Transition from Oil towards Local Resilience and Abundance

I have been reflecting on the oil spill in the Gulf - the tragic impact on communities and ocean, and the call for change strike me as enormous. As I read articles from friends, environmental activists and religious/spiritual leaders alike, I am hearing more and more the resounding message that the spill is a wake up call, urging us to revisit our collective relationship with fossil fuels.
 
Following in the footsteps of over 320 other towns, cities and communities across the planet, here in Perth, Ontario, a town of approximately 6,000, we are starting a "Transition" initiative. In a nutshell, we are seeking to engage and inspire our community to become more locally-abundant and more economically, socially and ecologically resilient. This means an emphasis on local consumption, local production and local distribution, with less dependence on globalised systems for food, transportation, energy, health and housing. The Transition model focuses on building networks, relationships and skills within a community, fostering creative solutions that come from the community itself.
 
Companies are drilling for oil because we are buying it. In developed countries, whether directly or indirectly, our lives are connected with the consumption fossil fuels: to run our cars; to ship our food and other products across continents and oceans; to make our plastics (bags, packaging, toys, etc.); and in many places, to produce electricity, and to heat and cool our homes.
 
As global oil reserves become more scarce, drilling becomes more difficult and dangerous. As cheap oil becomes increasingly a thing of the past, and as the effects of climate change become increasingly imminent, I believe the potential for enormous changes in our economic and geo-physical climate are on the horizon. 
 
We might see the problem as bigger than ourselves and we might feel powerless and helpless given the complexity and depth of the issues. I feel heartened and slightly relieved to think of the Transition movement, which focuses on the power of people and of communities.  It addresses the gap between change at an individual level (eg. changing to fluorescent light bulbs), which may seem too small, and at a governmental level (eg. legislation), which may seem too out of reach. 
 
If we apply the same collective genius - which we used to get us to this peak of global development - into designing more locally abundant, resilient and qualitatively rich lives, I believe we have the potential to create a new era in our collective story and evolution. 
 
I believe every one of us is essential, as we are all connected on this web of life.
 
How could you take part in this new vision?

 
Excerpts from Obama's Oval Office Address on the BP Oil Spill and Energy, June 15, 2010

For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered.  For decades, we’ve talked and talked about the need to end [our] century-long addiction to fossil fuels.  And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires....
 
We cannot consign our children to this future.  The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now.  Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a... mission to unleash [our] innovation and seize control of our own destiny.
 
This is not some distant vision....  The transition away from fossil fuels is going to take some time, but over the last year and a half, we’ve already taken unprecedented action to jumpstart the clean energy industry.  As we speak, old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines, people are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows, and small businesses are making solar panels.  Consumers are buying more efficient cars and trucks, and families are making their homes more energy-efficient.  Scientists and researchers are discovering clean energy technologies that someday will lead to entire new industries.... 
 
What sees us through... is our strength, our resilience, and our unyielding faith that something better awaits us if we summon the courage to reach for it.

Topics: 

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.