One day in 2005, Rob Hopkins, an ordinary British citizen, started knocking on his neighbors’ doors in the small town of Totnes, where he had just settled in. He was proposing that they come together to organize nothing less than a new, locally based economy. A new model, the Transition Town, harnessed resources at hand and modeled a new way of life: no longer expect food to arrive from the other side of the planet at great fuel costs, but instead create short food supply chains and cultivate all the available land (gardens, rooftops, municipal parks); no longer complain about pollution, but rally fellow citizens around a project of local renewable energy cooperatives; no longer rail against the banks and the stock markets, but adopt a local currency that enriches the community. His experience has been successful not only in Totnes; it has spread to 1,200 cities in 47 countries. Each of the Transition Towns are transforming their communities, without fanfare, without outside funding, making them more autonomous and more resilient to the crises looming ahead—a network of oases offering a wealth of solutions.
Hopkins’ charisma and his story spur us all to become the best we can be. He has revived a sense of hope, buried under years of resignation and the disillusionment of “economic realism.” The saga of the Transition Towns movement inspires us all to take action and tap into the unimagined capacities we all have to promote change.