Review

The Transition Handbook

Brainfood, How-to, Inspiration

The Transition Handbook

Product details

Product name: The Transition Handbook: Creating Local, Sustainable Communities Beyond Oil Dependency (Australian and NZ Edition)

Reviewer: Kate Arneman

Author: Rob Hopkins

Publisher: Finch

Price: $34.95

G Rating:

5

The Transition Network is a relatively recent response to the twin challenges of climate change and peak oil.

UK permaculture teacher, author and co-founder of the movement, Rob Hopkins, argues that international, national and local efforts to cut carbon emissions are simply not enough to prepare society for the coming decades.

Equally important, he says, is recognising that "we are as energy-rich a society today as we're ever likely to be", and that renewable energy sources, while highly important and full of potential, will not be able to provide the same levels of energy to which we have become accustomed with access to cheap, abundant fossil fuels.

The Transition Network has aimed to build resilient communities that can handle the changes that reduced access to energy will bring; to envision and work towards a future where regions have a greater capacity to support themselves with local produce, resources and employment rather than relying on imports.

At the time of writing this review, the www.transitionnetwork.org website listed 170 official Transition Initiatives underway throughout Europe, North America, Australasia and Japan, with another 600 communities currently corresponding with the network about the possibility of starting their own initiative.

The Transition Handbook is an ambitious resource that begins by setting out the background to the movement. It then profiles a number of Transition Initiatives in the UK, New Zealand and Australia (where there are 15 official intiatives to date).

There is also a guide to starting your very own Transition Initiative, complete with practical tips on running productive meetings, working with local councils, business and other environmental groups and attracting media coverage.

As well as to the practical hands-on content, the author acknowledges the barriers to change and the difficulties of engaging people with what are often presented as gloomy and depressing topics.

One of the chapters looks at the way research into addiction and the psychology of change can be applied and throughout the book there is a strong emphasis on the importance of generating creative solutions and positive visions of a future that is "energy-lean, time-rich, less stressful, healthier and happier."

This is a thoroughly researched analysis of some of the challenges we face as a society and an introduction to a path forward to a surprisingly abundant future.

The text is referenced extensively and is complemented by a large number of pictures and graphs as well as comprehensive resource lists for further reading.

Printed on PEFC-certified paper by an FSC-certified printer.

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