Building Thriving, Resilient Communities

Guide 1: Getting Started

Image via shutterstock. Reproduced with permission.

Image via shutterstock. Reproduced with permission.

Guide #1 collects our favorite sources for getting acquainted with the converging economic, energy, and ecological challenges we face as responsible people sharing this planet. This Guide also includes useful, inspiring stories, as well as tools you can use to share this information and begin to build understanding and support in your community.

Online Resources

  • 300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 Seconds: This short animated video from the Post Carbon Institute, written and narrated by Richard Heinberg, explains what it means to our economy and society to be reaching the end of the era of cheap fossil fuels.
  • Bioneers Media Center: Videos, radio interviews, and articles from visionary leaders who are developing nature-inspired solutions to the world’s environmental and social-justice challenges.
  • Economy Sandwich: This short animated video from the Sustainable Economies Law Center provides an introduction to the practical and legal aspects of sharing, cooperatives, Do-It-Yourself, and local economies.
  • Great Transition Stories: An open source wiki collection of scholarship and wisdom that presents stories of the “Great Turning” and the transition to a post-fossil fuel world.
  • The High Price of Materialism: In this short animation from Center for a New American Dream, psychologist Tim Kasser discusses how America’s culture of consumerism undermines our well-being and points toward solutions that promise a healthier, more just, and more sustainable life.
  • Hungry for Change: Food, Ethics, and Sustainability from the Northwest Earth Institute is a 4- to 6-session group discussion guide that helps participants explore our roles as consumers and creators through our food choices, culminating in personal action plans for each participant. It explores our impact on a range of issues, including ecosystem health, factory and farm worker treatment, and our global economy.
  • The Oil Journey: A customizable presentation you can use to tell your community’s journey from horse travel and local farms to today’s 24/7, strip-mall culture. You can use this tool to invite new people to join a conversation around the future we want to create.
  • Shareable.net is an online news, action and connection hub for the sharing transformation.
  • Share Spray: A New Way To Do Everything: This short animated video from the Sustainable Economies Law Center and the Center for a New American Dream illustrates how sharing can transform our lives and neighborhoods.
  • The Shift Network offers both free and paid online Summits and Courses by visionary leaders committed to “shifting our world’s operating system.”
  • Transition Infographic: The Transition Infographic explains the Transition movement in a friendly and accessible way that can invite new people into the conversation.
  • Visualizing a Plenitude Economy: This short animated video from Center for a New American Dream offers a vision of a post-consumer society, with people working fewer hours and pursuing re-skilling (learning nearly forgotten things like canning and carpentry), homesteading, and small-scale enterprises.
  • Who Ate the Economy?: This short video from Bay Localize tells the story of wealth distribution in the US, and what those left out (the 99%) can do about it.
  • Who Killed Growth?: This short, animated video from Post Carbon Institute, based on Richard Heinberg’s book The End of Growth, proposes that humanity has reached a turning point, where economic growth as we’ve known it can no longer continue on a finite planet.

Publications & Films

  • The Abundant Community, by Peter Block & John McKnight, suggests that right in our neighborhoods we have the capacity to address our human needs, explaining how to nurture voluntary, self-organizing structures that reveal our gifts and allow them to be shared to the greatest mutual benefit.
  • Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re In Without Going Crazy by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone shows us how to strengthen our capacity to respond to changing times with unexpected resilience and creative power. Drawing on decades of “Work That Reconnects” teaching, the authors use a transformational process, informed by mythic journeys, modern psychology, spirituality, and holistic science.
  • Climate After Growth, by Post Carbon Institute’s Asher Miller and Transition Network’s Rob Hopkins, argues that the “new normals” of economic stagnation, climate change, and soaring energy costs mean that the environmental movement must adjust our strategies to focus on building community resilience, and makes the case for investing in local economies.
  • Crash Course by Chris Martenson provides a baseline understanding of the economy and its discontents, so we can better appreciate the risks we all face. (Also available in a free online video course.)
  • Emergence: The Shift from Ego to Essence by Barbara Marx Hubbard lays out an intimate and practical process for making the transition to the next stage of human evolution, a new type of human who is connected through the heart to the whole of life, evolving consciously and helping to co-create a new kind of spiritual.
  • The End of Growth by Richard Heinberg argues that world economic contraction is inevitable since we are already overusing most of Earth’s important resources, and that limits to debt and to affordable oil supplies, along with worsening environmental disasters, are bringing about this change roughly now (i.e., this decade).
  • In Transition 2.0, ad new film from Transition Network, captures inspiring stories of communities around the world, responding to uncertain times with creativity, solutions, and “engaged optimism.”
  • Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies: This new book from Otto Scharmer takes Theory “U” into the field as a tool for discovering and learning from new courses of action.
  • Local Dollars, Local Sense by Michael Shuman, one of the Post Carbon Institute’s Community Resilience Guides, explores how everyone can invest their money into building local businesses and resilient regional economies – exploring local options, explaining obstacles, and profiling investors who have paved the way.
  • Low Carbon Diet from Empowerment Institute is a guide to individual environmental behavior changes to reduce your annual household carbon emissions, from calculating your current carbon footprint to tracking progress.
  • A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster, by Rebecca Solnit, examines what becomes possible after disaster—moments of altruism, resourcefulness, and generosity that arise amid disaster’s grief and disruption—and considers their implications for everyday life. She points to a new vision of what society could become—less authoritarian and fearful, more collaborative and local.
  • Pedagogy of the Poor by Willie Baptist and Jan Rehmann is an interdisciplinary pedagogy that brings together antipoverty grassroots activism and relevant social theories about poverty.
  • The Post Carbon Reader collects essays by some of the world’s most provocative thinkers on the key issues shaping our new century, from renewable energy and urban agriculture to social justice and community resilience. (Available free online from Post Carbon Institute).
  • Power from the People by Greg Pahl, one of the Post Carbon Institute’s Community Resilience Guides, explores how American communities can plan, finance, and produce their own local, renewable energy, using examples from around the USA and the world.
  • The Power of Just Doing Stuff, by Transition Network founder Rob Hopkins, shares inspiring real-life examples of people who have created innovative local businesses and invested in all manner of new enterprises, arguing that this is the seed of a new economy, and the answer to our search for a new way forward.
  • Rebuilding the Foodshed by Philip Ackerman-Leist, one of the Post Carbon Institute’s Community Resilience Guides, refocuses the local-food lens on rebuilding regional food systems that can replace the destructive aspects of industrial agriculture, meet food demands affordably and sustainably, and be resilient enough to endure whatever future awaits us.
  • Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back, by Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy, explores the factors that cause some systems to break down and others to rebound, sharing breakthrough scientific discoveries, pioneering social and ecological innovations, and important new approaches to constructing a more resilient world, from the coral reefs of Palau to the back streets of Palestine.
  • Sustainable World Sourcebook: This International Book Award-winning book from the Sustainable World Coalition is a “one-stop shop” for essential information needed to alter our perilous trajectory of resource depletion, species extinction, and extreme societal inequities.
  • The Transition Handbook, by Transition Network founder Rob Hopkins, provides a vision and a model for a just, sustainable, and resilient world, by applying permaculture principles to redesign food, energy, and economic systems at the community level.
  • Walk Out, Walk On, by Deborah Frieze and Margaret Wheatley, profiles seven communities around the world where people have walked out of limiting beliefs and assumptions and walked on to create healthy and resilient communities, documenting their experiences through essays, stories, and beautiful color photographs.

Trainings & Events

  • Awakening the Dreamer Symposium from Pachamama Alliance is a multimedia presentation drawing on some of the most respected social and scientific experts of our time, interwoven with indigenous wisdom, to inspire and educate participants to bring forth an environmentally sustainable, socially just, and spiritually fulfilling world.
  • National Bioneers Conference: This annual conference held in San Rafael, California brings together leading social and scientific innovators to illuminate breakthrough solutions for restoring people and planet.
  • Transition Launch Training offers detailed introduction to the most important skills necessary to successfully set up, develop, and run a Transition project in your locality. It is designed for people who are just getting started or are already part of an effort, and can be used as a two-day in-person workshop or as an online course.
  • Generation Waking Up’s workshops & trainings mobilize young people locally and globally across issues, geography, and lines of difference, unleashing the collaborative power of the Millennial Generation.