The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience (Transition Guides) Paperback – 6 Mar 2008
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This book by the visionary architect of the Transition movement is a must-read labelled immediate . Growing numbers with their microscopes trained on peak oil are convinced that we have very little time to engineer resilience into our communities before the last energy crisis descends. This issue should be of urgent concern to every person who cares about their children, and all who hope there is a viable future for human civilisation post-petroleum. --Jeremy Leggett, founder of Solarcentury and SolarAid, and author of<br /><br />The Transition concept is one of the big ideas of our time. Peak oil and climate change can so often leave one feeling depressed and disempowered. What I love about the Transition approach is that it is inspirational, harnessing hope instead of guilt, and optimism instead of fear. The Transition Handbook will come to be seen as one of the seminal books which emerged at the end of the Oil Age and which offered a gentle helping hand in the transition to a more local, more human and ultimately more nourishing future. --Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association<br /><br />Rob Hopkins is the Gentle Giant of the green movement, and his timely and hugely important book reveals a fresh and empowering approach that will help us transition into a materially leaner but inwardly richer human experience. Full of reliable, readable, far-reaching scholarship, and warm-hearted practical advice on how to instigate transition culture wherever you are, this book will energise and regenerate your commitment to place, community and simple living. There is no better call to action than this book, and no better guide to the hands-on creation of a liveable future. --Dr Stephan Harding, co-ordinator of the MSc in Holistic Science at Schumacher College and author of Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia
I can find nothing - absolutely nothing - wrong with The Transition Handbook. The format of this manual is extremely appealing. It is printed on heavy recycled paper, designed with simple natural colour tones, and is chock-full of exceedingly practical group exercises for clarifying and practising its principles. To its credit, this book does not sugar coat the daunting reality of peak oil and climate change, but rather it offers a positive vision of preparation and myriad practical steps for manifesting it. (For full review see website below) --Carolyn Baker, carolynbaker.net
Rob Hopkins is the Gentle Giant of the green movement, and his timely and hugely important book reveals a fresh and empowering approach that will help us transition into a materially leaner but inwardly richer human experience. Full of reliable, readable, far-reaching scholarship, and warm-hearted practical advice on how to instigate transition culture wherever you are, this book will energise and regenerate your commitment to place, community and simple living. There is no better call to action than this book, and no better guide to the hands-on creation of a liveable future. --Dr Stephan Harding, co-ordinator of the MSc in Holistic Science at Schumacher College and author of Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia
From the Publisher
Review for the Transition Handbook:
If your town is not yet a Transition Town, here is guidance for making it one. We have little time, and much to accomplish - Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute, Santa Rosa, California, author of Power Down.
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The rest of the book is harder to read - a lot of detail about how one should go about starting a transition initiative. Some of this stuff makes very important points about embedding the initiative into the community and I appreciate that it is derived from experience. At the same time I found it somewhat prescriptive, especially the directions for conducting meetings/workshops etc. This is a bit of a turn off - there are of course lots of ways of doing these things and I feel it would have been better just to refer to some resources or put these in appendices.
We have to act on climate change and peak oil and I buy the resilient local economy model. There is lots of useful stuff in this book, maybe some of it just more detailed than necessary.
The book largely focuses on the successes and failures of other Transitions (often Totnes is the main example, but there is a lot about Kinsale and other places too). It gives practical guidance on how to start or enagage with a Transition movement.
It is good at what it sets out to do, but will not suit everyone who is interested in this area. The recommended reading list is comprehesive and useful, perhaps the books listed there would suit many individuals more (hence 3 stars, although if you are an activist really thinking about starting a movement for change this is a 4 star book).
All of this is divided into three broad sections, `the head', `the heart', and `the hands'. First, the problem, and Hopkins explains peak oil and climate change in simple and straightforward terms. He avoids the controversies, and focuses on the local - these are things that will affect each of us, in our every day lives.
`The heart' deals with motivation, and Hopkins draws on addiction therapy and psychology to talk about how people perceive threats, and how they handle change. The environmental movement is failing because it lacks a "compelling and engaging vision of a post carbon world". Instead,the Transition Towns model us a positive articulation of the future. It captures the imagination, empowers and energises.
`The Hands' gets down to the practical details, from the principles of Permaculture, how to write a press release, working with a local council, films to show, the experiences those who have gone before. There are sections on running productive meetings or discussions with large numbers of people. It's practical and realistic, and really does feel like a handbook or a manual. (I should also mention that from a design point of view, The Transition Handbook is a nice piece of work. It's big and square and has wide margins that invite you to scribble notes.)
Transition Towns is the rarest of things, being a response to climate change and peak oil that is positive and proactive. "Too often environmentalists try to engage people in action by painting apocalyptic visions of the future as a way of scaring them into action" says Hopkins. "What would happen if we came at this the other way round, painting a picture of the future so enticing that people instinctively feel drawn towards it."
I like the concept of Transition Towns and local resilience. The author is visionary but I wish he had written about his vision in a more user friendly manner because many readers will be turned off by his missionary tone.
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