Inspired by the idea of building resilience around local, grassroots economies in response to peak oil and climate change, the transition movement has evolved into a global network of cities, towns, and neighborhoods that self-organize around the principles not only of reducing CO2 emissions but doing it by fostering happy, healthy, and creative communities.
If you've ever looked for an iron-clad case that the fossil energy supply is out-of-control, over-the-top destructive --of planet, wildlife, people's health and culture-- then check out Energy, the latest publication of the Post Carbon Institute.
The word "breathtaking" has become cliche when put with "photographs" but here it really applies. You will gasp aloud as you turn each page. (even my teens did) And then you'll want to show the pictures to more people, because you can't keep this kind of stuff to yourself. Coal strip mines. Spawling oil fields. Landscape wracked by palm oil plantations. The debris of Fukushima. And of course the BP oil platform going down in flames.
Well, we have now passed the much awaited date of 12/21/12, the end of the Mayan calendar, which many feared would bring the end of civilization. Some of us expected the apocalypse and others proclaimed this a time of awakening consciousness. Friends made pilgrimages to the Mayan pyramids, conducted workshops, held vigils, went on retreats, performed rituals, or even hid out and lay low, while others considered it just another day. So with all those perspectives and responses, what was it really all about? Is there anything to it or do we just make it all up?
There is still plenty you can do. Even though California Proposition 37 failed on the November ballot as a grassroots effort to get genetically engineered food labeled in California, there is still plenty that you can do. Since California produces well over 25% of the nation's fruits and vegetables, and nearly 100% of some produce items, California's Proposition 37 was a huge statement to the GMO-pushers, that WE WANT TO KNOW what is in our food. The ballot initiative didn't pass this time, but we-the-people have not gone away. The 2012 ballot initiative got turned into a David-vs-Goliath fight. Corporate profiteers poured an outrageous $46 million into the campaign to suppress labeling, completely bulldozing the humble $9 million scrapped together by grassroots citizens in favor of labeling GMOs. The corporate interests deluged the general public with misleading television ads in the final weeks of the election season, spreading false information to the unknowing. Despite all that, the initiative still emerged with 47% of the vote. And we aren't done yet.
Regardless of who wins the election today, that man will proceed forward with the knowledge that half of the voting public did not support him. Regardless of which candidate "wins," he will struggle to act with a similarly divided Congress. If there ever was a time for a book like Susan Clark's and Woden Teachout's Slow Democracy, that time is today.
Early in its pages, Clark and Teachout poke fun at their own title: who wants their democracy to be "slow"? Yet rather than snail's pace, Clark and Teachout had a very different definition in mind. Building from the energy of the Slow Food movement, they envision recapturing some of the more intangible and precious aspects of democracy -- aspects which America has abandoned in our relentless pursuit of "efficiency."