Climate change says we should change
whereas peak oil says we will be forced to change.

-- Rob Hopkins


Here in the U.S., the film "An Inconvenient Truth" made awesome strides in informing the general public about the reality of global warming.  The April 2007 Step It Up campaign got people in 1,400 U.S. sites involved in activism.  This month's campaign  will advance public awareness in two ways:  Firstly, the Oct 2009 Day of Action is unfolding internationally, so it is an opportunity for citizens in non-U.S. countries to get involved, and secondly, it informs the general public about the target, the end goal.

On Friday, September 25th, several people active in Transition initiatives participated in a conference call to discuss funding issues for Transition. Participants included Transition US executive director Carolyne Stayton, Judith Katz, Linda Ellinor, Kit Miller, Niels-Michael Langenborg, and me.

Here’s a story from this morning’s NPR that grabbed my attention and reminded me that I have a constructive solution for this sort of thing. 

Apparently a Wells Fargo executive was disciplined for throwing lavish parties in a $12 million beach house the bank had recently foreclosed upon. The previous owners of the mansion had lost their fortune in the Madoff debacle.

My stomach turned and I felt a wave of nausea.

 My thoughts went like this:

In a conversation with a neighbor today, I learned that kiwi from New Zealand is cheaper than kiwi from California. My neighbor was wondering how that could be the case. Earlier we had been lamenting that the workers from our neighborhood’s landscaping company do not know (or care?) how to properly prune bushes. We understand that you get what you pay for when it comes to landscaping. Could that be the same for kiwi? 

The Totnes pound has captured the attention of Transition initiatives worldwide.  But local currencies aren't the only way of sharing finances within communities.  There are time banks, LETS systems, barter, plus a whole realm of alternative sharing arrangements -- many of which are quite easy to set up and implement. 

One pressing issue for Transition communities has been the question of local food and sustainable agriculture. As Transition has its roots in the permaculture movement, we envision Transition agriculture as not only organic, but in harmony with principles of permaculture.

I'm a fashion magazine editor, and I've been mulling how I will make the transition from my current life -- which involves producing nothing more concrete than articles (some of them quite frivolous) and which is firmly entrenched in the rhythms of suburban/urban America -- to a lower-energy, higher-resilience existence. It's exciting to contemplate but it's also daunting, as basically no one around me has heard of Transition or Peak Oil. And I live in a relatively enlightened suburb of New York City! 

The "12 Steps" (or "12 Guidelines") to Transition encourage us to form bridges to local government.  But sometimes government drops opportunity right in our laps. 

Last week, in response to a governor's order, California issued a "Climate Adaptation Strategy" in draft form for public comment.  Catch that last part:  for public comment.  They're asking for our opinion on it.  They want to hear from us. 

ALL of us.


Transition Conference Participants 09

I’m finally back from an exhausting and exciting whirlwind trip to London where I attended the 2009 Transition Network conference. The venue was the Battersea Arts Center, an impressive stone building with a long history of social change.

Last night I went to a special screening of The Age of Stupid at the San Francisco Film Festival. I had read the UK reviews, and been impressed by the media coverage.

"Fantastic. Knocks spots off An Inconvenient Truth." The Ecologist magazine. "The first succesful dramatisation of climate change to hit the big screen." The Guardian. "Bold, supremely provocative, and hugely important". The Telegraph.

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