First things first


Saturday, 25 October 2008

Welcome to Transition Westcombe

The Transition Town idea was initiated in Totnes, Devon, but is springing up now in hundreds of towns, villages and cities across Britain and overseas.

Its aim is for communities to come together to plan, prepare, and reshape themselves for two problems, one well known and the other rapidly gaining people’s interest.

The first is climate change, which demands that we drastically cut back the use of fossil fuels in our lives and our economies.

The second is often referred to as ‘peak oil’, which, to cut out the jargon, says that we are at the point where we have pumped about half of the world’s oil out of the ground.

When this happens in individual oilfields or oil-producing nations – as in the United States in the 1970s – it becomes technically more difficult and more expensive to reach the oil that is left. Production can no longer go on increasing, and less oil is extracted in each year afterwards.

Increasing numbers of oil analysts, consultants and engineers say that this point has been reached – or will be within just a handful of years – on a global scale. In that case, we face a future of ever-dwindling supply of oil in a world whose existence has been based on oil-fuelled growth, year on year.

When we look around at our lives and identify the things that we depend on for oil – our commute, our food, our heating – the consequences are obviously immense. And no alternative energy matches the incredible productivity of energy-dense oil. No combination of them has been shown to be able to provide as much energy as we use now. That means a much lower-energy future.

The two problems – climate change and the end of easy, cheap oil – dovetail in that they demand a rapid ‘decarbonising’ of the economy – and a relocalising, too, with our basic necessities having to come not air-freighted but from our own communities.

These two issues can often seem so overwhelming that their scale can make us feel depressed, demotivated and disempowered, and can drive us into denial, quite understandably. Environmental campaigning has, for decades, failed to engage people in a way that does not bring on that paralysing feeling of doom and gloom.

The transition movement’s ethos is that it is better to prepare for these non-negotiable changes in our lives, rather than to be taken by surprise.

Ride the wave rather than be engulfed by it.

Without harking back to some mythical golden age, it aims to show that life after easy oil – while requiring that we reskill and radically reshape our lives – has the potential to be much more rewarding than our lives now, in many ways.

It aims to make environmental efforts seem ‘less like a protest and more like a party’. It brings together people in their communities to share ideas and knowledge, trusting people to make their own communities more resilient and self-reliant. It encourages people to imagine positive futures without easy oil – because if you can do that, then working practically to make it a reality is a more attractive and even an exhilarating task.

Transition Towns are involving people from all walks of life, and where transition movements are taking off they are seeing previously unsuspected creativity and genuine enthusiasm unleashed.

If you would like to get involved in setting up a Transition Westcombe (a name that can change if we decide on a better idea of where our community is) or if you would just like to know a bit more, then get in touch by emailing

1 comment:

stef said...

Hello Westcombe, I’d be very grateful if you could advertise this Introduction the Permaculture course on the weekend of the 17th & 18th July to you members,
Thanks muchly

Introduction to Permaculture 17th & 18th July

This weekend 'taster' course will introduce Permaculture ethics and principles, design tools and methods to those interested and to learn how to navigate their way through the challenges of building a sustainable future, suited to your individual circumstances.

The course provides the opportunity to discuss vitally important issues in a positive, creative and supportive space. The course is lively, participatory and thought provoking.

Teachers: Hedvig Murray & Stefan Geyer

Cecil Sharp House
2 Regents Park Road

Arrive 9.15 for a prompt 9.40 start.
Finish 4.40

£120. Sponsored/organisation rate.
£120. Income + 25K/year.
£100. Income 18-25K
£80. Individual – 18K
£60. Concessionary Rate.

Refreshments provided.

Lunch- Please bring food to share.

Please email for a booking form.