Transition in Action
Author/Pub: Transition Town Totnes
Totnes and District’s Energy Descent Action Plan (EDAP), the first such document to come out of the burgeoning Transition movement, takes as its basis the idea that the approaching peak production of oil, climate change and the economic crisis represent an opportunity to increase local resilience and sense of community. It is, it claims, ‘a story about how the community could make the transition away from its oil dependency’ – not a bed-time story, perhaps, but a vital tale whose lessons must be heeded quickly and applied to communities worldwide.
It is, however, a daunting book despite its bright colours and funky graphics. Over 300 (large) pages long and chock full of statistics and charts, it can be a bit hard to get into. The chapters, which discuss ‘the challenges, issues and pathways to transition across 15 key topics’, are interspersed with imagined timelines that see the community through to a fully-transitioned 2030. I suppose these act to lighten the mood as well as hypothesise the future, but I can’t help but feel as though I’ve wasted my time a bit when I read the fantastical guesses like ‘hairstyles have become more classical’ by 2025.
Far more interesting are the groundbreaking bits of research done for the book – ‘Can Totnes Feed Itself?’ and a ‘Renewable Energy Budget’ for the community, which provide interesting statistics about the current situation (the UK imports 95 per cent of its fruit!) and its alternatives – the book systematically details how much renewable energy could come from different sources, for example.
The plan/story came out of a year of consultations with the community and should not be taken as a finished work (as the Transition movement clearly knows the value of adapting!). No, instead, it’s an ongoing, interactive process – the book contains blank pages where the reader can write ‘notes and ideas’, and Transition Town Totnes is still looking for comments and suggestions on the EDAP website (www.totnesedap.org.uk).