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Transition Towns, Re-localisation, COVID-19 and the Fracking Industry.

Transition Towns, Re-localisation, COVID-19 and the Fracking Industry.

The vulnerabilities of the global village and its economy have been laid bare by the assault of the coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2), which has led to a pandemic of the infectious disease, COVID-19. The mobility chains that enable the flow of civilization are now substantially truncated, with collapsing demand for transportation fuels – and crude oil, from which they are refined – leading Russia, Saudi and other OPEC countries to agree on combined production cuts of 10 million barrels a day, even though demand might have fallen by 30 million barrels a day. It remains an open question how soon, or if at all, everything will get back to normal, when arguably, it is “normal” that has brought this current situation upon us, as yet another element of a changing climate. The broad reach of the expanding global mechanism both invades previously uncharted terrains and ecosystems, and provides vectors for the transmission of contagion. Thus, the relentless rise of a resource-intensive civilization and its highly mobile population carries many potential dangers. 

The need for re-localisation, in the anticipation of Peak Oil, leading to waning supplies of cheap transportation fuel, was a founding tenet of the Transition Towns (TT) movement. However, this motivation appeared to lose some of its urgency, once a flood of oil entered the market, largely as exhumed from shale by the procedure of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). Indeed, a few years ago, TT-HQ asked itself the question, “Does so much cheap oil mean peak oil as an argument is now over?” In fact, the production of conventional crude oil has remained on a plateau since 2005, while 71% of subsequent growth in the production of “oil” has been provided by shale hydrocarbons; hence, we may anticipate that any stalling of the fracking industry will begin to restrict the overall global oil supply. 

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This currency is designed to benefit the local community

This currency is designed to benefit the local community

This article was adapted from our latest book, “Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons.” Download your free pdf copy today.

The Brixton district in South London’s Lambeth borough has been a bastion of progressive thought and culture for decades. After the financial crisis of 2008, local businesses were struggling and had trouble securing loans from banks. An area that had once thrived began to stumble.

The Brixton Pound (B£) was launched in 2009 by Transition Town Brixton to support local businesses with a local currency that would “stick to Brixton.” The founders of the B£ wanted to create a mutual support system tying residents to local businesses and encouraging business to source locally.

The local borough government, Lambeth Council, was supportive of the B£ from the beginning. It recognized the local currency as a way to develop the community, build local economic resilience, and draw positive attention to the area. According to B£ Communications Manager, Marta Owczarek, “The council’s support has greatly helped the B£ start and develop — it would have been very difficult to do what we did without that support. In particular, it acted as a guarantee that the scheme was trustworthy, so local business owners and residents alike felt secure in exchanging their money into and accepting the brand-new local currency.”

Within the first six months of the launch of the B£, Lambeth conducted research that estimated the media coverage of the currency generated by the B£ volunteers was worth half a million pounds to the area.

Since 2012, the B£ has “been a live part of the Co-operative Council, working alongside the policy team,” according to Owczarek. As a result, the B£ has been able to play an active role in supporting the community while receiving council support. The B£ helped set up community spaces like the Impact Hub in the Town Hall.

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10 Stories of Transition in the US: The Evolution of Transition Town Media

10 Stories of Transition in the US: The Evolution of Transition Town Media

The following story is the fourth installment in a new series we’re calling “10 Stories of Transition in the US.” Throughout 2018, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Transition Movement here in the United States, we will explore 10 diverse and resilient Transition projects from all over the country, in the hope that they will inspire you to take similar actions in your local community.

For more information about Transition, please visit www.TransitionUS.org/Transition-101Click here to view other stories in this series that have already been published, and here to subscribe to the Transition US newsletter if you’d like to be notified of additional stories as they become available.

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When Aleisa Myles attended a talk on permaculture in 2010, hosted by Transition Town Media, she immediately knew that she had found an initiative she could get behind. The discussion that followed that event helped her to understand how the principles of permaculture could be applied to local communities in order to build greater resilience and sustainability. Since then, Myles and her fellow Transition Town Media members have helped to make it one of the most robust and successful Transition Initiatives in the United States.

“There was, and has been, throughout Transition Town Media’s many events and projects, a sense of possibility and aliveness in people taking bold ideas and putting them into action right in our town for the benefit of all,” explains Myles. “I found that, early on, everyone was welcomed to step in and be a collaborator. No matter the size of the group in any meeting or event, the energy was infectious.”

Sari Steuber says she joined the initiative in 2008 because it appealed to her desire to find like-minded people with whom she could work on a big, all-encompassing cause. Recently retired, the articles she was reading about fossil fuel depletion, climate change, and economic instability left her feeling thoroughly depressed, scared, and hopeless.

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Collaboration and changing beliefs are two keys for a degrowth economy

Collaboration and changing beliefs are two keys for a degrowth economy

Brazil is an amazing country, full of natural richness and blessed with many beauties. It has, however, a terrible sin on his shoulders: the thought that everything has to be done in a different, shorter, and faster way – in a way that takes advantage of everything. This is also why Brazil is currently undergoing a huge economic and political crisis, particularly reflected by the lack of confidence of our people in our government. At the same time, this is precisely what makes people overthink their values, and so a silent revolution is happening.

I work with the Transition Town Movement in Brazil from the moment it has started in our country. Being one of the people who brought it here, I feel like a witness of how its seeds are growing and how we start thinking about another way of living that is more sustainable and resilient.

In the early times of the movement we talked a lot about peak oil and climate change and about how we can degrow our consumption and stop climate change. Today, however, with the passing of the years and the growth of the movement, we feel that one of the biggest contributions of the movement to our society is incentivizing cooperation between people and encouraging creativity to find solutions to these problems.

This collaboration is even creating new ways of doing business in Brazil, the “collaborative economy” or “reconomy” where growth and consumption are not the highest priority, but the pursuit of a meaningful and much happier life. In the light of this, there are suddenly many beautiful business proposals around where collaboration and not consumption is the key to this new way of living. Some of these innovative business ideas I would like to share with you here.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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