Transition Town Principles

Transition principles 

1. Positive Visioning - We can only create what we can first vision

  • If we can’t imagine a positive future we won’t be able to create it.
  • A positive message helps people engage with the challenges of these times.
  • Change is happening – our choice is between a future we want and one which happens to us.
  • Transition Initiatives are based on a dedication to the creation of tangible, clearly expressed and practical visions of the community in question beyond its present-day dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Our primary focus is not campaigning against things, but rather on positive, empowering possibilities and opportunities.
  • The generation of new stories and myths are central to this visioning work.

 2. Help People Access Good Information and Trust Them to Make Good Decisions 

  • Transition Initiatives dedicate themselves, through all aspects of their work, to raising awareness of peak oil and climate change and related issues such as critiquing economic growth. In doing so they recognise the responsibility to present this information in ways which are playful, articulate, accessible and engaging, and which enable people to feel enthused and empowered rather than powerless.
  • Transition Initiatives focus on telling people the closest version of the truth that we know in times when the information available is deeply contradictory.
  • The messages are non-directive, respecting each person’s ability to make a response that is appropriate to their situation.

3. Inclusion and Openness

  • Successful Transition Initiatives need an unprecedented coming together of the broad diversity of society. They dedicate themselves to ensuring that their decision making processes and their working groups embody principles of openness and inclusion. 
  • This principle also refers to the principle of each initiative reaching the community in its entirety, and endeavouring, from an early stage, to engage their local business community, the diversity of community groups and local authorities. 
  • It makes explicit the principle that there is, in the challenge of energy descent, no room for ‘them and us’ thinking.
  • In a successful transition project every skill is valuable because there is so much happening.
  • We need good listeners, gardeners, people who like to make and fix everything, good parties, discussions, energy engineers, inspiring art and music, builders, planners, project managers.
  • Bring your passion and make that their contribution – if there isn’t a project working in the area you are passionate about, create one!!

 

4. Enable Sharing and Networking

  • Transition Initiatives dedicate themselves to sharing their successes, failures, insights and connections at the various scales across the Transition network, so as to more widely build up a collective body of experience.


 

5. Build Resilience

  • This stresses the fundamental importance of building resilience, that is, the capacity of our businesses, communities and settlements to deal as well as possible with shock.
  • Transition initiatives commit to building resilience across a wide range of areas (food, economics, energy etc) and also on a range of scales (from the local to the national) as seems appropriate - and to setting them within an overall context of the need to do all we can to ensure general environmental resilience.
  • Most communities in the past had – a generation or two ago – the basic skills needed for life such as growing and preserving food, making clothes, and building with local materials.

 

6. Inner and Outer Transition

  • The challenges we face are not just caused by a mistake in our technologies but as a direct result of our world view and belief system.
  • The impact of the information about the state of our planet can generate fear and grief - which may underlie the state of denial that many people are caught in. 
  • Psychological models can help us understand what is really happening and avoid unconscious processes sabotaging change, e.g. addictions models, models for behavioural change. 
  • This principle also honours the fact that Transition thrives because it enables and supports people to do what they are passionate about, what they feel called to do.

 

7. Transition makes sense - the solution is the same size as the problem

  • Many films or books who suggest that changing light bulbs, recycling and driving smaller cars may be enough. This causes a state called “Cognitive Dissonance” –a trance where you have been given an answer, but know that it is not going to solve the problem you’ve just been given.
  • We look at the whole system not just one issue because we are facing a systems failure not a single problem failure.
  • We work with complexity, mimicking nature in solutions based problem solving.

 

8. Subsidiarity: self-organisation and decision making at the appropriate level

  • This final principle enshrines the idea that the intention of the Transition model is not to centralise or control decision making, but rather to work with everyone so that it is practiced at the most appropriate, practical and empowering level, and in such a way that it models the ability of natural systems to self organise. 
  • We create ways of working that are easy to copy and spread quickly

Transition Initiatives make no claim to have all the answers, but by building on the wisdom of the past and accessing the pool of ingenuity, skills and determination in our communities, the solutions can readily emerge. Now is the time for us to take stock and start re-creating our future in ways that are not based on cheap, plentiful and polluting oil but on localized food, sustainable energy sources, resilient local economies and an enlivened sense of community well-being.

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