Transition Worcester started as a coalition of local environmental groups in 2007 called One Planet Worcester. WWF had just produced a report that showed the average person in our city is living on the resources of nearly 3 planets – as if we can move on to consume more planets once we have exhausted the reserves of this one! Our objective was to combine our energy to help all of us embrace lifestyles that are less damaging to the environment.
One Planet Worcester joined the Worcester Alliance, our city’s strategic partnership, so that it could dialogue with political, commercial and social groups as well as influencing the city’s residents. We launched with a Green Fair in the Guildhall and committed ourselves to working with the emerging Transition movement that had started in Totnes, Devon, under the leadership of Rob Hopkins. That community led initiative was focusing on the twin challenges of peak oil and climate change, with the objective of guiding Totnes into an energy descent over a period of 20 years to a local, resilient future.
2008 saw the publication of The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins and later The Transition Timeline by Shaun Chamberlin, excellent manuals for other cities, towns and regions that wished to emulate Totnes. The Transition network rapidly spread worldwide, with several other towns in Worcestershire forming Transition groups. By the summer of 2009 it became clear that One Planet Worcester should seek formally to join this movement and the decision was taken to change our name to Transition Worcester.
Transition Worcester is now working to meet the criteria for full membership of the Transition network, while building awareness in our city of the need for everyone to face up to changing climate and energy depletion. We welcome all that share our concerns to engage with this exciting and challenging journey to a better future. The time is short and there’s much to be done!
Transition movements come with a health warning! None of us know what the future holds or whether our actions will succeed in meeting the challenges of peak oil and climate change. However, we recognise the need for change and the risk of “business as usual”. We are dangerously addicted to cheap fossil fuel energy in every aspect of our city’s life – fossil fuel that will become increasingly scarce and expensive in the near future. The burning of these fossil fuels is contributing to climate change. We know this, as flooding becomes an almost annual event in Worcester. We realise everything will have to change and want to make this a fulfilling and creative process, rather than wait until we are overcome by events.
Transition is both a personal challenge and an urgent wake-up-call to our city’s institutions. We are sure that Worcester will need to become more locally resilient and less dependent on goods and services brought in from all over the world. We need local jobs and a strong local economy. We must change the throwaway culture and look for durable products that can be repaired. County food growers will need our support. The city’s wildlife must be nurtured. Our homes should be better insulated with more energy efficient appliances. Renewable energy will be part of the mix. We must explore new ways of getting around and fulfilling ways of spending our leisure time.
We are convinced that the outcome can be good as people of all ages in the city come together to find creative solutions. We believe that energy, commitment, optimism and a sense of fun will be essential and that our group must be inclusive – we all have our part to play to help shape the future we want. This is an open invitation – everyone is welcome to be part of Transition Worcester.