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Why do Transition?

transition network conference 2011 photoPeople get involved in their local Transition initiatives for a range of reasons.

When Transition started it was framed very much as a response to peak oil and climate change.

As time has passed and the idea has taken root in more and more places, it has been fascinating to see the wide range of reasons why people get involved.

As part of the creation of 'The Transition Companion', we asked those involved in Transition why they do Transition. Here are the most common responses....

Why do Transition?

Because it feels way more fun than not doing it

Many people get involved because it is fun, because they get to meet and do stuff with new people, and because it is more exciting, nourishing and rewarding than not doing it. There’s the man in Lancaster who told me that even if nothing else ever came from his Transition group, he now knows 200 people he didn’t know before he got involved. There’s the woman in Tooting who told me “I’ve lived in Tooting for 22 years, but I think I’ve lived more in Tooting in the past two years since I’ve been involved in Transition than I have in the last 20 years.” There’s the experienced retired market gardener who found, through his local Transition group, an opportunity to pass his skills on to a new generation of young people . . .

When Steph Bradley of Transition Network walked around the UK visiting Transition initiatives,(1) again and again she heard tales of people engaged in Transition because they felt part of something really dynamic happening in their community. Very few people wanted detailed discussions about oil depletion rates or the latest reports on climate change; instead, they wanted to tell their stories about how their work with Transition was exciting them.

There is a palpable buzz that emerges from Transition projects. I have been to events in town and village halls or city venues, where hundreds of people have come together to celebrate the possibilities a more localised, lower-energy world could offer. Local currency launches, where local people, dignitaries and traders come together to celebrate the launch of the community’s own money. ‘Unleashings’ – big launch events that celebrate the place, its culture and a vision of the town’s future, featuring stories, choirs, food, dance, speeches and the sharing of hopes and visions, and where the sense of excitement is evident for all.

“It is best to think of this as a revolution, not of guns, but of consciousness, which will be won by seizing the key myths, archetypes, eschatologies and ecstasies so that life won’t seem worth living unless one is on the transforming energy’s side.” Gary Snyder (2)

Because of wanting a fairer world

There is a strong argument (3) that the more equal a society becomes, almost all desirable social indicators, such as literacy and life expectancy, rise, while undesirable ones, such as teenage pregnancies and mental illness, fall.

The gulf between rich and poor continues to rise, with many damaging impacts on global society. Many people are motivated to engage in Transition because a more local economy, in which assets and key enterprises are owned and managed by and on behalf of the local community, offers a far better route to social justice, as well as local economic resilience, than business-as-usual does. This is particularly pertinent in the current economic climate of austerity, with deep cuts and closure of services leading increasingly to a sense of injustice and unfairness.

Because of peak oil

One of the key concerns underpinning the Transition approach is peak oil. Oil, as Tony Blair once noted, is the ‘lifeblood’ of Western economies. Producing oil from a single oilfield follows a particular pattern. About halfway through its lifespan, production starts to tail away. Whether it actually looks like a peak or a more gently downward plateau, this pattern is seen over and over in individual oilfields, and indeed in the oil production of whole nations. Of the 105 current or former oil-producing nations, 65 are thought to have passed their geologically imposed production peak. (5) When might the world pass its overall peak in production?

“How might greater equality and policies to reduce carbon emissions go together? Given what inequality does to a society, and particularly how it heightens competitive consumption, it looks not only as if the two are complementary, but also as if governments may be unable to make big enough cuts in carbon emissions without reducing inequality.” Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (4)

It is not a question, as is often misunderstood, of ‘running out of oil’. We started running out of oil, of course, the moment we started using it (which is the pattern for any non-renewable resource).

In that regard, peak oil makes little difference. However, why it does matter, and matters very much, is because it marks a historic shift from the world’s economy having more oil available every year globally to having less. In a world fixated with the idea of perpetual growth, we don’t tend to do very well at having less of things, especially of things on which we are so dependent. 

“. . . we don’t know when exactly the oil is going to start peaking and production is going to start running down, but . . . we don’t as a nation want to be putting ourselves in hock . . . to these sorts of markets . . .” Chris Huhne, UK Energy Secretary, December 2010, interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme

Also, one side of the peak is very different from the other.

oil age two halves imageOn the upward side of the past 150 years (or the ‘Age of Cheap Oil’, if you like), oil has mostly been relatively inexpensive. It has been easy to produce, has been extracted from accessible places and relatively little energy has been needed to make it possible to extract far more energy. (In the 1930s, one unit of energy put into oil production could harvest 100 units of energy in the oil produced – energy output / energy input = 100:1, a remarkable return. Now it is somewhere around 20:1.)

As we pass into the downward half, we find the ‘easy’ oil is gone. We are finding fewer and fewer new oil fields. Those we do find are smaller and in less accessible places, the energy we get back compared to what we put in is far lower, and the resultant oil is more expensive. It is a very different new world.

“By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear and, as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD [million barrels per day].” The US Joint Operating Environment 2010 report, February 2010

It is important here to distinguish between ‘conventional’ and ‘unconventional’ oil.

Conventional oil – the sweet crude that comes gushing out of the ground under pressure – defined the last 150 years. The International Energy Agency (IEA), which had spent many years previously deriding the idea of peak oil, announced in one sentence tucked away in its 2010 World Energy Outlook (6) that

“crude oil output never regains its all-time peak of 70 million barrels per day reached in 2006”

and that output is now rapidly depleting. What is now making up the shortfall is what is referred to as ‘unconventional oil’, which includes deep-sea oil production, tar-sands oil production and making oil from coal. 

These unconventional oils make conventional oil production look ‘green’. They have far higher carbon emissions, use much more water, produce a lot more pollution and lower-grade fuels and often give us an energy return closer to 5:1 or less. Although some people argue that improving technology means that what are currently ‘unconventional’ fuels will one day become the new ‘conventional’ fuels (e.g. gas from coal), this is still a long way from reality, if indeed it is possible.

Globally, oil production has largely been on a plateau since May 2005, and, in early 2011, as the price of oil started to rise again, concerns have been raised by the IEA that economic recovery will be very difficult in a world of high or volatile oil prices.

The exact date of the peak is often debated, but in reality it is something we will only be able to see in hindsight. The forecasts of most relevant organisations have been steadily moved from further in the future back to nearer the present, many putting the date at any time between now and 2015.

Others have expressed concern that stated world oil reserves could have been exaggerated by up to a third, (7) and documents made available by WikiLeaks in February 2011 (8) suggested that Saudi Arabia’s reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – almost 40 per cent. 

A 2005 report that looked in detail at how much time the US economy would need to prepare for the peak (9) argued it would need 20 years, or 10 if the response were akin to a wartime mobilisation. Given this timescale, whether peak oil happens now or in five years is neither here nor there. We rely hugely on the unreliable, moving from a time where our sense of success and who we are is directly linked to how much oil we consume, to a time where our oil dependency is a key vulnerability. 

“Oil prices are entering a dangerous zone for the global economy. The oil import bills are becoming a threat to the economic recovery. This is a wake-up call to the oil-consuming countries and to the oil producers. It is not in the interest of anyone to see such high prices. Oil exporters need clients with healthy economies but these high prices will sooner or later make the economies sick, which would mean the need for importing oil will be less.” Fatih Birol, International Energy Agency, January 2010 (10)

Because it means they can do that project they have always dreamed of

Transition creates a space and a context within which people are invited to get going on projects they are passionate about, with the support of a larger organisation and with connections to other projects.

Events such as Open Space (see Tools for Transition No.15: Community brainstorming tools) let people meet others who share the same passions, to create an environment in which it feels natural to start and make things happen.

Start a community bakery? A farm? An energy company? A food garden on the roof of your local supermarket?

Why not?

Because of climate change

The basic notion of climate change, that carbon dioxide and water vapour trap energy from the sun in the Earth’s atmosphere and stop it being bounced back out into space, was established in the mid-nineteenth century. Without that process, our planet would be 20-30°C colder than it is today. 

Since then, due to the combustion of fossil fuels, the average temperature of the planet has risen by 0.8°C, and due to the time lag between greenhouse gases being released and their impact, we know that a further 0.6°C rise is unavoidable regardless of what we do today.

The body of scientific evidence supporting the idea that human activity, largely through the combustion of hydrocarbons, is changing the climate is overwhelming. This is not intended to be a comprehensive guide.

I am going to focus on the science that emerged in 2010, a year that provided alarming new data and broke many climate records. 

  • December 2009 to November 2010 was, according to NASA,11 globally the hottest year on record. Nineteen countries broke their all-time temperature records,12 with Pakistan recording a temperature of 53.3°C, and record temperatures in Russia leading to the country’s worst-ever forest fires.
  • The Earth’s warmer atmosphere is now able to hold 4 per cent more water vapour than before, resulting in more storms and floods, and an increase of total global rainfall of 1.5 per cent a decade.13 On this evidence, it is impossible to absolutely attribute to climate change individual events such as the Australian, Brazilian or Sri Lankan floods of early 2011, but, as James Hansen puts it, “would recent extreme events have occurred if atmospheric carbon dioxide had remained at its pre-industrial level of 280 parts per million? The appropriate answer is ‘almost certainly not’.”14
  • East Siberia’s vast stores of undersea methane, containing 1.5 trillion tonnes of carbon – twice that presently in the world’s atmosphere – have begun to melt and release methane. (15)
  • Warming of the world’s soils means they are releasing CO2 at much greater rates than had been predicted. “There’s a big pulse of carbon dioxide coming off the surface of the soil everywhere in the world,” said ecologist Ben Bond-Lamberty of the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. (16) One 2005 study (17) that looked at soils in England and Wales found they had become a net emitter of CO2, losing 13 million tons of carbon per year, regardless of the form of land use, which suggested that warming was to blame.
  • Sea ice in the Arctic continues to decline in both extent and thickness, and by December 2010 had reached the third lowest extent ever recorded. Mark Serreze, Director of the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, was quoted as saying “all indications are that sea ice will continue to decline over the next several decades. We are still looking at a seasonally ice-free Arctic in twenty to thirty years.” (18)
  • 2010’s drought in the Amazon rainforest meant that the forest, usually expected to be a net absorber of carbon dioxide, emitted more CO2 than the whole of the United States. The previous drought on such a scale, in 2005, was said by scientists to have been a once-in-a-lifetime drought. The Amazon’s becoming a net emitter of greenhouse gases has been predicted in many climate models, and would appear to be rapidly becoming a reality. (19) 

Climate change is often talked of in a future tense, that we need to do things now to prevent future disasters, but for those who have suffered from fire, drought and flooding on a Biblical scale over the last few years the impacts of climate change have already arrived.

“What is happening now in our central regions is evidence of this global climate change, because we have never in our history faced such weather conditions in the past.” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, December 2010

“It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.” Elizabeth Kolbert (20)

So if we are to reduce our carbon emissions in order to avoid runaway climate change, what scale of cuts are we looking at?

One of the most detailed studies of this (21) concluded that the world’s emissions will need to have peaked by 2020 and that a 72 per cent cut by 2050 will give us an 84 per cent chance of avoiding runaway climate change. In practical terms, this means that where we are heading in terms of personal emissions is somewhere between an 86 and 92 per cent reduction on 1990 levels by 2050.

It is worth stopping to read that twice.   

To put that figure in perspective, it is roughly the per-capita emissions produced by Mozambique today.

On top of this, there are those who argue that our current emissions are deceptively low because they don’t take into account all the goods we import, and the emissions caused by their manufacture and transportation. (22)

Creating a low-carbon economy is, after all, much easier if you no longer manufacture anything. It is estimated that around a quarter of China’s emissions come from producing goods for export. With the average UK carbon footprint being 9.7 tonnes, our imports of goods add another 4.7 tonnes per person, amounting to nearly 50 per cent. (23) It is clear that the challenge of climate change is about far more than low-energy bulbs, solar panels and slower driving speeds.

It is about a profound shift in what we do and how we do it; a complete adjustment of what we imagine to be lying in front of us, of our expectations of the future. Many people would think it is completely unachievable. But let’s move forward, keeping the option open that it might actually just about be do-able, and see where it gets us. 

“The only plausible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change.” Munich Re Insurance (24)

Because of fear

Fear is a natural, reasonable and powerful motivator. It is hard to look at the data on peak oil and climate change, as we have just done, and not feel fearful in the pit of your stomach. For some, engaging in Transition is their way of acting in order to stay sane. Sitting on our own feeling fearful is a wretched state that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

While engaging in Transition may not make the fear go away, working with others and sharing your fears and hopes can be a lifesaver, and a way of avoiding feeling overwhelmed. This is one of the reasons that the idea that Transition is also an inner process has been hard-wired into the concept.

Because of the economic crisis

The crisis most in the public eye since 2008 hasn’t been peak oil or climate change. It has been the economic crisis: the mountain of debt we have accumulated during the huge party that the Age of Cheap Oil made possible.

This intense period of economic unravelling has been fascinating, terrifying and enlightening. The issuing of money as debt means that economic growth has become necessary just to stand still. This has spiralled debt to levels that can never be fully repaid. Governments can borrow money on the financial markets only because those markets have faith that they will be repaid.

That faith is in turn based on the expectation that taxes will be paid on income from increased future GDP.

One of the pillars of economic growth is cheap energy, which enables economic growth.

As Jeff Rubin, Chief Economist at CIBC World Markets, puts it,

“virtually every dollar of world GDP requires energy to produce”. (25)

I have yet to see a convincing argument as to how economic growth will be possible in a world of volatile oil prices. Indeed, Fatih Birol of the International Energy Agency warned in 2011 that oil prices are entering the ‘danger zone’, which could derail any fragile economic growth under way. (26)

“Conventional economic growth and cheap oil have marched hand in hand for the best part of 60 years; within just a few years, it will have become increasingly apparent that both are on their last legs.” Jonathan Porritt (27)

Part of the reason for the current economic crisis has been the excessive risks bankers have taken with our money.

Risk-taking is endemic in the financial services sector, where money is made by gambling on currencies rising or falling, making unstable economies more lucrative than stable ones. This instability can be disastrous. A boom economy is highly destructive, leading to over-consumption and debt; a bust economy leads to great uncertainty and misery.

Pursuing economic growth at all costs is proving to be our undoing.

A growing economy by necessity consumes more resources, and produces more carbon emissions, pollution and debt, yet doesn’t necessarily make us any happier. If the economy manages 3 per cent per year growth over the next 100 years, it will mean a doubling of economic activity every 23 years. (28)

By 2100, which many children born today will see, global consumption will have increased by around 1,600 per cent. And this on a planet already groaning under the weight of industrial activity and the over-exploitation of resources. Professor Roderick Smith of Imperial College London argues that at those rates of growth, between now and 2100 we will have used 16 times as many economic resources as humanity has used since it mastered the arts of fire and flint knapping. (30) 

“If we want to thrive, we need to move from a growth imperative to a resilience imperative.” Thomas Homer-Dixon (29)

Although the idea is often touted that a low-carbon economy with economic growth is possible, experience indicates that it is only when economies stop growing that carbon emissions fall.

For example, the UK’s carbon emissions fell for the first time in 2009 by 8.7 per cent, as a result of the economic downturn. (31)

The idea of an economy that doesn’t grow any more is usually presented as a disaster. Yet is there life beyond growth?

Professor Tim Jackson of the University of Surrey has called for a shift from quantitative to qualitative growth. He argues that the term ‘prosperity’ needs redefining, (32) and that levels of education, equity, happiness and well-being, amongst other things, are better indications of prosperity than GDP.

Japan’s economy, for example, hasn’t grown since the mid-1990s. Although it can’t be called a ‘steady state economy’ (it is not a ‘one planet’ economy by any means), Japan was, before the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami of 2011, perhaps one of the first ‘post-growth’ nations: the trains ran on time, unemployment was only 5 per cent, literacy was high and it had the highest life expectancy in the world. (34) 

“The politicians know just how catastrophic it is going to be, and just think well there’s nothing we can do so we’re just going to not bother telling them . . . fiddle around, drop the interest rate . . . I believe we are heading towards The End of Days, economically speaking, and that you’d better get yourself an allotment, personally.” Jeremy Clarkson, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, 4 December 2008 (33)

Governments are still talking about getting ‘back to growth’, while debates grow as to whether that is a good thing. The UK government has introduced ‘well-being indicators’ alongside others, but is still wedded to the concept of growth. It is possible (depending on the theory) that our economies can return to growth. However, it is reasonable to ask whether what we are going to see isn’t growth, or a ‘double-dip’ recession, but rather what Richard Heinberg has termed an ‘L-shaped’ recovery – a continued contraction until we reach a stable point.

“It is not like an ordinary recession where you lose output and get it back quickly. You may not get it back for many years, if ever, and that is a big long-run loss of living standards for all people in this country.” Mervyn King, Governor, Bank of England, March 2011 (35)

I don’t know whether economist Nicole Foss (‘Stoneleigh’) is right when she talks of an imminent economic crash,36 or whether Herman Daly is right when he argues that a ‘steady-state’ economy is a possibility. (37)

I do know that businessman Martin Sorrell was wrong in 2008 when he told the BBC that 2009 would be a tough year but that the economy would recover in 2010 due to the World Cup football and the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. (38) Economies, he smoothly told millions of listeners across the UK, are cyclical, moving from one state to another. Economic cycles are a natural phenomenon – underpinned, presumably, by the occurrence of major international sporting events. Well, at least we know that prognosis was wrong.

Given the events of the years since 2008, when bankers’ risk-taking brought the economy to the brink of collapse (or, in Ireland’s case, over the brink), and while we struggle with the huge debts they created (and they are paying bonuses again), I take talk of ‘economic recovery’ with a large pinch of salt.

For me, the best place to invest in is your local community.

The best debts are those that are as small as possible. Economic growth and renewed prosperity will come in a large part from diverse, vibrant and robust local economies. The best response we can make to our economic instability is to shift our support to an economy based on social justice, resilience and protection of the biosphere. Nothing else makes sense.

Because it feels like the most appropriate thing to be doing

This is what blogger and writer Sharon Astyk calls ‘The Theory of Anyway’. She argues that what Transition promotes – living more simply, using less, reconnecting to our local economy and to more seasonal foods – are what she would still be doing ‘anyway’, even if climate change proved to be no longer a problem, or peak oil was ‘solved’. She says this because “they are the right thing to do on many levels”, connecting us more with place, with each other and with ourselves.

“We are living in extraordinary times: 2008 is likely to be seen by our children as a watershed moment – the end of a glittering party, when we consumed, celeb-rated and indulged ourselves like we were guests at a table groaning with good things that would never end. Circumstances demand we become wiser now.” Paula Reed, fashion journalist for Grazia magazine (39)

The aspects of Transition I am involved with where I live are some of the most exciting things in my life.

As well as the social side, the new friendships and connections I have made, what excites me is the changes happening around me. Already in my community, after four years of the Transition process here, I can walk the streets and see trees we have planted, food gardens that exist because of our work and solar photovoltaic panels on the town hall and on many homes in streets across the town.

Friends of mine have cut their carbon emissions and met new people thanks to projects we have run. Then there are the larger-scale, longer-term projects – the community energy company I now own shares in; the proposed community farm; the project aiming to bring a large site in the town into community ownership and to develop it as a community asset.

“In our view, things have to get better before they can get better. Immiseration theory – the view that increasing suffering leads to progressive social change – has been repeatedly discredited by history.” Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger (40)

There is a palpable sense that something is turning, a momentum is building; and people come from around the world to visit this place because of the stories of what it has achieved. In that sense, whether you believe in climate change or peak oil is neither here nor there (although an understanding of them clearly helps shape the work that Transition initiatives do).

Rather, Transition is an invitation to be part of changing the place you live, to be part of a process of making it more entrepreneurial, better connected, happier and healthier. Do we make change happen by striving to shock or depress everyone into action, or by creating a thrilling, fascinating process that people can put their shoulders to if they wish?

“Because it gives me hope . . .”

Hope is in pretty short supply these days. Constant grim news about climate change, the economy, a wide range of environmental issues, job losses, inflation and so on, can leave people feeling hopeless.

A sense of powerlessness can take over and leave people feeling numb, that nothing’s going to change, no one cares and it’s all too late. Transition, for many people, is a way back into feeling that it is possible to make a difference.

A study in 2009 of Transition Norwich (41) found that around a third of those involved had at some point been involved with environmental or community initiatives, but had left feeling burnt out and ineffective.

Transition had re-energised and brought them back in (although as we shall see, burnout is still a risk, as it is in any field of activism). We often underestimate the power of hope – what in Transition we call ‘engaged optimism’. Getting started and making change in our lives is a hopeful activity that touches people deeply.

References (from the points in brackets)

  1. www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/steph-bradley.
  2. Snyder, G. (1974) ‘Four changes’, in Turtle Island. New Directions Publishing, p.101.
  3. Most clearly and forcefully set out in Wilkinson, R. & Pickett, K. (2010) The Spirit Level: Why equality is better for everyone. Penguin.
  4. Ibid. 
  5. Figures from David Strahan at http://lastoilshock.com/map.html.
  6. www.worldenergyoutlook.org/docs/weo2010/WEO2010_es_english.pdf.
  7. Owen, N. A., Inderwildi, O. R. & King, D. A. (2010) ‘The status of conventional world oil reserves – hype or cause for concern?’ Energy Policy, 38(8): 4743-9.
  8. Vidal, J. (2011) ‘WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices: US diplomat convinced by Saudi expert that reserves of world’s biggest oil exporter have been overstated by nearly 40%’. The Guardian, 8 February 2011, http://tinyurl.com/6dqnjnq.
  9. Hirsch, R. L., Bezdek, R. & Wendling, R. (2005) Peaking of World Oil Production – Impacts, mitigation and risk management. National Energy Technology Laboratory, US Department of Energy.
  10. http://tinyurl.com/3a2ec9d.
  11. http://tinyurl.com/2a6xp9n.
  12. http://tinyurl.com/2fpwjm4.
  13. ‘New study links severe storm increases, global warming’. Pasadena Star News, 27 December 2008.
  14. http://tinyurl.com/2e85q46.
  15. Shakhova, N., Semiletov, I., Salyuk, A., Yusupov, V., Kosmach, D. & Gustafsson, O. (2010) ‘Extensive methane venting to the atmosphere from sediments of the East Siberian Arctic’, Science, 327(5970): 1246-50.
  16. ‘Even soil feels the heat: soils release more carbon dioxide as globe warms’. Science Daily, 25 March 2010, http://tinyurl.com/6a9ratd.
  17. Bellamy, P. H., Loveland, P. J., Bradley, R. I., Lark, R. M. & Kirk, G. J. D. (2005) ‘Carbon losses from all soils across England and Wales 1978-2003’. Nature, 437: 245-8. doi: 10.1038/nature04038.
  18. http://tinyurl.com/6khm46t.
  19. Grudgings, S. (2011) ‘Amazon drought caused huge carbon emissions’. Reuters, 2 February 2011, http://tinyurl.com/5slxs6g.
  20. Kolbert, E. (2007). Field Notes from a Catastrophe: A frontline report on climate change. Bloomsbury Publishing.
  21. Meinshausen, M., Meinshausen, N., Hare, W., Raper, S. C. B., Frieler, K., Knutti, R., Frame, D. J. & Allen, M. R. (2009) ‘Greenhouse-gas emission targets for limiting global warming to 2 degrees C’. Nature, 458: 1158-62.
  22. Helm, D., Smale, R. & Phillips, J. (2007) ‘Too good to be true? The UK’s climate change record’, www.dieterhelm.co.uk/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/Carbon_record_2007.pdf.
  23. Sample, I. (2010) ‘UK import emissions are the highest in Europe, figures show: Study finds 253m tonnes of CO2 are released annually in the manufacture of products bound for UK shores – mostly in the developing world’. The Guardian, 8 March 2010, http://tinyurl.com/6estzj6.
  24. Munich Re Insurance (2010) press release, 27 September 2010: ‘Two months to Cancun climate summit / large number of weather extremes as strong indicator of climate change’, http://tinyurl.com/5r4socu.
  25. Rubin, J. (2009) Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: What the price of oil means for the way we live. Virgin Books, p.206.
  26. Rushe, D. (2011) ‘Oil prices may threaten global economic recovery, says energy agency: as crude oil prices hit $95 a barrel, it is in a “danger zone” which may derail recovery, says chief economist at Paris’s IEA’. The Guardian, 5 January 2011, http://tinyurl.com/4befnje.
  27. Porritt, J. (2005) Capitalism: As if the world matters. Earthscan Publications, p.63.
  28. Monbiot, G. (2008) ‘Population bombs’, www.monbiot.com/archives/2008/01/29/population-bombs, 29 January 2008.
  29. Homer-Dixon, T. (2007) The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, creativity and the renewal of civilisation. Souvenir Press.
  30. Smith, R. A. ‘Carpe Diem: The dangers of risk aversion’. Lecture to the Royal Academy of Engineering, 29 May 2007. Reprinted in Civil Engineering Surveyor, October 2007.
  31. http://tinyurl.com/62z6z6g.
  32. Jackson, T. (2009) Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a finite planet. Earthscan Publications.
  33. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7766057.stm.
  34. http://postgrowth.org/japan-the-worlds-first-post-growth-economy.
  35. Farrell, S. (2011) ‘King says living standards may never recover from the crisis: Bank of England Governor strikes dovish note on timing of interest-rate increase’. The Independent, 2 March 2011, http://tinyurl.com/4flddvj.
  36. You can hear the talk she gave at the 2010 Transition Network conference at http://tinyurl.com/23p4uxc.
  37. Daly, H. E. (1977) Steady-state Economics: The economics of biophysical equilibrium and moral growth. W. H. Freeman and Company.
  38. For more on this see http://tinyurl.com/6he37v6.
  39. Shields, R., ‘Moss’s £60 high street frock is named Dress of the Year: the model beats fashion greats such as Galliano and Gaultier’. The Independent, 3 May 2009, http://tinyurl.com/cza6er.
  40. Nordhaus, T., & Shellenberger, M. (2009) Break Through: Why we can’t leave saving the planet to environmentalists. Mariner Books.
  41. Seyfang, G. (2009) ‘Transition Norwich: A fine city in Transition’. Report of the 2009 Membership survey, University of East Anglia, http://tinyurl.com/63vnakr.
  42. Thompson, S., Abdullah, S., Marks, N., Simms, A. & Johnson, V. (2007) The European unHappy Index: An index of carbon efficiency and well being in the EU. new economics foundation.
  43. http://tinyurl.com/6c59gae.
  44. The UK Office for National Statistics, www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=206.
  45. See, for instance, Putnam, R. D. (2000) Bowling Alone: The collapse and revival of American community. Simon & Schuster.