The Transition Trail to Resilience

“The Transition Trail to Resilience” illustrates the steps our local communities can take to transition to living with climate change and shrinking supplies of cheap energy and oil.

I was inspired by first developing “The Permaculture Path to Sustainability” which deals with how individuals and households can transition to a life with a smaller footprint on the earth.

I then wanted to expand these issues to encompass a community wide scope and take on the perspective of the Transition movement.

Several years ago, I was introduced to the transition town concept with the book The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience by Rob Hopkins. I walked around in shock for a few weeks and then fell into denial (I later found out that this is a very common reaction). Recently I was unable to ignore the signs and I rediscovered the movement with their new book The Transition Companion: Making Your Community More Resilient in Uncertain Times also by Rob Hopkins, which really brings alive all the exciting and innovative ideas bouncing around the world.

I enthusiastically joined my local Transition group and then discovered differing levels of awareness. I wanted a way to capture these great ideas and create a clear plan of action for the group.

I started by collating some of the common elements found in a transition town and then I divided them into different categories. The categories are the ones we use in our Transition group (your group may have different ones).

I then sorted the elements out in to levels. Each level reflects an increase in the level of difficulty, commitment and/or expense.

  1. Level 1 is what you may find in a young transition town.
  2. Level 2 are practices and elements found in a more mature transition town.
  3. Level 3 are practices and elements which are found in local communities dedicated to resilience, self-sufficiency, and sustainability. The citizens proudly view their local community as a system.

I love to see concepts come alive as a diagram, so I created a table to illustrate “The Transition Trail to Resilience”:

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3
Building and construction
Business and economy
  • LETS
  • Shop Local campaign
  • Energy Resilience Assessment
  • Credit Unions
  • Energy / carbon audits
  • Locally owned energy-supply companies (ESCOs)
  • Solar power buying group
Food and Gardens
  • Food coop
  • Food swap
  • Garden Share scheme
  • PermaBlitz
  • Seed saving group
  • Organic markets
  • Community orchard
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
  • Land Trust
  • Micro-brewery
Fauna and flora
  •  Bush regeneration
Local learning and education
  • Book club
  • Film nights
  • Reskilling workshops
Our community
  • Newsletter, website, facebook, and twitter
  • Organisation established
  • Community Centre
  • Festival
  •  Car free day
  •  Car share company
  • Plastic bag free campaign
  • Salvaged wood depot
  • Tip Shop

Where is your local community on “The Transition Trail to Resilience”?

Is your local community doing well in one category and neglecting another?

(Note: Health and Water are two other categories our group uses).

One thought on “The Transition Trail to Resilience”

  1. I think this table is well worth doing. We can then think about what the progress steps are.

    Locally we’re working on Step 1 as: getting the local community to have any sort of sense of itself as an actual place-based community (rather than a dormitory area they go out from). Most people don’t even know what is here now, let alone think future. So we’re starting working on developing the idea of place, and what is actually here and happening now. That is huge, but it works from where people ‘are’, and is not nearly as confronting as trying to convince them they should be ‘different’.

    We can feel the sense of place-based local community happening where it didn’t use to exist. So that is definite progress and exciting.

    Step 2 is gradually ‘infiltrating’ radical ideas – ideas about resilience, adaptation, wasting less, building sense of self & achievement around citizenship and giving into the community rather than how much we consume & how much debt we have. Ideas like growing food, finding alternatives to air-conditioners, living local instead of taking endless ocean cruises, aiming for no debt rather than huge debt. We’re not even talking climate change, but we do make a noise about ‘local petrol prices’. We do talk quite a bit about the dangers of population growth & how these translate to immediate losses in carrying capacity & higher prices for utilities.

    In the meantime we keep documenting and documenting local resources. And getting the local community aware of itself and networking and networking within the community so it becomes really connected internally.
    And building a big storehouse of the essential knowledge-base we will all need as resources become scarcer and scarcer.

    And find that we are getting more and more personally connected and know more and more people locally and can make things happen more and more effectively. And life costs very little and generates amazing abundance. This stuff WORKS! Big time.

    Sure we get really frustrated that people don’t all get it immediately, but when we look back at the end of each year we can see the mountain we have climbed that year. It is amazing.

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