Good & Scary


Both the weaknesses and the strengths of The Transition Handbook: from oil dependency to local resilience make it a valuable read for practitioners of CED and social economy.

Rob Hopkins divides his book into two parts. First he supplies a critical summary of the works of other analysts of Peak Oil and climate change. Unlike many others, Hopkins explains the interconnection of these two threats calmly and clearly, and without gleeful hyperbole. He wants to move people to action, not to paralyze them with fear or guilt. The second part of the book is devoted to stories, tools, and concepts to help communities come together and prepare for dramatic change.

The book is strong on galvanizing community consciousness and imagining compelling futures. It is weak on viable strategies for realizing these visions. Hopkins focus is on individual communities, like the Transition Towns whose creative strategies for relocalizing economy and society he celebrates. He would have been wiser to explain techniques of regional collaboration and how the concept of resiliency interrelates social, economic, and ecological issues. We have to learn such habits of collective, systematic, and long-term thought and action if we ever expect to beat the oil habit.

Hopkins' Transition Handbook is strong on diagnosis, less so on prescription
Cabaj, Paul
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