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October 19, 2009 – Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of Transition Towns. I hadn’t until very recently. I’d like to share the little bit I know, because I think this is an idea whose time has come.

The idea is that people with an awareness of the changes underway in our world should begin discussions on the local level about surviving global climate change. Because members of communities bring varying talents and knowledge to the table, each can make a contribution to the common good.

To my mind, a big piece of the puzzle will consist simply of people sharing their tools and appliances with one another, rather than each household needing to own one. Carpooling trips to the grocery and pharmacy would be a good place to start. Banning leaf blowers would be a simple way to reduce a neighborhood’s carbon footprint, as would the use of non-motorized lawn mowers. Growing food organically where grass used to grow would be an improved use of lawn space. Eliminating association bans on clothes lines would make a terrific amount of sense.

That’s the way it works. Ideas are, of course, the easy part, but as long as there are community members willing to take the lead and set the example, all these ideas and more will become part of The New Paradigm. This will take time, and because time is something we may not have a great deal of, it’s never been more truly said that the sooner we get started, the sooner we’ll get where we’re going. Once numbers of towns get their transition underway, they will have lots to share in the way of tips and pointers with those not quite so far along with the process.

Is anyone consulting with the Amish about this? It seems to me they would have so much to tell us. What I want to know is, How did they know it was time to stop? How did they know the industrial revolution had become a bankrupt proposition? Someone endowed with remarkable prescience acted upon his or her beliefs, and got others to join in. Or are they a group of people motivated solely by their religious beliefs? Certainly they have no use for science, I know that. They may very well harbor serious doubts about the validity of global warming science!

The fellow who got the transition project underway, Rob Hopkins, is British and an academic. His website can be found at http://www.transitionculture.org/. Here in the United States, the transition movement is in its infancy. You can learn more about it at
http://www.transitionus.org/.

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