A call to transition to a post-oil world
In phase 2, questions of setting up an office, hiring staff, financing the movement and local food initiatives come into play. This is the phase where practical projects begin to take fruition, demonstrating to the community that action is taking place. A noteworthy highlight of this phase is “re-skilling”: the process of educating the community to gain skills such as growing food, the conducting of repairs of all types, maintaining renewable energy systems, conflict resolution and effective communication, canning, jarring, etc. -- skills for a post-oil world. There is also a large celebration called the ‘unleashing’, which is usually a weekend event to officially embrace the movement community-wide.
Phase 3 and 4 – Connecting and Building
Phase 3 and 4 move into a new level and caliber of the movement. In these phases, a community can see structural shifts in their operations, such as implementing a locally owned renewable energy company, large scale local food cooperatives or businesses beginning to test pilot a local ‘complimentary’ currency. In addition, part of the movement is to branch out to surrounding communities, and begin the process of establishing larger ‘regional’ transition frameworks.
The Energy Descent Action Plan (EDAP) is another defining aspect of Transition that occurs within these phases. There is other literature regarding the creation of the plan, but essentially through a series of facilitated community events, and over a period of 1-2 years, residents ‘dream up’ the sustainable and resilient community they wish to see in the future. Residents then ‘back cast’ the steps from the future to now to highlight the practical, tangible steps towards that vision. In order to ensure that everyone is on board, stakeholders sign agreements to meet benchmarks and to actively follow and promote the plan. Thus there is full ownership, inclusion and diversity over the process, where traditionally community plans are created by a handful of individuals – which usually translates into a comfortable resting spot on a bookshelf. Those pre-existing documents would not be abolished, but rather, integrated into the new plan. Many of the EDAPs are beautifully designed, with graphical timelines into the future and entice people to read them.
Phase 5 – Daring to dream
Phase 5 is ‘moving to new frontiers’ and setting up policies at higher levels to support Transition on a larger, global scale.
For example, one way to quickly accelerate a global Transition off the infinite growth system and fossil fuel economy is to abolish the GDP and replace it with a ‘Transitional’ economic indicator such as the GPI (Genuine Progress Indicator). The GPI has 67 different measurements, as opposed to the GDP which has one measurement: the follow of money in the form of goods and services produced each year. It must grow 3.5 per cent each year, otherwise we are in ‘recession’ – and we simply cannot grow 3.5 per cent every year indefinitely in a finite system of resources.
To use a real world example, the clean-up for the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 accounted for 1 per cent of the American GDP that year, simply because it created many jobs for clean-up. But did it really measure the true cost of that situation? Alternatively, if we had the GPI in place, which uses the same data as the GDP and can be plotted on the same graph, we would have measured that as a negative impact to our economy. So the function of the GPI is to plus and minus different aspects of development to reflect true human and planetary needs – and illustrate to us the true cost of economic growth. Implementing it would be the first step to re-defining what growth means to us.
This is one example of a larger ‘policy’ that could be implemented to help coordinate the psychology of global affairs.
So what are you waiting for? Anyone can start a Transition Initiative and become part of a global movement that is quickly on its way to defining the early 21st Century.
For more information:
Village Vancouver – Official Transition ‘Hub’ for the Vancouver Area
Canadian Center for Community Renewal (ad hoc ‘Transition Canada’ until established)