May 072011

Haven’t written much lately about the world-wide Transition Movement which we are trying to be a part of by building gardens, starting orchards, relearning lost skills and planning for disaster.

“The core purpose of the Transition Initiative is to address, at the community level, the twin issues of climate change and peak oil—the declining availability of “ancient sunlight,” as fossil fuels have been called. The initiative is set up to enable towns or neighborhoods to plan for, and move toward, a post-oil and low-carbon future: what Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Initiative, has termed “the great transition of our time, away from fossil fuels.” The world-wide economic debacle has insinuated itself into the motives for Transition which can be summarized as “preparing for an uncertain future.”

That great guru of the twentieth century, Yogi Berra, famously said that, “Predictions are difficult, especially about the future.” At this point, however, it’s hard to argue against the multiple realities of Peak Oil, climate change and economic disruption. As a result, the Transition Movement is gaining steam with world-wide initiatives. summarizes them here: There’s lots of gardening, energy fairs, re-skilling activities, natural building, bicycling with videos that demonstrate this is a world phenomenon.

Although we have never formalized a Transition Lummi Island I think we are moving forward. If one considers the Disaster Preparedness Group which is gaining traction on the island (to get ready for short-term emergencies like winter storm, tsunami, volcanic eruption, wildfire, etc.), it’s possible to see the arc of these activities extended to a longer term. We are attempting to organize neighborhoods and utilize existing island organizations to manage the broad functions of: food, power, water/sewer, shelter and medical. Once this is organized properly it would seem logical to broaden the planning and training beyond the short term.

Our success in the future won’t depend on me having a garden or some rain water storage. It won’t depend on a few people who know how to preserve food or wildcraft. It won’t depend on the handful who have electric cars or bikes. It won’t depend on the fishermen and hunters. It will depend entirely on the ability of the community to work together in mutual support.

The problems we potentially face are overwhelming in scope. That’s the beauty of the Transition Movement because it focuses on the local, on what a smaller community can do that is practical, real, useful and visible.

“Transition communities have…looked at their own situation in various practical frames—for example, food production, energy use, building, waste, and transport—seeking to move toward a situation where a community could be self-reliant…. Strategies have included the promotion of local food production, planting fruit trees in public spaces, community gardening, and community composting…There are projects of seed saving, seed swapping, and creating allotments—small parcels of land on which individuals can grow fruit and vegetables…People never need communities more than when there are threats to security, food, and lives. The Transition Initiative recognizes how much we need this scale now, because of peak oil and climate change.”


  4 Responses to “Disaster Preparedness and Transition”

  1. What is your tolerance for risk? A simple enough question.
    Would you drive to the islander and not buckle up? Probably.
    Would you board an airliner where the Captain announced “all the primary systems are functioning normally, but all the backup systems are broken”. Humm… I think I’d take another flight
    Or how about laying all your retirement savings on either red or black at a casino? or as Dirty Harry says, “Are you feeling lucky?”
    I don’t completely buy into the peak oil disaster scenario, or massive climate change either. But enough evidence has been presented, along with the fact that our society runs on oil, and there isn’t any being produced in the ground to replace all we have taken, and will continue to burn until it’s gone.
    I’m not lucky, and have a lower tolerance for risk than most. Enough sensors have recorded enough data to more than prove the case the planet is warming up.
    That’s why I’m planting trees, and working on disaster preparedness these days.
    It’s a small premium to pay on an insurance policy for the future, just like I gladly pay my fire insurance premium when the bill comes in.

  2. My newest addition to disaster preparedness is to always have my helmet shield down when driving by David and Randy’s respective homes.

  3. Jim,

    A good idea. And I have decided to not be so casual and start wearing a veil and gloves all the time.

  4. New nickname – Yogi (smarter than the average bear)

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