Critique of the Transitions Movement.


The Transitions Movement [also referred to as Transition Towns] is said to build resilience amongst small communities by returning them to a localized land economy.[1]  In this essay I argue that the most devastating impacts on life and land are caused by the desire for territory, raw resources and ongoing wars.   I contend that localization will not create appropriate change it will merely allow for the re-territorialization of existing power relations.  Further, in the context of escalating regional violence I argue that stand alone localization will enforce feelings of patriotism, nationalism and xenophobia.

Localization puts a strong focus on resilience and protection for local communities by way of limiting consumption and growing local food.  There is always justification for reducing consumption and improving domestic food productivity, but its necessity pales against the desperation felt by the world’s impoverished millions who must rely on the international community for support.  Many of these people are the victims of government mismanagement, secret dealings, corporate greed and renewed colonization; added to this are the growing impacts of global warming.  Most of these problems are caused by  capitalism. The Transitions movement is not against capitalism it merely colors it green and calls it sustainable. Living with sustainable capitalism does not equate with a sustainable world.   Undoubtedly, local communities need resilience and self-help is generally a good means of positive reinforcement and psychological uplifting when times are hard, but the local and the global are important. The history of western development is one of exploiting the pre-modern world and global warming is not sufficient reason to abandon these now developing populations or for suggesting they fend for themselves. The world needs a strong global social movement to combat poverty, aggression and climate change.  Environment issues are global and the well being of the planet is contingent on the well being of all its global inhabitants. Want to read more go to

[1]        Rob Hopkins [2004] Transitions Handbook, Totness, Green Press, p8.

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