The advent of Peak oil and solutions to it are perhaps one of the most critical issues we are facing today. A recent movement has exploded in Britain, transition towns. It began in Kinsale in Ireland with Rob Hopkins who set up the Permaculture college there. They set up the Kinsale Energy descent plan, looking at how their town could make the transition to less oil dependancy over a 20 year time frame. From there Rob went back to Witness in the UK and from there the model has exploded. You can find out whats going on on their WIKI (with translations) and they have set up a fantastic website Transition Culture.
Here is an excellent short video made by —- as part of the Lewes Transition town movement. It was shown in the local cinema of Lewes before all the films. It starts by asking the townspeople what are the causes of climate change and finishes with a rap about how oil is now used for the production of nearly everything we use
Rob Hopkins elaborates on the origins, the growth of and the future of the transition towns movement
How we use oil
· 130kg packaging made from oil-derived plastics is consumed by British households each year. Two-thirds of it is used in food production
· 57miles is the average distance a tonne of freight now travels by road. In 1953 it was 21 miles
· 95% of our food products require the use of oil, and the supply of food accounts for 21% of Britain’s energy use
· 3.5 litres of oil is needed to produce half a kilogram of steak
But there is hope…
To get a feeling for the way this movement is growing, have a look at a typical event organised in Britain, this time Lampeter in West Wales, Pioneering Welsh town begins the transition to a life without oil
It might be fair to say that it is the most progressive eco movement in Britain today, As George Monbiot pointed out (paraphrasing):
This is the only situation where you get so many different sorts of people in the same room working together, Rich old army general types, young single women with their kids, normal working people, DIY punks. Never before would you get such a mix to be in the same room together, let alone working on a project together.
3 radio shows about Transitioning
Transitioning from climate camp to eco villages to transition towns to eco cities
A half hour life radio discussion during climate camp UK 2008. People working with, in or living in eco communities of varying sizes half a loose free flowing conversation.
part 1 – outline some of the principles behind these eco communities
part 2 – now that we have an idea of where we are trying to get to, how do we get there…
Transition town Lewes – climate camp radio (11 minutes)
As part of the recent climate camp UK we made this radio interview with Edwin Cambell about her experiences with the very successful transition town project in her town, Lewes. The recording was made at the front line that existed beside the police, and sometimes riot squad, she outlined the origins and successs of how their project has taken off and what their dreams are.As part of their project a short film was made, which was shown in the local cinema before all films.
This audio recording was broadcast live on our BOLD internet radio and is a discussion with David Neavyn and Alan Clayton from Europes first Permaculture course in Kinsale about the idea of transition towns and eco initiaves in the southern Irish town of Kinsale, half hour talk, nice interview, big shout out to Cathie for assisting so much.
How Cuba did it, UK is doing it and how BCN might soon be doing it
One of the films nearly always used on how we can make the change is learning from the experiences of Cuba, when it experienced its own sort of peak oil crisis due to the fall of the Soviet Bloc in 1989:
The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil (full film-53 min)
And from Havana, which now supplies 60% of its own fruit and veg, to the UK city of Middlesborough. Last year saw an amazing food production experiment there that resulted with a communal meal for 6000 people outside the local art gallery. Keep up do date with these greenfingers on their DOTT07 blog (Designs of the time)
An excellent article in the Guardian entitled Urban jungle asked;
Andre Viljoen ( a designer of urban spaces ,and author of CPUL`S, who worked on the Middlesbrough project, ) believes that the multi-layered benefits of urban farming make it a timely idea. He said “We need to start thinking about food production being part of a city’s infrastructure – like roads.”
In Barcelona EIG (eco intelligent growth) put together a paper, Towards a healthier, happier, eco-effective Barcelona alongwith GEF discussion, which proposed much of these features being applied to this city. A key strategy for the cities transition is a greenway plan accompanied with a series of CPUL, food production zones, community gardens and more.
And from there?
We will be talking about Transition towns as well as other eco trends growing in the UK and Northern Europe at our gathering in la Teixadora tonight, more info on current post: Whats all this Climate Camp stuff then?
The APSO international Conference 2008 on Peak Oil is happening in Barcelona next week and a Peak Oil open day is being organised for Wednesday 22nd of October during which we will visit some local inner city community gardens and hopefully show some or all of the Cuba film
Tiempos de Transición
“Estamos asistiendo a un fenómeno que está tomando una dimensión cada vez más amplia en respuesta a los retos del Pico del Petróleo y del Cambio Climático: los “hijos gemelos” de los hidrocarburos. Se trata de las iniciativas positivas y constructivas que muchas personas, alrededor del mundo, están empezando a tomar para transformar aquello que la gran mayoría ve aun como un problema en una solución, bajo el nombre de Transition Towns (Pueblos en Transición).“
Heres a cluster map from 17n’08 of who and where in the world is checking out the TT ideas,