The “unleashing” of Transition Town Lewes was rather an inspiring event. There were about 400 people in Lewes Town hall, and when I arrived, there was standing room only.
The highlight of the evening was a talk from Rob Hopkins, who gave an account of Peak Oil. I learned that global discovery peaked in 1965; apparently production usually peaks 20-30 years after discovery!
Chris Johnstone gave an interesting session on change (climaxing in the use of a harmonica as an alternative energy source…) a choice which recognised that much of the audience already has the motivation, and reflects the importance of taking action.
What impressed me most about Hopkin’s response (and I haven’t been impressed by responses before) was the focus creating a vision of an abundant post-oil economy. Most commentators seem to focus on the negatives, which leaves the consequences and the alternatives wide open: great if you want to sign people up to your theory, but useless if you want people to cooperate to move things forward.
- trying to visualise a positive vision of an abundant, low energy future (it is possible)
- starting from where we are now, planning the transition to realise it
- setting a realistic timeframe: 10 years to adapt
- capturing local knowledge of the pre-oil (boom) economy
- engaging the challenge as a community: avoiding “them and us”
This last includes engagement in the political process (there’s a planning group for liaison with the council) without being constrained by it: the only way change will happen is if, as a community, we make it happen. Being positive is not about looking forward to the oil running out (some do: Soil Association director Patrick Holden admitted to feeling smug before he met Hopkins, whilst the BNP are ready to make political hay). It’s about being creative and constructive; and making positive choices.