Transition Towns: “Right-Side-Upping” an Upside Down World

July 17, 2012 by Frontline Copy

by Faith Attaguile

How to make our planet sustainble

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.”
Albert Einstein


Ever heard of the Transition Town Movement? If you haven’t, you’re missing out.

Because it’s a movement with a touch of genius.

The people in this movement ask a thoughtful question: Should we exist to serve the economy … or should the economy exist to serve us?

They’re answering that question by imagining a world shaped by community needs. Driven from the bottom up. By people, not money.

And powered by a spirit of optimism that says the end of cheap oil doesn’t have to mean collapse. It can also mean opportunity.

They’re talking about “rightside-upping” an upside down world.

Now that’s an idea whose time has come!

As Transition Town Movement co-founder Rob Hopkins says, “Transition initiatives are all works in progress.”

They’re design projects with no one leader.

Instead, they’re driven by people working together as collaborators on projects that are colored, shaped and driven by local needs, strengths, intelligence and imagination.

And they’re going viral.

Where on Earth is your transition town?

Some say there’s no reason why we can’t build a post-carbon world better than the one we have now.

The growing movement is proving them right. Local projects are springing up all over the place, all over the world. They’re taking hundreds of forms and include projects ranging from:

  • tool-sharing to garden exchanges
  • tree planting to community-based energy projects
  • re-skilling and education to community-supported farms and breweries
  • community ownership of assets to 10-year energy plans

Each project is different, yet all of them have one thing in common. A focus on building local resilience in a post-carbon world … by unleashing the collective genius of the community.

Take a look at the transition initiatives that have popped up worldwide since Hopkins joined with others in 2003 to start the first Transition Town in Kinsale, Ireland:, sustainable planet, sustainable future, transition initiatives


This is an interactive map, so if you go to, you can find your community and connect with like-minded people close to you who want to work on these issues.

Transitioning in North Carolina

We know the stories of collapse coming out of the end of cheap oil and beginning of climate change.

But have we heard the stories of hope? The stories of people who are creating a new world based on community cooperation and resilience? A world where less is actually more?

Probably not so much.

Yet they exist. All over the world.

Telling these stories is what our “Earth in Transition” series is all about. So here’s a story about how some people in North Carolina are mending their world (and ours):

A Touch of Genius

People active in the Transition Town movement come from all walks of life. They’re lawyers, artists, business people, activists, farmers and students, elders and children.

They’re active not just in rural areas as shown in the above video. They’re changing towns and cities, too. And neighborhoods within cities.

The stories they’re writing are about real people … living in real communities … in the real post-carbon world.

Stories about snatching opportunity out of the jaws of necessity. Building stronger, more carbon neutral, happier communities.

There’s truly a touch of genius in this idea. And it’s a genius that might just beat the rap.

Wouldn’t you like to take part?

Explore the transition town movement website, then wander back into your own community and work on your own initiatives:

Want to guest post for our Earth in Transition blog series?
If you’re part of a transition initiative in your community or have an Earth in Transition story, we’d love to hear from you.

If you’d like to write a guest post, contact me at to publish it here. Or write your ideas in the comment box below and send them on to me. If you’re ready to write your story now, check out our post guidelines here. Then write your post and submit it to

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The above image "Together ... we can mend the world" by Frontline Copy (Faith Attaguile) is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Feel free to share the image anywhere but please be nice and link it back here!

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