Monday, February 01, 2010

Change is in the air (and in your garden, your route to work, your community)

In Frankie Colmane's article "How Can We Talk About Transformational Change Without Losing Hope?" she references Rob Hopkins' Transition initiative, and his ideas on gently walking with people through the necessary changes of our world as we walk, garden and grow our way out of our oil dependency.

Reading about the trauma people can suffer from sudden change in lifestyle, I recognize that I'm not exactly average, in fact, I've been a change junkie. I've sold my car to move overseas. I've moved apartments on average once a year. I specifically look for jobs that have an end in sight, so the Sagittarius in me can move on in search of those greener pastures. But I acknowledge that not everyone lives in this way, and in fact, I've grown quite comfortable in my apartment of almost three(!) years. But I've also easily adapted to living with no car, the time it takes to walk to the bus or subway, the community you build by traveling in such close proximity to fellow humankind. I can't wait to pick up The Transition Handbook, to read about the best ways to embrace more change and live more local lives.

"If 'The Head' portion of Rob Hopkins' book, The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience, educates people on the combined effects of climate change and peak oil in our lives, 'The Heart' advocates the importance of compassionately leading people into an uncertain future. Influenced by Richard Heinberg's book Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World, Hopkins uses recent events like the 2000 UK truck drivers' dispute to make his point that without oil the country was "a day away from food rationing and civil unrest." He cites psychologists D.D. Winter and S.M. Kroger who in their book The Psychology of Environmental Problems, warn that 'Damaged trust can lead to four neurotic reactions: narcissism, depression, paranoia, and compulsion.' Hopkins argues a nation suffering from what he calls "Post Petroleum Stress Disorder" will not be able to cope with uncertainty. Hopkins advocates addiction recovery methods to help wean ourselves off of oil dependency (no wonder his plan has 12 steps), reclaim our well-being and a sense of control over our lives.

"...After conducting their Community Oil Vulnerability Audit, Transition members in Totnes, guided by Hopkins, drafted an Energy Descent Action Plan, a modern-day Declaration of Independence. The first EDAP was concocted by Hopkins in Kinsale, Ireland, in 2005. The Gourmet Capital of Ireland, '90% of the food consumed within Kinsale comes from outside the area,' he writes. The plan looks at Kinsale's current state of oil dependency, then fleshes out in intricate detail an optimum vision of what Kinsale should be in 20 years and outlines the practical steps to achieve it. Flash forward to 2021 and 'all landscaping in the town comprises of edible plants, fruit trees line the streets, all parks and greens have become food forests. Lawns are a thing of the past.' Kinsale has its own currency and is in a position to independently fund local community services and initiatives, has car-sharing clubs and ride-sharing bulletin boards, alternative and conventional medicine for all and from underachieving and bored, youth has become 'empowered, skilled and focused.'"

~Frankie Colmane (Read the full story here.)

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