What the Transition Towns Initiative is about ...

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reikiman's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: Sunday, November 19, 2006 - 17:52
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What the Transition Towns Initiative is about ...

That's been a wild debate over on that other thread.. but it veered sharply away from the original topic - the Transition Towns. FWIW I'm involved with starting Transition Silicon Valley and we're in an interesting process of starting up several local Transition initiatives (Palo Alto, San Jose, etc) as well as Transition Silicon Valley as an umbrella organization.

Mik posted a really good synopsis of what the Transition Initiative sees as the problem (http://visforvoltage.org/forum/6868-peak-oil-climate-change-and-transition-towns-movement?page=1#comment-53680) -

I don't get too hung up on the whole climate change debate! Why? Because even if there was broad consensus that there is no such thing as human induced climate change/destabilisation or whatever you may call it, it would not fundamentally change the present situation!

Even without climate change we are in the middle of a global catastrophe unfolding. Yes, I know, you still think eating meat does not waste any calories or other resources - and that our ingenuity will come up with solutions to everything and it will all get better and better.....nothing but denial in full flight! You just don't seem to understand exponential growth curves.

In the majority of locations on earth there is a rapidly accelerating depletion of top soils and of usable ground water; mass extinction of species; rapid depletion of fish stocks; deforestation, massive reduction in biodiversity - and accelerating human population growth. At the same time, agriculture has become almost completely dependent upon petrochemical life support and the majority of humans has no idea of how to grow food, not to mention the lack of suitable non-hybrid seeds.

All this spells catastrophe and mass starvation in big fat letters - no CO2 rise needed at all!

Yes.. Exactly.. Perfectly stated. There are a number of issues well outside the nexus of greenhouse-gas-climate-change which are also potentially catastrophic problems. These are problems with the structure of our globalized system, etc. Food security, the example Mik gave, is heavily dependent on the fossil fuel driven system we have today. They're creating food abundance by artificial means, and the chemicals involved are both hazardous, poisonous, and sourced from nonrenewable resources (fossil oil reservoirs). A couple years ago the From the Wilderness website posted an article on this - Eating Fossil Fuels (From The Wilderness) (republished on my site due to their lenient copyright). If one focuses ONLY on climate change problems you'll miss out on the solving the bigger picture. For example - replace all the gasoline cars with electric cars and you will not in any way shape or form address the seriously bad traffic problems (grid lock).

..etc.. there's a whole lot of possible doom and gloom stuff you can focus on out there. Put "peak oil" into your favorite search engine and a whole bunch of doom and gloom will come up, some of it crapola, Some of it good.

Instead of focusing on doom and gloom, the Transition Town Initiative is focusing on working towards positive solutions. The general concept is to change things around to have more localized economic activity, localized resources especially food, etc. With strong local resources a town should be more resilient to disruptions in the global economy.

The focus is on rehabilitating your own town. The organization overall is international but each member group is focused on their own town.

There are a number of principles to the initiative that largely come from permaculture. Largely it results in (some of) the people in a town gathering, recognizing the problems, and working together to understand those issues, and how their town could respond or be ready. I think it's also about answering the question of what sort of world culture we really want rather than the globalized corporatized monoculture being imposed upon us. Which again gets back to Mik's statement - not getting hung up on problem X or problem Y or problem Z, but focus on creating the world we want. I think that human beings desire good quality food, good quality air, good quality water, good fun with people they enjoy being with, etc. Maybe all those problems are completely unimportant if we are instead engaged in creating the world we want to live in.

Last seen: 8 years 2 months ago
Joined: Thursday, May 27, 2010 - 16:20
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Re: What the Transition Towns Initiative is about ...

NOTHING in moderation.
-Ernie Kovacs

. . . . but it veered sharply away from the original topic. . . .

Yeah, I think this points to the need in those Transition Towns for moderation. If we had moderators here, going to a topic all their own, say nothing of the abusive behavior, it would all end. Or as Ernie Kovacs would say; “In golf as in life it is the follow through that makes the difference.” Transition Towns will need a moderator more than they need a mayor.

Meanwhile, MiK, there's ingenuity for coming up with solutions, then there's ingenuity for AVOIDING solutions. Like when someone doesn't want to believe that changing current patterns can raise the average temperature of the planet (And someone really have to be ignorant to doubt that) and will just initiate the heaping of abuse on anyone who speaks the truth on that subject. Just to go on quoting Ernie Kovacs; “One of the hardest things to teach a child is that the truth is more important than the consequences."

Addicted to oil? I notice people are far more addicted to their rhetoric, without concern for whether it's true or not. All that talk about "Eating Oil," but not a word about eating oil, such as artificial eggs, Wonderbread and other petroleum products people readily consume that they're thinking are 'Hmm hmmm good.' Dang, next I'll bring up how many animals die in the plowing of the fields growing food for the vegans. (I've brought that up to my friends' wife and her vegan worshippers; much entertainment value there.)

None of that is argumentative. Argumentative is the refusal to recognize any of the truth while demanding the acceptance of the agenda. Can't have a bunch of silly ole' facts get in the way, eh? But how do you think you're going to take away everyone's meat and make them eat the edible parts of Euell Gibbons' pine tree when you can't even keep a discussion on topic, to say nothing of civil and (In some cases here) within human decency? Becoming the change you seek is going to have to be done with MODERATION. Think globally, act locally. (i,e,, on this board.)

So, I can go to the Alt Car Expo this weekend. When I was attending UCLA it was 40 miles each way, I'd say this will be a round trip over 90 miles. 30 miles to a gallon on the freeway in my 375 horsepower Chevy Silverado diesel TRUCK OF THUNDER, let's calculate the effect on the environment. . .

Alt Car Expo

. . . .Or I could just walk to the salute to the very muscle cars that got us into all this.

Legends of the Past


Well, it's been real. (What? ANOTHER Kovacs quote?) Well, he was a great 20th century philosopher, after all.

WHo dares, WINS!!!!

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