Transition Catskills is a group of your neighbors in the Catskills region who have come together to explore how we can make our communities more resilient in the face of resource depletion, climate change, and economic instability. We are looking for ways to strengthen what’s already here and what’s already working, and to re-imagine what we can make better.
We are fortunate to operate under the umbrella of The MARK Project, which allows us to access grants to turn our ideas into reality, and to benefit from the MARK’s expertise.
Transitions Catskills has been inspired by a model that started in England that helps guide communities towards real projects that can produce real results, building a truly local economy that is more self-sufficient and sustainable.
Transitions Catskills is you. Won’t you join us? We’re exploring some great ideas and need yours as well!
Interested in learning more about The History of Transition?
HISTORY OF Transition
The Transition movement is a loose collection of independent grassroots initiatives around the world working to “transition” their local communities toward ways of living that are more local, resilient, and sustainable.
Localization – creating a deeper sense of community and fostering a greater degree of self-determination by building tighter personal, cultural, and economic relationships in the local area
Resilience – searching for sustainable practices in business, agriculture, energy, and transportation that make the community more resistant to external financial, commercial, or environmental shocks
Sustainability – developing lifestyles that are sensitive to the complex web of life around us and minimize our environmental footprint
The idea of Transition began with the early work of permaculture designer Rob Hopkins in Kinsale, Ireland. He then expanded and adapted this idea in 2005-6 in his hometown of Totnes, England. With the support of groups like Transition Network and national hubs like Transition US, hundreds of Transition Initiatives have sprung up across the world, each finding their own ways to reconnect people to each other and to the productive capacity of their communities.
Importantly, Transition is something we must do for ourselves. While we can take advantage of whatever assistance might be available from centralized governmental or charitable sources, we the people living and working within the region itself have the greatest stake in its community development and the deepest knowledge about how to really make it a success.
Transition is a response to the combined threat posed by the three great interlocking challenges of our time:
Peak Oil – The world is not about to suddenly “run out” of oil, but the age of abundant, cheap fossil fuels is drawing to a close. Our continued dependence on these fuels binds us to a future of high prices, economic weakness, environmental destruction, and geopolitical instability.
Climate Change – Although fossil fuels are becoming increasingly difficult to access, there is still more than enough to destabilize the climate through the release of enormous quantities of greenhouse gasses. This isn’t just a matter of the whole planet being a couple of degrees warmer, it’s about an entirely new pattern of climate where extremes of hot and cold, flood and drought, wildfires and severe storms all combine to degrade the way we live.
Economic Instability – Our economy has been increasingly financialized by an overgrown banking system coupled to industry-captive politicians. We are all too often valued as consumers rather than producers, and are piling up vast amounts of debt to fuel that consumption. Combine this with the physical impacts of the above two challenges with and we have a recipe for disaster.
Moving towards a better future
Many of us feel overwhelmed, whether or not we are aware of how these challenges feed into our daily lives. We may feel helpless in the face of it all, and are tempted to sit back and wait for the government or some other great power to solve our problems. “They’ll think of something,” we may say. But government moves slowly, is often unaware of the real problems at a local level, and will not change course without a critical mass of people leading the way.
Some of us may want to take matters into our own hands and try to become as individually self-sufficient and resilient as possible. But while individual self-sufficency is valuable, there is much more potential in collective action to solve these fundamentally shared problems.
Others may wish to ignore the problems around us, or even actively deny them. We may wish to blame this or that political party, social minority, or special interest group. But so long as we remain fragmented, stuck in the mindset of blame instead of positive action, these problems will persist.
Regardless on where you stand on these issues, building a closer, stronger, and cleaner community should be a cause we can all rally around.
As a matter of physical reality, not politics– and whether we like it or not– over the next few decades, we’ll be transitioning to a lower energy future. There are a variety of possible outcomes depending on whether we stick our heads in the sand or whether we start working for a future that we want.
Transition is not a movement that has come to tell you how to live your life, it is an invitation to help create the kind of future you would actually want to live.