Transition Initiative

While governments are planning for climate change on a global level, e.g. the Kyoto Protocol (See the government's Annual Transition Statement 2019), initiatives to tackle this problem on a local level are equally important. In 2005/2006, the Transition Initiative was founded in Kinsale, Co. Cork by Louise Rooney and permaculture designer Rob Hopkins.

What is the Transition Initiative?

The Transition Initiative is a local level response to the imminent pressures of climate change and peak oil (i.e. the year when the maximum rate of petroleum extraction is reached, after which it is expected to enter continuous decline. As of 2020, peak oil forecasts range from 2019 to the 2040s, depending on governments' response to climate change) The principle of 'think globally, act locally' is central to the Transition Initiative. The aim is to support communities that want to take positive environmental action, as well as increase their ability to endure the inevitability of peak oil through decreasing energy usage.

Building local resilience, raising awareness, creating links with local government authorities, and self-reliance are some of the key aspects of the Transition Initiative. Communities are encouraged to work together to find new ways to reduce energy usage.

Examples of Transition Towns in Ireland are evident in the following counties:

  • Monaghan
  • Galway
  • Laois
  • Kerry
  • Cork

This is a feasible initiative to adapt to climate change and peak oil. While the pilot scheme began in Kinsale, it has become an increasingly popular model. As of December 2020, there are over 1,000 community initiatives across Europe, Asia, Australia, North America and South America.

How to Start a Transition Initiative

Criteria for setting up a Transition Initiative are available on the Transition Initiatives website. This provides prospective Transition Towns with advice on the best approach to initiating changes. It is not a hard set of rules that must be adhered to, but rather a set of guidelines based on the experiences of the Transition Towns that have so far proved to be successful. Any new ideas are always welcome.

You will also find an example of an 'Energy Descent Action Plan', and a step-by step guide on how to make the transition to a sustainable, self-sufficient community. The members of the community must consider its needs in all aspects of life, and plan how they can significantly reduce their community's carbon footprint and become more self-reliant. It involves creativity and adaptability, and will undoubtedly lead to a more rounded, fulfilling way of life.

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