Frequently Asked Questions

  • How did the Transition Movement start?

    The Transition movement emerged from the work of Permaculture educator, Rob Hopkins, and his students at the Kinsale Further Education College in Ireland. In early 2005 they created the Kinsale Energy Descent Action Plan, which was later adopted as policy by the Town Council. It was the first strategic community planning document of its kind, and went beyond the issues of energy supply, to look at across-the-board creative adaptations in the realms of food, farming, education, economy, health, and much more.

    After moving back to the UK to complete his doctorate, Rob decided to take the Peak Oil preparation process beyond the classroom and into the community. He started Transition Towns Totnes in early 2006, and it took off like a rocket. It has since spread virally across the world as groups in other communities quickly copied the model and initiated the Transition process in their own locale.

    The Transition Network was established in the UK in late 2006, to support the rapid international growth of the movement. In 2007, increasing high levels of interest in the States led to the launch of Transition US. We were established as a national support network, in partnership with the Transition Network so that we could take on the role of providing co-ordination, support and training to Transition Initiatives as they emerged across the States. The process of “officiating” Transition Initiatives in the States was also handed over to Transition US.

    You can read more about the history here.

  • How can I get involved?

    You can get involved in a number of ways:

    • Read The Transition Handbook and pass it on
    • Go to the Transition websites and share these links with others:,, and
    • Spread the word about why we need Transition and how we can go about creating community resilience while building a better, healthier community in the process
    • Come up with your own good ideas that advance community resilience in your locale
    • Attend a talk on Transition
    • Take one of the Training For Transition workshops so that you can guide your community to resilience, or host a training
    • Make a tax deductible donation to enable us to provide more education, resources and training to help communities build-up their resiliency
    • MOST IMPORTANTLY, support or start a Transition Initiative where you live
  • What are “mullers”? How can I sign up as a muller?

    In addition to the formally designated Transition Initiatives, there are many other communities involved in Transition work. “Mullers” are groups and individuals who are interested in actively using the Transition Model in their communities. If you’ve read the Primer and are “mulling over” whether you might set up an initiative in your locale, contact us!


    Learn more about "mullers" here.

  • What is Transition US’s position on bananas?

    We generally don’t take positions; we encourage you to figure out your own response within the context of your community. Our suggestion is that you focus on rebuilding resilience into your local food systems, using local varieties of produce. If you want the full scoop on the global banana story, go ahead and read the Banana Book.

  • Is Transition affiliated with any political party?

    No, Transition is non-partisan. It seeks to include all members of society in the collaborative development of community resilience.

  • Is Transition a spiritual movement?

    Transition is not a spiritual movement. It is a grassroots, community-led response to peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis. It is interested in unleashing our collective genius in whatever ways that emerge within the community.

  • Are there different types of Transition Initiatives?

    There now appear to be three types of initiatives emerging within the Transition Model here in the United States:

    1. Local Transition Initiative - embedded in its own locale where the steering group inspires and organizes the local community. This is the real heart of "Transition".
    2. Local Transition Hub - based within a large congruent/contiguous area with its own identity (e.g. a city or rural area). The Local Transition Hub helps establish and support "local transition initiatives" within the city or area.
    3. Temporary Initiating Hub - made up of a collection of acquainted individuals who work with each other to help set up "local transition initiatives" in their home communities. As the initiatives arise, the hub gradually disbands.
  • Will the Transition Model work in big cities?

    We certainly hope so. It is still early days in the Transition Movement. We envision that several Transition Initiatives will work together within a given Transition City. In some cases, a Transition hub will emerge first at the city level, with the aim of initiating the growth of smaller Transition initiatives within it. In other cases, the smaller initiatives will emerge first, and the hub will grow from their on-the-ground activities. The city hub’s role is to integrate and co-ordinate smaller, local initiatives and support their activities at a wider scale.

  • How is Transition US funded?

    Transition US is a nonprofit organization that is currently funded through grants and donations. We also receive a nominal amount from fees that participants pay for Transition Trainings.
  • How can we support Transition US?

    You can support Transition US in a number of ways:

    • Spread the word about why we need Transition and how we can create community resilience while building a more vibrant, better and healthier world in the process
    • Remind people to celebrate their achievements along the way
    • Come up with your own good ideas that advance community resilience in your locale
    • Start or support a Transition Initiative where you live
    • Make a tax deductible donation to enable us to provide more education, resources and training to help communities build-up their resiliency
  • Are there Transition materials in other languages?

    The Transition Network has a growing library of materials that have been graciously translated by volunteers around the world.

  • Why do you have criteria for becoming an official Transition Initiative?

    We’ve introduced this formal approach to registering Transition Initiatives for several key reasons:

    • To make sure that communities have a suitable group with the right mindset of people that understand what the process entails.
    • To make sure that while we actively nurture embryonic projects, we promote to "official" status only those communities that are ready to move through the process and that we can support. This status confers additional levels of support from us, such as advice, recommended speakers, training programs, and web site support.
    • We need to know what US-based Transition Initiatives are doing in order to coordinate programs (such as sharing of experiences and best practices between groups, or working on combined funding bids) and to be confident that together we can support and they deliver against such programs.

    The communities that have gone through this initial formal process have agreed that it has enhanced their capacity to build a robust and well-supported initiative.

  • Do groups need to use “Transition” in their name to become official?

    No, groups are not required to adopt “Transition” in their official name. Several groups, particularly those that have been active in their communities for a long time, have chosen to keep their existing names but still identify themselves as Transition Initiatives. Many other groups however, do want to add “Transition” to their names, as it helps identify them with a rapidly growing, exciting, international movement.

  • What is the Cheerful Disclaimer?

    We truly don't know if this will work! Transition is a social experiment on a massive scale. You can read our Cheerful Disclaimer here.

  • What is Peak Oil?

    In a nutshell, peak oil is about fossil fuel depletion. You can read about it on our website here. Another great resource for understanding the issues is Energy Bulletin’s Peak Oil Primer.

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