"...What a great time to be born, what a great time to be alive, because this generation gets to essentially completely change the world."-Paul Hawken "Blessed Unrest"

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Post-Carbon: Preaching "Transition" to Choir? Try This for Framing

I like the ideas of the Transition movement, and the tireless work of Rob Hopkins, its founder. But I had to comment on Rob's posting of last week. An excerpt of Rob's posting:"Although it is peak oil and climate change that initially inspire Transition initiatives and form the underpinning for much of the initial awareness stage, might it be ...where continued focus on those issues could be counterproductive?

Beyond a certain point it could be that continued highlighting of the issues actually risks dividing and alienating people rather than including them?" He also points out his Transition group's laudable work with town councils and chambers of commerce.

My comment:  Rob, I agree with you about the limited usefulness of peak oil and climate change as framings for the concept of transition.  For an expanded, refreshing -- and I might add urgent -- view of our environmental & economic future, I recommend viewing "Zeitgeist the Movie - Moving Forward" which is posted on this site. The message? Everything that was built on the global, unsustainable model is now in collapse.
Not about to collapse. Headlong into collapse. 

We need to get busy and we need to get things in place now. The premise of Shift Shapers Radio is, "Don't expect the Safeway truck to keep showing up." We have moved from the realm of predictability in obtaining our necessities, into the realm of limited predictability. Our show is bilingual, broadcast into the Latino community, and they get it. The people at the bottom know things are falling apart. Why? Because you feel it immediately when you don't have the safety net.

I suggest framing it the way it really is. We are already in transition, we just haven't for the most part put our local economies and food/fuel/shelter production into place. You don't need a framing once people understand the urgency we face.
I would add that I also appreciate the dilemma of understanding we are in a state of collapse and actually behind the transition 8-ball, when we need to work with city governments and chambers of commerce, who count on things remaining the same and planning only for gradual change, far off into the future.  In these settings, you are far from preaching to the choir. I would contend that you are actually preaching to the resistant, just not in the form of a Tea Party Republican.

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