From its beginning in Kinsale, Ireland and now globally, Transition has emerged as a process that acts as a catalyst, creating enthusiasm in communities to begin exploring and implementing rebuilding local communities in all aspects that they need to thrive.  The process has several qualities:

  • It is viral:  it spreads rapidly and pops up in the most unexpected places.
  • It is open source:  It is a model that people shape and take ownership of and is made available freely.
  • It is self-organizing:  It is not centrally controlled; rather it is something people take ownership of and make their own.
  • It is solutions focused:  It is inherently positive, not campaigning against things, but rather setting out a positive vision of a world that has embraced its limitations.
  • It is iterative:  It is continually learning from its successes and its failures and is continually redefining itself, trying to research what is working and what is not.
  • It is clarifying:  It offers a clear explanation of where humanity finds itself based on the best science available.
  • It is sensitive to place and scale:  It looks different wherever it goes.
  • It is historic:  It tries to create a sense of this moment as being a historic opportunity to do something extraordinary.
  • And most important it is joyful:  If it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right.

A model known as the “12 Steps (or Ingredients) of Transition” has emerged from the experience of early Transition initiatives.  This model supports Transition initiatives through the process of forming their groups, engaging their community, and working toward the creation of an “Energy Descent Action Plan” (EDAP), a kind of Plan B for the community that sets out how it could move toward a lower-carbon, resilient future.  The term “viral” is not used lightly.  Transition has grown exponentially, from just a handful of initiatives in 2007 to more than 462 official groups in 2014.  There are national Transition organizations in Sweden, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Japan, and the United States, and individual initiatives (including “mullers” considering becoming official) number in the thousands.

In the United States, the organization Transition US is sponsoring initiatives, supplying materials, and providing technical assistance for groups nationwide.  Launched in 2008, Transition US had more than 150 formally recognized Transition initiatives in thirty-seven states by the end of 2014 – and for every official Transition initiative there were at least four groups mulling over whether to become official.  The number of formal initiatives, as well as the number of people completing the “Training for Transition” course, is expected to increase significantly over the next few years.    Read “The Evolution of Transition in the US”