Before the COP26 venue was packed away hundreds of scholars signed an open letter urging communities to lead their own ‘emergency response’ after ‘failure’ of Cop26 to slash dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.
The letter says “We believe that the corporate capture and failure of COP26 clearly show that people in communities and organizations must now lead our own emergency response.”
It seems like yesterday when I first heard of the Transition movement and decided to help start it up in Sweden. It was 2005. Transitioners were saying “Governments will not defossilize, corporations will not, local councils will not. That leaves us ordinary folks, together with our nieghbours and people in our community. We have to do it.”
In Sweden the movement took off, at one point we had 5 000 members with 100 local groups around the country. Transitioners were trying a broad range of things. Some went digging up lawns outside libraries to plant potatoes. Other started eco-village projects. Some researched into alternative approaches to economics. Others explored their own angst through inner transition. All over Sweden things were happening. Movements were connecting, too. Transitioners found kindred spirits in movements like nature protection, Permaculture, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, even catching the eye of academics as maybe offering a source of new knowledge about social transformation.
For various reasons activity slowed down. However, somewhere out there is still a phenomenal amount of experience and knowledge about how to organize the local community to focus action on addressing climate change and all its bad effects on society, de-fossilisation, mapping possibilities and concerns, sharing and organizing. All kinds of useful know-how. I am sure the same is true in many countries around the world.
That is why the Transition movement is in a unique position to respond to the call from the Scholars. Transition has always been about convening those individuals and organizations that feel called. It has always been about the climate, about equity.
Here are some ways to respond to the call:
Seek out Transitioners, get them onboard. Or if you yourself were involved or indeed still are, consider the ideas below.
- Set up a community-led group to co-ordinate all aspects of dealing with climate change. If you make the geographic area coincide with the administrative area you will have a natural interface into the local authorities.
- Start groups doing investigations into aspects of how to increase resilience of food provision, housing energy, inclusion etc. All the basics.
- Look into practicalities of producing more food locally. One transition town set up a garden exchange where people who had gardens they couldn’t tend met people without gardens who wanted to grow food.
- Now is the time for local action. It is now pretty clear to the average person – one who might not have understood what the Transition movement were talking about – that government and corporations are really not going to change anything. And the average person now gets it that they are going to have to deal with the consequences of inaction. (Just like with COVID.)
The list below is of the local action organizations I know of. Let’s find a way to bring them together! Add your own in the comments.
- Local Futures
- Friends of the Earth
- Local Civil defense
- Eco village movement
- One Village movement
- Nature preservation groups
- Community banking
- Community Supported Agriculture
- Post Carbon
- Resilience International
- Initiatives of Change (Lands, Lives and Peace)
- Extinction Rebellion
- Fridays for the Future
- Save the Forest
- Doughnut Action Lab
- Pivot Projects
- Mutual Aid Network