What Transition Is
Transition is one of the few organizations (outside a few underfunded think-tanks) that tells the truth about climate, energy, and our ecology, while at the same time connecting these truths to issues of social justice, economic inequality, a peace movement, and an understanding of complex international geo-politics, while at the same time yet again, rolling up its sleeves and building things.
Its message, in short, is that we need to power-down, rather than maintain our current way of life by plugging into an alternative power source while hoping for some new and magical levels of efficiency that are more or less mathematically and thermodynamically impossible. It is the truth-telling organization that can remind those engaged in social justice, healing, or the protection of nature that unless we stop consuming at our current rate, any other kind of progress is temporary at best. It is the truth-telling organization that can show, not just by charts and graphs but by models for a new culture, the interconnection between economic displacement and our changing climate, between inner turmoil and a colonial mindset, between our cultural traumas and our addictive consumerism.
The concept of energy descent, and of the Transition approach, is a simple one: that the future with less oil could be preferable to the present, but only if sufficient creativity and imagination are applied early enough in the design of this transition.
We have a choice. We can descend the hill on which we are standing if the same imagination and drive that got us to the top in the first place can be harnessed. The reality is that the only way from here is down (in net energy terms), but that ‘down’ need not necessarily mean deprivation, misery, and collapse. . . . The idea of energy descent is that each step back down the hill could mean a step towards sanity, towards place, and towards wholeness. It is a coming back to who we really are. . . . Energy descent is, ultimately about energy ascent—the re-energizing of communities and culture—and is the key to our realistically embracing the possibilities of our situation than being overwhelmed by their challenges.
— The Transition Handbook