Transition Town: Alternative Currencies for Local Growth

There are people in Adelaide, Ann Arbor and Arles, Bangkok, Barcelona and Boston, Cape Town, Cambridge and Chennai, and Limerick to London — all part of the global grass-roots Transition Initiative sprouting up around the planet. So just what is Transition anyway? According to a recent issue of the venerable UK magazine, Resurgence, “it is an extraordinary movement giving rise to an ever growing list of amazing and inspiring grass-roots projects…a 21st Century global phenomenon that continues to expand and thrive. A movement that politicians and other world leaders are sitting up and paying attention to”.

In an increasingly unstable, unequal world, local communities are building — getting together to figure out small-scale ways to prepare for what unknowns may be ahead. The aim is to ramp up levels of cooperation and connection that strengthen local resilience to reduce dependence upon — and better prepare for — the sudden or gradual breakdown of the systems upon which so many have come to depend. Whether it be financial; political; cyber-security; power-grids; gas supply streams, global and regional transport; medical supplies (as in Athens right now); food; water or housing, all can be impacted by climate change. How ironic that in an election year when there was no mention of environment in the US presidential debates, the financial center of New York is humbled, falling prey to the wrath of Mother Earth and when Ground Zero became a cascading waterfall. 

Bypassing the frantic shortsighted focus of quarterly results dictated by corporatocracy, Transitionʼs long view seeks to adapt to an increasingly unpredictable future. Heeding the words of E. F. Schumacherʼs “Small is Beautiful” people-centered economics — staying local is the watchword. 

Transitioners are conjuring simple and manageable self-sustaining means like solar cooperatives, planting gardens, growing food, sewing seeds, saving water, riding bikes, fixing tools, mending fences, keeping bees and chickens, relearning old ways, and developing local currencies “that re-circulates money within our own home towns”. Check out one working model in Massachussetts where 3.7 million shares have gone out from the banks since launching back in September 2006. Itʼs a small start but the working model has well over 135,000 Berkshares circulating and returning at any one time. 

Most of all Transition espouses banking on each other to share smarts, skills and abilities with neighbors, friends, families, and existing local groups, businesses and organizations. Transition emphasizes that working collaboratively together — more than anything by making connections and building relationships — can mean feeling more fulfilled and having fun in the process! After all, as Kenny Ausubel, Co-Founder of Bioneers, is wont to say “its all relatives”!

Learn more about Transition Network  here.



Judith Asphar is a member of and wrangling with a memoir to connect the dots between the western worldʼs approach to the nature of mothering at one end and humanityʼs impact on Mother Nature at the other!