The recent huge hike in oil prices has made people in developed countries think more deeply about ways to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. One scheme for doing so that has been getting more attention in recent months is the transition-town initiative.
The principle is that people in developed nations are going to have to learn to live with less energy and that it’s better to plan for that in advance rather than suffer the pains of sudden deprivation. The idea is to create community-based schemes that will search out ways to reduce energy consumption. Suggestions include limiting car travel by cycling, walking and using public transport as well as growing your own food and shopping locally to reduce the transport costs that are incurred by supermarkets (an initiative known in the US by the term locavore).
Its instigator is Rob Hopkins, who in 2005 helped create the first two transition towns, in Kinsale in Ireland and Totnes in Devon.
Rob Hopkins, of the Transition Town movement, says it currently has up to 700 communities registering an interest in joining, most from the UK but some as far afield as Australia.
Observer, 15 Jun. 2008
At the heart of it, Transition Towns are about whole communities getting together to support one another, shopping, working and relaxing locally. When the fuels finally do run out there will be no choice, and this way we can all be prepared.
Western Morning News, Plymouth, 10 Jun. 2008