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.