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Transition Network

The Transition Network, founded in 2005, is an international community-led response to global warming and declining oil reserves. The Transition concept first emerged from an ecological design course taught by Rob Hopkins at a college in Ireland. “Transition” Hopkins says, is centered on the idea of building resilience to crisis by “unlocking the collective genius of the community.” It is about local self-sufficiency in food, energy and much more. The group began asking what the future might look like if we get it right, then worked backwards to figure out how to get there.

The first Transition Town was developed in 2006 in Totnes, England, where local residents, led by Hopkins, joined together to grow more local food in community gardens, plan more pedestrian and bike friendly streets, lower their energy use and encourage spending in their local community. This includes creating local currencies— the town of Bristol offers employees the option to take part of their salary in “Bristol Pounds,” to be spent locally, as well as initiatives to get organizations like local hospitals to source food locally.

Since then, Transition Initiatives have sprouted up all over the world from Japan to Brazil to New Zealand to the United States, with thousands of official initiatives in over 34 countries.

The Transition movement is purposefully open-source and decentralized, with each community taking autonomous action but linked to each other through conferences and an online wiki where ideas are exchanged. Individuals send out “pulses of ideas,” which communities then adapt for their own purposes.