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The Transition Movement: Questions of Diversity, Power, and Affluence

This report presents an overview, literature review, and critical analysis of the Transition Movement. 

“A mood of defiant positivity is a defining characteristic of the Transition Town movement (‘the Transition movement’), which is one of the more promising social movements to emerge during the last decade in response to the overlapping problems we face today. Since its inception in 2005 (see Hopkins, 2008), the Transition movement has spread to many countries around the world (Bailey et al, 2010: 602-3), and is gaining increased attention from academics, politicians, and media. Defined further below, its fundamental aims are to respond to the twin challenges of peak oil and climate change by decarbonising and relocalising the economy through a community-led model of change based on permaculture principles (Holmgren, 2002). In doing so, the movement runs counter to the dominant narrative of globalisation and economic growth, and instead offers a positive, highly localised vision of a low-carbon future, as well as an evolving roadmap for getting there through grassroots activism. While this young and promising movement is not without its critics (e.g. James, 2010) there are some, such as Ted Trainer (2009: 11), who argue that if civilisation is to make it into the next half of the century in any desirable form, ‘it will be via some kind of Transition Towns process’.

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