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Transition Towns – the process

By the Transition Carrboro group, Carrboro, NC

What is a Transition Town?

“Transition Carrboro is a group of individuals and organizations crafting a positive local future that meets our needs within the context of the twin challenges of climate change and the end of cheap oil.

We mobilize the community to make positive changes that address the challenges of peak oil and climate change, increase local resilience, strengthen community, and contribute to our health and happiness.  We want to see processes, institutions, and infrastructure that are not dependent on a continuous supply of cheap oil.  We will get specific about these changes with a community-created Energy Descent Action Plan.  We recognize and honor the amazing work done and being done by community groups already existing, and hope to work together with these groups. We believe that rapid change is urgently needed and that we cannot wait for it to come from above.  We believe that such change will come when the community is aware, motivated, and empowered.

Our process is based on the framework of Transition Town Initiatives, set out in The Transition Handbook, by Rob Hopkins.    Some things that are uniquely useful about this approach to making change:

•    It is a positive, collective vision for something rather than a negative struggle against something.  There should be lots to celebrate!
•    It is comprehensive in nature; it can identify aspects of our community that need more energy/activism, and there’s room for everyone’s interests & skills
•    It is a unification of many people/groups towards an end goal (manifested in part by an Energy Descent Action Plan and its implementation)
•    It doesn’t forget to address people’s psychological needs as they awake to the reality of the environmental crisis & peak oil

Here’s how the process looks, approximately:

1. The steering committee does the legwork for consciousness-raising events such as film screenings and discussions on peak oil, climate change, and other pertinent issues.  We will also try to get to know as many groups in town as possible and ally or partner with those that are interested in our efforts.
2.  We will hold a Great Unleashing, the official launch of the Transition Initiative, and generate energy among community members for participation in the process via open space (group brainstorming) days and action groups around various topics like energy, food, transportation, housing, health, etc.
3.  Action groups will meet to discuss and execute projects, as well as get detailed about how their area fits into the community’s Energy Descent Action Plan.
4. We will hold (or collaborate with existing groups for) re-skilling workshops to re-equip ourselves for a more locally resilient future.
5. We will work with local government.  We will honor our elders by hearing what they have to say about a more locally resilient past.  We will let Transition Carrboro go where it wants to go.
6. We will create and implement an Energy Descent Action Plan.
7. We’ll remember to celebrate the progress we are making!

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