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A Visit to Titusville: Building Resilient Communities

A Visit to Titusville: Building Resilient Communities

The University of Pittsburgh recently invited me to their Titusville, PA campus to speak about the Transition Towns movement.I chose the theme of creating communities that have the resiliency to withstand the inevitable challenges of this century. I met with three classes, had lunch with student leaders, made a public presentation that was well-attended and interactive, and spoke with community leaders.

Titusville, where the oil industry began, is today a small, shrinking town in search of its future. It is fairly representative of small and mid-sized communities across the country. Like many, it has the potential to become a more resilient community if it chooses.

My message is one that Transition Centre has adhered to for nearly a decade. Below you will find the core principles of that presentation.

A bit of background: Transition Centre was modeled on Transition Towns. There are a number of popular options for developing a more sustainable community, but the TT model, as found in The Transition Handbook, had some attractive features. The key ideas were: local, grassroots, and community resiliency.

In 2009, we formed Transition Centre as an unofficial Transition Towns hub. In 2010, we formed two formal local Transition Town initiatives. In partnership with other organizations, we made a number of presentations in Pennsylvania and neighboring states. What is our model?

  • Localization: Our problems may be on a global scale, but we embraced the motto: “Think globally, act locally.” In fact, we can only act at the level we can understand and solve our problems. That is our own community, our home place. One by one, a thousand points of light bring us out of darkness.

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