Our Story

Our vision is that every community in the United States has engaged its collective creativity to unleash an extraordinary and historic transition to a future beyond fossil fuels; a future that is more vibrant, abundant and resilient; one that is ultimately preferable to the present.

 

Mission

Transition US is a resource and catalyst for building resilient communities across the United States that are able to withstand severe energy, climate or economic shocks while creating a better quality of life in the process. We will accomplish our mission by inspiring, encouraging, supporting, networking and training individuals and their communities as they consider, adopt, adapt, and implement the Transition approach to community empowerment and change.

The Transition approach is based on four key assumptions:

  1. That life with dramatically lower energy consumption is inevitable, and that it’s better to plan for it than to be taken by surprise.
     
  2. That our communities currently lack resilience.
     
  3. That we have to act collectively, and we have to act now to build community resilience and prepare for life without fossil fuels.
     
  4. That by unleashing the collective genius of our communities it is possible to design new ways of living that are more nourishing, fulfilling and ecologically sustainable.

 

Strategic Action Goals

  1. To raise awareness of the need to work together to build resilience in the face of fossil fuel depletion, climate change and economic crises.
     
  2. To support the emergence and growth of Transition Initiatives and leaders in all regions of the United States.
     
  3. To mirror the diversity of the United States in Transition Initiatives by supporting Initiatives' efforts to include all major cultural and demographic segments of their local communities.
     
  4. To support the continued development and delivery of high quality education, training and consulting in support of the advancement of the Transition Movement in the United States.
     
  5. To achieve financial sustainability for Transition US and Transition Initiatives in the United States.

 

History

The Transition movement emerged from the work of 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 to complete his doctorate, Rob decided to take the Peak Oil preparation process beyond the classroom and into the community. He 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 copied the model and initiated the Transition process in their own locale.

The Transition Network was established in the UK in late 2006, to support the rapid international growth of the movement. In 2007, increasing high levels of interest in the States led to the launch of Transition US. We were 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 States. The process of “officiating” Transition Initiatives in the States was also handed over to Transition US.

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 around the country.

In January 2008 we received initial funding from Post Carbon Institute supplemented by a donation from a private investor. This has enabled Transition US to become a non-profit, open an office, hire staff, and develop a new website. Ultimately our funds will be used to continue our core function of acting as a catalyst for the Transition Movement here in the States.

 

Structure

structure

Transition US is modeled on the Transition Network, visually represented by the image on the left. It is based on a living cell, a biological system, in keeping with the organic emergence of the Transition movement.

Various scales of initiative emerge organically (black circles in the center) at scales that feel most appropriate to them, guided by the Purpose and Principles of Transition. Regional groups may network together creating “hubs” of Transition Initiatives that work to common purpose.

In the diagram Transition US is represented by the white encircling ring that surrounds the individual initiatives and hubs. It functions like a cell membrane, enshrining the Purpose and Principles common to the wider Transition Movement and acts as a catalyst to keep the circle expanding as the number of initiatives it contains grows.

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 (represented by the white circles outside the encircling ring). The circles inside the outer ring represent emerging new strands to Transition, for example, Transition Consulting / Transition Local Government / Transition Universities

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