Transition Sydney

What is a Transition Initiative

Transition initiatives focus on relocalisation, to the greatest possible extent, of food production and distribution, clean energy production, water harvesting & recycling, building more local economic activity (buying local) and reducing the collective carbon footprint. They are community initiated and community driven.

A Transition Initiative is a conscious community-initiated and organised activity aimed at increasing the community's own resilience - its ability to adjust to substantial changes and challenges without falling apart.

What do we mean by a "community" - it could be a small town or village, a rural region of several towns, a metropolitan local government area, suburb or even a part of a suburb. In the greater Sydney region most of these types of communities exist. A common thread is that the people living in or working in a particular area identify the place as their community, and engage regularly in its social and economic activities.

It all starts off when a small collection of motivated individuals within a community come together with a shared concern which can be expressed by the question: "for all those aspects of life that this community needs in order to sustain itself and thrive, how do we significantly increase resilience (to mitigate the effects of Peak Oil) and drastically reduce carbon emissions (to mitigate the effects of Climate Change)?"

They begin by forming an initiating group and then adopt the Transition Model with the intention of engaging a significant proportion of the people in their community to kick off a Transition Initiative.


Initiatives then go through a comprehensive and creative process of:

  • awareness raising around peak oil, climate change and the need to undertake a community led process to rebuild resilience and reduce its carbon 'footprint'
  • connecting with existing groups in the community
  • building bridges to local government
  • connecting with other transition initiatives
  • forming groups to look at all the key areas of life (food, energy, transport, health, heart & soul, economics & livelihoods, etc)
  • kicking off projects aimed at building people's understanding of resilience and carbon issues and community engagement
  • eventually launching a community defined, community implemented "Energy Descent Action Plan" over a 15 to 20 year timescale

This results in a coordinated range of projects across all these areas of life that strives to rebuild the resilience we've lost as a result of cheap oil and reduce the community's carbon emissions drastically.

Transition Initiatives are based on four key assumptions:

  • That life with dramatically lower energy consumption is inevitable, and that it’s better to plan for it than to be taken by surprise.
  • That our settlements and communities presently lack the resilience to enable them to weather the severe energy shocks that will accompany peak oil.
  • That we have to act collectively, and we have to act now.
  • That by unleashing the collective genius of those around us to creatively and proactively design our energy descent, we can build ways of living that are more connected, more enriching, and that recognise the biological limits of our planet.

Transition  initiatives are bringing people together out of a desire to explore how we - and our communities - can respond to the twin challenges of climate change and peak oil. We know we don’t have all the answers but we believe we have the innovation to create those solutions.

Each transition group networks with their local community on a coordinated range of projects designed to transition from high energy to low energy lifestyles in a positive and creative manner. Our aim is to re-localise our communities, making them vibrant, resilient and truly sustainable.

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