Local resilience to peak oil and climate change

Last night I went to the film. The film night and the discussion afterwards was organised by the Transition Town Vallei, a new ngo which started in June this year. Wageningen and its surrounding villages is not the only place with a Transition Town initiative. They are mushrooming all over the Netherlands at the moment. The movement which is now taking off, started in Totnes, the UK:

“It all starts off when a small collection of motivated individuals within a community come together with a shared concern: how can our community respond to the challenges, and opportunities of Peak Oil and Climate Change?”

The Transition Town website gives a guide for how to set up a Transition Town initiative, how to raise awareness around peak oil and climate change, how to connect with existing community groups, how to work with local government and how to come eventually to a “energy descent action plan” which increases the resilience of local community for times when energy is not such a self evident fact of life.

In Wageningen, we are at the awareness raising stage. We watched the film The Power of Community, How Cuba Survived Peak Oil. I can recommend this film to anyone remotely interested in the energy debate, the way forward with sustainability or more specific, the transition to local and organic food systems. After the initial shock and hunger, the Cubans massively started to farm on every square meter available. Tractors had become obsolete and the generation that still knew how to work with an ox trained a new generation. Without machinery, the conventional scale was untenable, which led to new systems of land distribution and a decentralisation of land ownership. Without chemical help, techniques of soil rehabilitation, worm composting, crop rotation, mixed planting and permaculture were adopted to “work with nature instead of against it”. “We call that ‘lazy agriculture’” somebody in the film explained. That should appeal to us all I would think.

Composting at Red hook farm NY

Composting at Red Hook urban farm NY

2 thoughts on “Local resilience to peak oil and climate change

  1. Kia ora Petra and Europe from Middle Earth!

    just to let you know that Transition Town initiatives exist too downunder – at the opposite side of the planet. It truly is a global change movement. It is vibrant and it needs to be vibrant to respond to the enormous environmental, economic and social challenges arising from climate change, resource depletion and an economy based on growth. Recent movies like ‘The Age of the Stupid’, ‘Home’ and ‘A Sea Change – Imagine a World without Fish’ are evidence-based and they present the plain truth about the state of the earth and global society.

    The changes that are needed won’t come from ‘the top’, only few high-level decision-makers have realised that more substantial changes are required, and try to do better. The changes needed will mainly need to come from grassroots movements such as Transition Towns.

    We need to trust that communities and civil society organisations have within themselves the innovation and ingenuity to create positive solutions to the severe crises that we are facing.

    More on Transition Towns Aotearoa – New Zealand at: http://www.transitiontowns.org.nz/

    The website contains lots of resources and starting points for global alliances and global action.

    Thanks for starting this discussion on the Rural Sociology blog Petra!


    (karlheinz.knickel mfe.govt.nz)

  2. Petra Glad that the movie / meeting inspired you – that you are building a global readership and TTs are taking off ‘Down under’ too..

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