A Little History

The Transition movement emerged from the work of Buddhist Permaculture educator, Rob Hopkins, and his students at the Kinsale Further Education College in Ireland. In early 2005 they created the Kinsale Energy Descent Action Plan, which was later adopted as policy by the Town Council. It was the first strategic community planning document of its kind, and went beyond the issues of energy supply, to look at across-the-board creative adaptations in the realms of food, farming, education, economy, health, and much more.

After moving back to the UK, Rob decided to take the Peak Oil preparation process beyond the classroom and into the community. He therefore helped started Transition Towns Totnes in early 2006, and it took off like a rocket. It has since spread virally across the world as groups in other communities quickly adopted and adapted the model and initiated the Transition process in their own locale.

To support these efforts internationally, the Transition Network was established in the UK in late 2006. In 2007, increasing high levels of interest in the United States led to the launch of Transition US, established as a national support network, in partnership with the Transition Network so that we could take on the role of providing co-ordination, support and training to Transition Initiatives as they emerged across the United States. In early 2008, Rob Hopkins’ book The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependence to Local Resilience was published, which soon sparked even more interest in the emerging Transition model of local organizing around the world and in the United States.

In December 2008, Transition US invited the UK founders of Transition Training, Naresh Giangrande and Sophy Banks, over to the States to give a series of training courses and talks. All courses were sold out events. One of these was the inaugural 4-day “Train the Trainers” course, in which we selected and trained a team of 21 people who are now facilitating 2-day “Training for Transition” courses all around the country.

Transition US facilitates smooth and efficient networking between the various levels of initiatives and hubs, as well as between different interest groups, for example enabling various food, energy or economics groups to communicate, share good practice and organize national events. It also enables networking by geographical area, by culture, and by size of project.

The role of Transition US is to continually review and collaboratively refine what Transition means, enabling the maximum amount of networking between Transition Initiatives and external partners and collaborators. The problems created by rising prices of food and fuel, coupled with the economic contraction that began in 2008 can only be solved by people working creatively together to strengthen their local economies and to build local resilience. In the few years since, we have already seen a dramatic growth in community responses to economic threats, fossil fuel depletion, and climate change. In just the United States alone, there are close to 100 local Transition initiatives now and the number of people who have gone through the Transition Training course now numbers in the thousands.


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