Descending Hubbert's Peak with whipped cream and jalapenos

Transition Voice celebrates its first six months 

Who needs another peak oil website? That was the question in October of last year when Transition Voice launched to become the world's first online magazine focused on peak oil, climate change, the economy and the Transition movement as a response.

Lindsay Curren

What the magazine's co-founders, husband-and-wife team Erik and Lindsay Curren, envisioned was a site that would expand an energy-aware discussion of how to get to a clean economy to a larger audience just when the problems of an economy in overshoot were reaching a critical stage.

Erik Curren

"Even with dozens of websites on peak oil, we thought that something new was needed to reach new people," explains Erik, who serves as publisher. "The issues are serious. But the approach is key. So, on the one hand, we didn't want to be too doomerish and scare people away. On the other, we wanted to be entertaining and provocative, not getting lost in Hubbert curve diagrams or predictions about barrels per day."

Tapping into the talent of the community

During its first six months, Transition Voice published nearly 250 articles by more than 45 authors from North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Pieces included unashamed analysis; book and film reviews; food, beer and fashion columns; perspectives from Christians, Buddhists and secular humanists; and numerous interviews with leading writers, thinkers and activists.

Interviews included human rights activist Bianca Jagger, economist Jeff Rubin, blogger Nicole Foss and authors James Howard Kunstler, Michael Ruppert, John Michael Greer and Richard Heinberg. Transition Voice's discussion with Matt Simmons was one of the investment banker's last media interviews before his death in August, 2010.

"We've been overwhelmed by the generosity of the peak oil community," said Lindsay, the magazine's editor. "Our volunteer writers provide pieces that covered serious issues, from the dire state of climate change or the threat of economic collapse, written in an accessible, engaging style that seems to have resonated with our readers."

Transition Voice

Reaching a new audience

Readers from more than 110 countries have visited Transition Voice, helping the magazine to reach the top 1% of sites on the web, according to the Alexa monitoring service.

To reach a broad audience of smart people concerned about how energy interacts with the environment and the economy, Transition Voice has tried to run articles that are edgy, irreverent and even controversial. Satire has been a big part of its mix, from the "Beck-Hannity-Limbaugh Global Warming Truth Index" to an April Fool's feature about how the magazine was going to be selling out to Big Oil.

Controversies covered by the magazine included apocalyptic fantasies of peak oilers, whether a private company should be allowed to trademark the term "urban homesteading" and the false promises of techno-solutions in the latest Zeitgeist film and implausible or dangerous energy ideas from “clean coal” to hydrofracking natural gas.

After the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Transition Voice published more than a dozen pieces on the situation there with a special focus on the danger from Fukushima and the future of nuclear power worldwide.

And, building on the foundation already laid by the international Transition movement including Transition US, Transition Voice has run pieces ranging from an interview with Transition Network co-founder Rob Hopkins to a review of the Post Carbon Reader to pieces on solutions like the Totnes Energy Descent Plan and ideas from the world of permaculture.

Going local and going political

What's next?

To more deeply serve the Transition community, Transition Voice will be providing a monthly column to Transition US. The magazine also hopes to do the same for the Transition Network. It will continue to run videos from its new partnership with Peak Moment TV like the controversial interview it ran in March from "recovering vegan" Lierre Keith. And the magazine hopes to publish even more edgy, controversial and provocative stories to reach out to an even larger audience and deal with the major roadblocks to creating a clean-energy economy.

"We say that the magazine is non-partisan, but that it is not a-political," says Erik. "As entrenched corporate interests, from Big Oil and Big Coal to the Koch brothers, continue to exert undue influence on Washington, we want to help Transitioners join the growing chorus of voices calling for the political reform that will be needed to make any real progress towards a sane approach to energy in America.”

To that end, building on its partnership with Transition US, the Post Carbon Institute and ASPO-USA on a petition to President Obama to acknowledge the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon spill by giving a national speech on peak oil, Transition Voice will be seeking partnership with organizations that challenge plutocracy and push to get money out of politics.

“Yes, Transition is about positive, local solutions,” says Lindsay. “But no community is an island when it comes to politics and the economy. To make a successful transition from globalization run by coal, oil and nuclear power to energy-sipping local economies run on solar, wind and people power, citizens need to take back our democracy and our country. And we want to help them do it." 

Transition Voice welcomes submissions from Transitioners writing about peak oil, climate change, the economy and other issues of our crazy and interesting times.



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