you want to avoid a heart attack. An opportunity to reassess our attitudes to consumerism, and to discover that as we economise and buy fewer things, that we don’t actually miss them, and didn’t really need them in the first place.
Totnes (£69 return from London – a bargain!) is a town that prompts such reflections associated with a certain rejection of materialism. Ever since the educationalist Leonard Elmhirst arrived in the 1920s to found a progressive school at nearby Dartington Hall, Totnes in south Devon has enjoyed a reputation for alternative ideas. The standing joke is that it is twinned with Narnia – a town where people are more likely to crochet their own handbag than they are to pay £1,450 for one.
... While it is clear that Totnes is hardly the typical British town, something is stirring there that could have a profound influence on the shape of every high street in the future. Totnes is the birthplace of the Transition movement, which aims to strengthen local communities and develop resilience (a favourite Transition word) in the face of climate change and the looming crisis occasioned by Peak Oil. This refers to the widely held theory that the world’s production of oil is now at or close to its peak, and that we face a future of inexorably dwindling supplies, with all the potentially catastrophic consequences that implies, unless we can reduce our energy usage and find alternative forms of energy.
The Transition philosophy disputes the conventional wisdom that capitalism’s propensity for innovation and efficiency will provide the solutions to energy and climate problems, arguing that no alternatives can possibly sustain the economic system we now live by, and that local communities need to be planning a transition – hence the name – to a post-carbon society.
(12 June 2009)
Transition Culture: Pushing Back to a Greener Future
Rita Robinson, Laguna Beach Independent
When Becky Prelitz started perusing some of her husband's books with titles such as "Power Down," "Peak Everything," "The Party's Over" and "The Final Energy Crisis," she got depressed. So depressed, in fact, about a future without endless inexpensive gasoline, electricity and water that she slept for six months. "It was too much doom and gloom so I literally took a six-month nap," she claimed.
When she woke up from her Rip-Van-Winkle reaction to what she dubbed post petroleum stress disorder, she found another book on her doorstep, "The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resiliency" by Rob Hopkins and Richard Heinberg. The book replicates the original transition town movement in culturally eclectic Totnes, England, in 2006. She decided to read it.
"It was happy, bubbling over with joy, and I thought, 'I can do that'." "That" became Transition Laguna Beach, a grassroots movement to gradually help "transition" Laguna into a self-sustaining community in terms of food, water and energy with ecologically friendly solutions that bring people together.
At the heart of the movement, said Prelitz, is the simple vision: "To imagine that the future with less oil could be preferable to where we are now."
Last February, Laguna became the 10th official Transition Town in the U.S. and the 129th in the world. Five weeks later, 21 new transition towns popped up, 11 of which were in the states. Boulder, Colo., heralds in as the first U.S. Transition Town (May '08). Los Angeles became the first Transition "City" last December. Laguna is the southernmost T-town in California and, so far, the only one in Orange County.
(12 June 2009)
Transitioning Tampa Bay into sustainable communities
Eric Stewart, Creative Loafing
As a young man growing up in this wonderful state I’ve seen the growth of the local area around me. I still recall the farmlands when I first moved to Pasco county nearly 10 years ago. Now they are all gone, replaced by rolled out lawns of Bermuda grass, cul de sacs, and neat rows of similar looking houses. I recall as a young man building some of those homes: installing windows, replacing dishwashers with custom brand new dishwashers, adding water softeners to neighborhoods far away from any development, with the closest road being I-75. Yes I grew up in the boom that was the post 9/11 years.
I’m 24 years old now, recalling the remarkable growth that I’ve seen over those years working on the growth in Pasco gives me reflection. Reflection on George W. Bush’s speech where he mentioned for America to go shopping. Yes I, too, got caught up into the fantasy of an easily accessible credit card line and a brand new plasma screen TV. We Americans consumed to our hearts content on easily borrowed money, second mortgages, and home equity loans. I don’t know how many times I’ve recalled seeing ads for debt consolidating or a new book proclaiming how to get out of debt. Easy money creates easy consuming. Now looking back I notice the hypocrisy. We are still currently at war in two nations for a greater length of time than even World War II. Yet at home, we bought up brand new homes and filled them with brand new things only to turn around and get rid of them when a brand new thing of another product came out. We became gluttonous as a nation.
Now in 2009, with another 500,000 jobs gone, a few more trillion added onto our ever growing debt, a few more million homeless and hungry, a few more soldiers committing suicide in the military, I can’t help but think our society has gone insane. We have lost all the things that made us moral and strong. The American dream that our forefathers built up is turning into an American nightmare.
There is another way. A transition to another culture. It’s already beginning: We are using less electricity, producing less carbon dioxide, more people are riding bikes than ever before. America is learning again how to be frugal, how to garden, how to reconnect with family/friends/neighbors to rebuild their communities. We are slowly gaining the consciousness that for too long we’ve built up a throw-away society.
(11 June 2009)