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 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.


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. “
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