Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Transition Towns... and climate change

The Vision Group for Sidmouth's other persona is Sustainable Sidmouth - which in turn is part of the Transition Town movement:

Logo for Vision Group for Sidmouth

Sustainable Sidmouth

Logo for the Transition Network
A Transition Town Initiative

Sidmouth is officially part of the nationwide Transition Town initiative. This initiative aims to bring together local communities to think about and plan how the communities themselves can respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by diminishing fossil fuel stocks and Climate Change.

The purpose of the initiative is to make local communities more resilient with regard to foodenergytransport and other essentials of life and reduce dependence on unpredictable external impacts.

For more information please visit the Transition Network website.

Other Transition Town initiatives across the District and County put climate change as a central concern - and one that can be addressed locally.

A good introduction from Wikipedia:

Transition Towns (also known as transition network or transition movement) is a grassroots network of communities that are working to build resilience in response to peak oil, climate destruction, and economic instability.[1]
The term transition town was coined by Louise Rooney[4] and Catherine Dunne. Following its start in KinsaleIreland it then spread to TotnesEngland where Rob Hopkins and Naresh Giangrande developed the concept during 2005 and 2006.[5] 
The aim of this community project is to equip communities for the dual challenges of climate change and peak oil
The Transition Towns movement is an example of socioeconomic localisation. In 2007, the UK-based charity Transition Network was founded to disseminate the concept of transition and support communities around the world as they adopted the transition model.[6]
Transition Towns - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A special section in the Guardian:
Transition towns | Environment | The Guardian

Plus a recent interview with Rob Hopkins:
Converging climate, energy, and economic crises signal the potential to transition to a prosperous post-carbon era
The crisis of civilisation is an unprecedented opportunity | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | theguardian.com

With practical, positive ways ahead:
Locally grown food, community-owned power stations, local currencies … can small-scale actions make a difference? Yes, according to the Transition network – in fact, it's our only hope
Local, self-sufficient, optimistic: are Transition Towns the way forward? | Environment | The Guardian

And an overview from Transition Town Totnes:

What is climate change?

Climate change describes the changes that happen to the earth’s overall temperature. Over millions of years the temperature has varied a lot – the British Isles have sometimes been tropical, sometimes under water, sometimes frozen. Sometimes the variations happen very slowly, allowing plants and animals to migrate and adapt to the changes. Sometimes they happen faster, leading to widespread extinctions.
Is the climate changing now?  Expert scientists from all over the world agree that the average global temperature is increasing rapidly. This is due to the huge amount of gases that have been released into the atmosphere by modern ways of life. Burning fossil fuels creates carbon dioxide, an invisible gas which increases the greenhouse effect – the blanket of gases around the earth that keep the heat in. As we have burnt coal, oil and natural gas at increasing rates, our carbon dioxide emissions have risen, causing increasing rises in temperature. 
What are the effects of Climate Change?   We are already seeing the effects of climate change. In some places there have been extreme droughts, some places have serious flooding, many places have had record temperatures. People living on land close to sea level are feeling the effects of what seem like small increases in sea level as ice melts.
But there may be more serious effects to come – as Arctic ice melts the white surface that reflects heat well is replaced by dark sea which absorbs heat, which in turn speeds up the warming and melts more ice. Close to the Arctic Circle are thousands of miles of tundra – frozen ground that holds enormous quantities of methane, another much more powerful greenhouse gas. If this melts all the methane will be released, leading to more extreme warming.
There are many of these “positive feedback loops” – where warming causes something that leads to more warming, creating a danger of runaway climate change.
These changes are happening much more rapidly than anything caused by natural cycles, giving plants and animals little chance to adapt or migrate.  This could be really critical if we think about key species such as insects that pollinate our crops, or our fish.
What can we do?   One of the key recognitions of Transition is that we need to find ways of living that respect the biological limits of the planet.   Many of the projects and proposals that have come from TTT are exploring ways we might do that. Imagine if we can design all our everyday activities so that they work more like plants or, even better, a woodland ecosystem.  There are no waste bins in natural woodland - anything that is produced by one plant or creature is used by another, especially CO2!

What is climate change? - Transition Town Totnes

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