Author Archives: transitionmeaford

What does community resilience mean?

Resilience is the ability of a system or community to withstand impacts from outside. An indicator is a way of measuring that.

Conventionally, the principal way of measuring a reducing carbon footprint is CO2 emissions. However, we firmly believe that cutting carbon while failing to build resilience is an insufficient response when you’re trying to address both peak oil and climate change.

So how might you be able to tell that the resilience of the settlement in question is increasing?

Resilience indicators might look at the following:

  • percentage of food grown locally
  • amount of local currency in circulation as a percentage of total money in circulation
  • number of businesses locally owned
  • average commuting distances for workers in the town
  • average commuting distance for people living in the town but working outside it
  • percentage of energy produced locally
  • quantity of renewable building materials
  • proportion of essential goods being manufactured within the community within a given distance
  • proportion of compostable “waste” that is actually composted

While some indicators will be universal, many will be place-specific and will emerge from the energy descent plan process.

What is the suggested process for co-creating a resilient and healthy community?

What is the suggested process for co-creating a resilient and healthy community as per the official Transition Town Primer?

Overview of Suggested Process: The community self-organizes to respond in three phases.

Phase I: A small initiating group (Transition Meaford) starts a program of awareness raising and hooking up with existing groups. They articulate the rationale for adopting/adapting a transition approach and show the creative responses that the community might embark upon.

Phase II: As the group becomes larger, it self-organizes in groups in all the key areas such as food, transport, energy, housing, education, textiles etc, and creates practical projects in response to that big question (such as community supported agriculture, car clubs, local currencies, neighbourhood carbon reduction clubs, urban orchards, reskilling classes).

Phase III: Begin to look at Energy Descent planning and the need to rebuild the local economic fabric by starting up local energy companies, social enterprises, and complementary currency systems. There are a number of initiatives in this phase.

What is a Transition Town?

The following information is taken directly from the Transition Town Primer [PDF].

”In response to the twin pressures of Peak Oil and Climate Change, some pioneering communities in the UK, Ireland and beyond are taking an integrated and inclusive approach to reduce their carbon footprint and increase their ability to withstand the fundamental shift that will accompany Peak Oil.

The two toughest challenges facing humankind at the start of this 21st century are Climate Change and Peak Oil. The former is well documented and very visible in the media. Peak Oil, however, remains under the radar for most people. Yet Peak Oil, heralding the era of ever-declining fossil fuel availability, may well challenge the economic and social stability that is essential if we are to mitigate the threats posed by Climate Change. Furthermore, these relocalisation efforts are designed to result in a life that is more fulfilling, more socially connected and more equitable.

But along with community-based transition, each individual needs to evolve away from addiction to oil and a whole raft of ecologically devastating practices, away from the complex web that locks them into the endless growth paradigm.

This will be easier for some than others, but we all have to do it.

And each of us needs to travel closer to a heartfelt understanding that if we want to stay living on Earth, we’ll have to weave ourselves back into the fabric of the planet, and comprehend that the “humans are separate from the earth” duality underpinning our industrialized societies is false, misleading and a one-way ticket to a hell on earth far hotter than we can handle.

THE TRANSITION MODEL – WHAT EXACTLY IS IT?

The Transition Model is a loose set of real world principles and practices that have been built up over time through experimentation and observation of communities as they drive forward to build local resilience and reduce carbon emissions.

There’s more detail on each of these points elsewhere in the Primer, but for the moment, it might help to have the various elements outlined here.

UNDERLYING AWARENESS

Underpinning the Transition Model is a recognition of the following:

  • Climate Change and Peak Oil require urgent action
  • life with less energy is inevitable and it is better to plan for it than be taken by surprise
  • industrial society has lost the resilience to be able to cope with energy shocks
  • we have to act together and we have to act now
  • regarding the world economy and the consumptive patterns within it, as long as the laws of physics apply, infinite growth within a finite system (such as planet earth) simply isn’t possible.
  • we demonstrated phenomenal levels of ingenuity and intelligence as we raced up the energy curve over the last 150 years, and there’s no reason why we can’t use those qualities, and more, as we negotiate our way down from the peak of the energy mountain
  • if we plan and act early enough, and use our creativity and cooperation to unleash the genius within our local communities, then we can build a future that could be far more fulfilling and enriching, more connected and more gentle on the earth than the lifestyles we have today. “