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After learning about climate change, peak oil and the inevitable economic instability that follows, I was moved to start a Transition Initiative in my community (Media, PA).

Transition is an international movement founded by the UK's Rob Hopkins (author of The Transition Handbook) to create local, resilient communities that will be able to thrive in the future. Michael Brownlee brought Transition to the US, and was instrumental in the creation of the first Transition Initiative in the US--Transition Boulder, Co. There are now 50 Transition Initiatives in the US.

A Transition Initiative is a community effort to transition from fossil fuels to a sustainable, locally based economy that is able to feed itself and create local jobs. The key idea behind the Transition movement is to help a community become better able to insulate itself from globally driven shocks--whether they're caused by oil prices, climate change or economic instability.

It all starts when a small collection of motivated individuals within a community come together with a shared concern: How can our community respond to the challenges and opportunities of peak oil, climate change and economic instability?”

Our community needs to become relocalized and resilient because:
•Climate change makes it essential
•Peak oil makes it inevitable
•Economic instability makes it necessary

The Transition Initiating Group uses the Transition Model with the intention of engaging a significant number of the people in their community to kick off a Transition Initiative. As awareness is raised, community members begin working together to look peak oil, climate change and economic instability squarely in the eye and address this important question:

For all aspects of life that our community needs in order to sustain itself and thrive, how do we significantly increase resilience* and drastically reduce carbon?

A Transition Initiative goes through a comprehensive and creative process of:
•Raising awareness about the issues of peak oil* and climate change
•Expanding our ability to adapt to change
•Connecting with existing groups in the community
•Building bridges to local government
•Connecting with other transition initiatives
•Forming self-selecting groups to look at all the key areas of life--food, energy, news media, health care, emergency services, economy, education, the arts and transportation.
•Kicking off projects aimed at building people's understanding of resilience, carbon issues, self-sufficiency, financial stability and community engagement
•Eventually launching a community defined, community implemented Energy Descent Action Plan* over a 15 to 20 year timeframe.

This process results in coordinated projects that will drastically reduce the community's carbon footprint and rebuild the resilience we've lost as a result of cheap oil.

The community also recognizes two crucial points:

•We used immense amounts of creativity, ingenuity and adaptability on the way up the energy slope. There's no reason we can’t do the same on the way down.

•If we plan and act together early enough, there's every likelihood we can create a more sustainable lifestyle that is significantly more desirable and more connected with our environment than the oil-addicted, climate abusive and economically irresponsible treadmill that we find ourselves on today.

For more information on Transition Town Media, PA, go to our web site

For information about Transition in the USA (initiated by Michael Brownlee), go to