Shaun Chamberlin

I read this book in order to learn more about the transition movement, which is the idea that communities prepare for the challenges of Peak Oil*, Global Warming on a local scale. It basically consists of four parts **:

1. Visions
This is the actual "timeline" part. Throughout several workshops held in english transition communities, four scenarios were developed, running from now, 2009, to 2029. In the first two, we continue business as usual and ignore (1) or acknowledge (2) the evidence, respectively. In the third and fourth scenario we make cultural shifts s, but fail to really acknowledge the challenge (3) or acknowledge them and start to transition early on (4). All four timelines are described in text and make up several events that could happen in such a scenario with title and year.

2. Challenges in transition
This chapter details some topics that pose quests for our society in transition to post-peak-oil. It covers demographics, food and water, energy, travel and transport and health.

3. The road to energy descend plans
what could be the steps to make and the tools to use when preparing for energy descend? An energy descend plan is made by the people in order to imagine what their lives could be like and prepare. A timeline is one of the first tools that come to mind and this chapter introduces some more that could be used in practice, like planning the 2030 high school reunion, visualisation techniques or finding indicators of resilience.

4. Peak Oil and Climate Change
This section surprised me by being a short, but highly informative primer on these two topics. For instance, I learned what the most basic indicators for climate change are plus what the likely sources of confusion in discussions are. Also, it was explained how the reports of the IPCC come about and what they say. There are a lot of numbers to back up certain claims and the whole point seems to be made pretty objectively. I might give this chapter some people I know to read.

The challenges we face are likely to be threatening our economic growth model at its core. ...
The transition movement has some clear messages and a solid concept (I am anticipating the video of Rob Hopkins TED talk - notes are already here). This book, however, has several ingredients. Every chapter has its own message. It is more of a handbook for people who are about to start a transition movement in their community or, like me, just want to learn what they might expect from these people***.

* The time point where oil production peaks is hard to measure, even if its already over. In this book, they assume it will be 2010.

** The fifth only deals with UK-specific discussions, so I'm leaving that out here.

*** There is a transition initiative in De Pijp, Amsterdam. The question to me is: Will we be able to feed cities at all in the future? I should look at this book.

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