A response to the NY Times article: Imagining Life without Oil

The New York Times ran an article last month, Imagining Life Without Oil, and Being Ready which gave a rather poor account of the Transition Movement. I was particularly perturbed to see that an hour talking on the phone with reporter John Leland, did not contribute greatly to his understanding of Transition US, nor the wider Transition movement.

Still, it was encouraging to get a mention in the 3rd largest newspaper in the United States. It shows we are nearing the radar screen of mainstream, even if we are being classed as a bunch of optimistic collapsitarians.

I wrote a brief letter to the Editor in response, which unfortunately was not published, so here it is now:

To the Editor:

The Transition movement is a grassroots phenomena that has spread virally across the globe. There are no chapters or branches, it is a network that has arisen from the ground rather like mycelia. It is self-organizing and adaptive, with solutions that grow from place. It is not driven by a “dark vision” such as a “population die-off” but instead is fueled by a vision of the future that is equitable, creative, connected and joyful.

Transition communities that have launched complementary currency schemes, have done so not as a security measure “in case the national one collapses” but as a way of strengthening their local economies. These schemes keep money cycling within local communities, rather than being siphoned out by large corporations. 

Let me offer some sweeping cultural generalizations: Americans have an entrepreneurial, pioneering spirit. Brits don’t like change; Americans embrace it. For this reason alone, the Transition Movement will be tremendously successful in this country. What is needed now, more than ever, is the harnessing of an engaged optimism to build resilience back into our communities. Transition US is leading the way.

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