Recommended Reading

Recommended Readings

Hopkins, R. (2008) The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience, Chelsea Green Publishing.

Heinberg, R. (2007) Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines, New Society Publishing.

Holmgren, D. (2003) Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, Holmgren Design Services.

Homer-Dixon, T. (2003) The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilisation, Souvenir Press.

Strahan, D. (2007) The Last Oil Shock: A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man, John Murray Publishing.

Trainer, T. (2007) Renewable Energy Cannot Sustain a Consumer Society, Springer Verlag.

photo The Transition Handbook Discussion Course
Sustainable NE Seattle has released an updated version of their six-week discussion course based on The Transition Handbook, and have made the course available to other Transition Initiatives who want to offer it to their own members. Structured as six sessions of two hours each, the course is a great way to introduce your members to the concepts of Transition. Read more.

Peak Oil

Campbell, C.J. and Laherrere, J. (1998). ‘The End of Cheap Oil’, Scientific American, Vol. 278, No. 3. pp.78-83.

Deffeyes, K.S. (2005) Beyond Oil : The View from Hubbert’s Peak, Hill and Wang.

Heinberg, R. (2006) The Oil Depletion Protocol: A Plan to Avert Oil Wars, Terrorism and Economic Collapse, Clairview Books.

Hirsch, R.L., Bezdek, R. Wendling, R. (2005a.) Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts,Mitigation and Risk Management, National Energy Technology Laboratory, US Department of Energy.

Hirsch, R.L. (2005b.) ‘Supply and Demand. Shaping the peak of world oil production’, World Oil, October 2005.

Kunstler, J.H. (2005) The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the 21st Century, Atlantic Monthly Press.

Leggett, J. (2005b.) Half Gone: oil, gas, hot air and the global energy crisis, Portobello Books.

Climate Change

Dow, K. and Downing, T.A. (2006) The Atlas of Climate Change, Earthscan Books.

Goodall, C. (2007) How to Live a Low-Carbon Life.The Individual’s Guide to Stopping Climate Change, Earthscan.

Henson, R. (2006) The Rough Guide to Climate Change: the symptoms, the science, the solutions, Rough Guides, London.

Monbiot, G. (2007) Heat: how to stop the planet burning, Penguin Books.

Energy Descent / Transitions

Abdullah, S. (1999) Creating a World That Works For All, Berrett-Koehler.

Bates, A. (2007) The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook: Recipes for Changing Times. New Society Publishers.

Brand, S. (1999) The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility, Phoenix Press.

Gladwell, M. (2000) The Tipping Point: how little things can make a big difference, Abacus.

Hopkins, R. (2007) Energy Descent Pathways: evaluating potential responses to peak oil. An MSc dissertation for the University of Plymouth. Available from

Korten, D.C. (2006) The Great Turning: from Empire to Earth Community, Berett-KoehlerPublishers.

Odum, H.T. & Odum, E.C. (2001) A Prosperous Way Down: principles and policies, University Press of Colorado.

Walker, B & Salt, D. (2006) Resilience Thinking: sustaining ecosystems and people in a changing world, Island Press.

Winter, M. (2006) Peak Oil Prep: three things you can do to prepare for peak oil, climate change and economic collapse, Westsong Publishing.

Thriving Beyond Sustainability: Pathways to a Resilient Society 
by AndrĂ©s R. Edwards with Foreword by Bill McKibben (New Society Publishers, 2010) 

Thriving Beyond Sustainability draws a collective map of individuals, organizations and communities from around the world that are committed to building an alternative future - one that strives to restore ecological health, reinvent outmoded institutions and rejuvenate our environmental, social and economic systems.  The projects and initiatives profiled are meeting the challenges of the day with optimism, hope and results, leading the way in: relocalization, green commerce, ecological design, environmental conservation, social transformation. (read more)


Permaculture Design

Holmgren, D. (2004) Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, Holmgren Design Press. Quite simply the best book of the past 15years.

Mollison, B. (1988) Permaculture: a Designers Manual, Tagari Press.

Whitefield, P. (2000) Permaculture in a Nutshell, Permanent Publications.

Whitefield, P. (2005) The Earth Care Manual, Permanent Publications.

Also highly recommended is a subscription to Permaculture Magazine ( and to The Permaculture Activist (


Heart & Soul

Find Your Power: A Toolkit for Resilience & Positive Change
by Dr Chris Johnstone with Foreword by Rob Hopkins (Permanent Publications, 2010)

With a background in medicine, psychology and groupwork, Dr. Chris Johnstone is a specialist in the psychology of positive change. After working for many years as an addictions specialist in the UK health service, he now focuses on teaching, training and writing. Chris has been active in the Transition movement, contributing to a chapter on the psychology of change in The Transition Handbook - see Rob Hopkins' recent interview with Chris.

World As Lover, World As Self: Courage for Global Justice and Ecological Renewal
by Joanna Macy, Parallax Press, 2007.

Weaving together the Buddhist principle of dependent co-arising with deep ecology, Macy offers a blueprint for positive social change and for reversing the destructive attitudes that have brought us to the brink of extinction. This collection includes new thinking that guides Joanna Macy's work, along with favorite portions of the original book, all freshly rewritten.

Pass it On: Five Stories that Can Change the World
by Joanna Macy, Parallax Press, 2010.

Joanna shares five stories from her more than 30 years of studying and practicing Buddhism and deep ecology. Gathered on her travels to India, Russia, Australia, and Tibet, these stories testify to Joanna Macy’s belief that either humankind awakens to a new and deeper understanding of our interconnectedness with its planet or risks losing it.


Food, Gardening and Growing

Ableman, M. (1998) On GoodLand: The Autobiography of an Urban Farm, ChronicleBooks.

Bartholemew, M. (2006) All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!, CoolSprings Press.

Jeavons, J. (2005) How to grow more vegetables than you ever thought possible on less land than you can imagine, Ten Speed Press.

Heinberg, R. & Bomford, M. (2009) The Food and Farming Transition: Toward a Post Carbon Food System. Post Carbon Institute.

Whitefield, P. (1996) How to Make a ForestGarden, Permanent Publications.

Larkcom, J. (1998) Grow Your Own, Frances Lincoln.

Guerra, M. (2005) The EdibleContainerGarden: Fresh Food from Tiny Spaces, Gaia Books.

Lucas, C, Jones, A.& Hines, C. (2007) Fuelling a Food Crisis: the impact of peak oil on food security.

A free download from

Rethinking Economics

Douthwaite, R. (1996) Short Circuit: strengthening local economies for security in an unstable world, Green Books.

Douthwaite, R. (1999) The Growth Illusion: How Economic Growth Has Enriched the Few, Impoverished the Many and Endangered the Planet,Green Books.

Fleming, D. (2005) Energy and the Common Purpose: descending the energy staircase with Tradable Energy Quotas, Lean Connection Press, London.

Greco, T. (2001) Money: understanding and creating alternatives to legal tender, Chelsea Green Publishing.

Lietaer, B. (2001) The Future of Money: creating new wealth, work and a wiser world, Century.

Perkins, J. (2005) Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Ebury Press/Berret-Koehler.

Simms, A. (2005) Ecological Debt: The Health of the Planet and the Wealth of Nations, Pluto Press.


Cavanagh, J. & Mander, J. (2004) Alternatives to Economic Globalisation: a better world is possible, Berrett-Koehler.

Ekins, P. (1989) Towards a New Economics: on the theory and practice of self reliance, Routledge.

Goldsmith, E. & Mander, J. (eds) (2001) The Case Against the Global Economy and For a Turn Towards Localisation, Earthscan.

Hines, C. (2000) Localisation: A Global Manifesto, Earthscan.

Norberg-Hodge, H. (2002) Bringing the Local Economy Home: Local Alternatives to Global Agribusiness, Zed Books.

Sale, K. (1980) Human Scale, Coward, McCann & Geoghegan.

Shuman, M. (2000) Going Local: creating self reliant communities in a global age, Routledge.

Woodin, M. & Lucas, C. (2004) Green Alternatives to Globalisation: a manifesto, Pluto Press.



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