18/9/2012: The challenge for the Transition Movement

The challenge FOR THE Transition Movement


The International Transition Network Conference takes place on a yearly basis since 2007, around the Transition Towns movement. This movement fosters a grassroots development based on the abilities that exist within people in neighborhoods, as well as in their physical environment, to drive our evolution towards a sustainable alternative: a re-localization of livelihoods and a steady-state economy, in opposition to a globalization and an economic growth that match what the then UN’s Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said by2009: “our foot is stuck on the accelerator and we are heading towards the abyss”. In 2012 the Conference has run 13th-19th September in the London district of Clapham. Three hundred people, a third of them from outside the UK, have met to know each other, share experiences and learn about practices that have been implemented in other communities in order to adapt them to ours.

The Transition Movement is a political proposal even though it falls out of the scope of political parties; as Policy consists on the management of the common good, while parties have become structures mainly focused on their own interests. It is about a grassroots process of citizen-led innovation which is catalysing change and unlocking untapped assets. It is about drawing on what we collectively know from years of best practice in our communities, applied through new combinations of tools and methods in a more collaborative and locally led way. It is about a process to discover and put in value the resources that exist in each community, in order to help people tackle the threats of food, energy, water and climate crises in a peaceful and positive way.

It is not an illusion. It is indeed happening all over the world, aligninig with other movements whose names does not include the word Transition (such as the now widely spread Sweden-originalEcomunicipalities or hundreds of non-associated others) and with the principles of a number of proposals for an alternative evolution (PermaculturePachamamaGreen New DealPolitical EcologyNew Economy 20+20, Economy of the Good Living, Common Welfare EconomyEcological EconomicsCentre for Well-beingDegrowthsocial businessesintegral cooperativeslocal currencytime banking and many others).

It is an exciting alternative, full of beauty and poetry. Many people are involved in promoting them, but we remain a huge minority. If we want it to be relevant for the world’s future, we must make it solid and systemic, which will only come by incorporating the economic viability to what is already socially and environmentally desirable.

Alejo Etchart

Independent Advisor to Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future

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