Martin Crawford and me speaking at the Launch of ‘Climate Friendly Food’

Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture
A while ago, at Schumacher College, Climate Friendly Food was launched, an innovative approach to getting farmers measuring the carbon implications of their farming, definintely worth supporting and checking out. There were some great speakers, including a particularly in-form Martin Crawford of the Agroforestry Research Trust. Here is his talk, and below it, mine. Regular readers will know that Martin is a great hero of mine, and his forthcoming book ‘Creating a Forest Garden’ is eagerly awaited at Hopkins Towers.

…and here’s mine….

(25 March 2010)

Churches partner with ‘transition town’ environmental movement

Staff writers, Ekklesia
his week sees the official partnering of Churches in Transition with Transition Towns, a movement to equip communities for the dual challenges of climate change and ‘peak oil’ – the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline.

The Transition Towns movement currently has member communities in a number of countries worldwide. It was founded in Kinsale, Ireland, and was then spread to Totnes, England by environmentalist Rob Hopkins

Churches in Transition (CiT) is a project of Christian Ecology Link. It seeks to network and represent the growing number of Christians and their churches involved in Transition Towns projects.

Churches in Transition communicates using an online forum (,

Christian Ecology Link is working with a number of other faith-based organisations to produce informative resources, training and events on the Transition to a Low Carbon Economy.

One of the key resources currently being trialled is the “ecocell” study programme to help cell groups of individuals, households and churches to address collectively the management of their energy and resource usage. (

A Churches in Tranistion information leaflet can be downloaded from here (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat file):
(22 March 2010)

Lexicon of Change: The Rise of Transition Culture

Judith Schwartz, Miller-McCune
You may or may not have heard of the Transition movement — described by its founder, Rob Hopkins, as “an exercise in engaged optimism”— yet Transition’s ideas are informing and even guiding the conversation of how communities confront the twin crises of peak oil and climate change.

The movement is driven by one simple idea: Rather than hand-wringing and lamenting dwindling energy reserves and climate change, Transition wants people to envision and create models for that future — and find much to be cheerful about.

A variety of activities take place under the Transition banner. Scroll around — the movement has had a strong Web presence from the start — and you’ll find numerous farm and food events, tree-planting get-togethers, launching a local currency, campaigns to install Smart Meters (through British Gas’ Green Streets Energy Challenge), and a program in which teenagers interview elderly people to learn about daily life before the era of cheap oil.

“Transition is often seen as an environmental movement, but ultimately it’s about cultural change: enabling the shift from what’s appropriate for the upward net energy curve to what’s appropriate for the downward curve,” says Hopkins, who had been a teacher of permaculture — a holistic design system rooted in ecology — the principles of which underlie Transition.

“[The Transition movement] has become part of the part of the cultural scene, especially in places like Vermont, Oregon and Northern California,” says author and environmentalist Bill McKibben. “When he started this, Rob really understood that people needed to take their worries about the climate and do something practical.”

What began five years ago as a student project on lowering energy use in Kinsale, Ireland, has grown to 273 “official” initiatives in 15 countries, not to mention the thousands of “mullers” (as in thinking about it). The United States now has 55 active Transition initiatives, the latest in San Francisco.

And while many Transition groups are in predominantly liberal areas, others have set up in more conservative areas, such as Houston and Louisville in the United States, as well as in working-class areas like Brixton and Penwith in the United Kingdom. In Penwith, residents’ memory of poverty and knowing that they were last on the supply chain made them receptive to Transition.

The movement remains low profile and unsung. One reason may be that it’s so hard to characterize: Transition is at once local and global, high-tech and down-home, methodical and freewheeling. Awareness of the movement has also been confounded by its original designation of “Transition Town movement,” since a Transition community might be an island (as in Waiheke in New Zealand), city (Los Angeles) or city district (London’s Brixton and Belsize Park). It is now simply referred to as “Transition,” and a Transition group is called an “initiative.”..
(12 March 2010)