“We know that we cannot address climate change globally unless communities claim their power to implement solutions, creative solutions, on the ground.”Christina Figueres, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, 2014.
In recent years the ‘resilience imperative’ has made it onto the agendas of local and national governments, businesses and international institutions alike, indicating that the time has come for communities large and small to identify and prepare for major disruptions.
Major resilience initiatives began happening at high levels of decision making almost a decade ago with the launch in 2010 of the UN’s 5 year Making Cities Resilientcampaign, followed in 2012 with the report, Resilient People, Resilient Planet — A Future Worth Choosing, which prioritised the empowering of people to make sustainable choices and the 2014 Rockefeller Foundation funding of a $100 million ‘100 Resilient Cities Challenge ‘ to help select cities “become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century” ( www.100resilientcities.org) There is a wealth of information available at this website explaining how each of these cities has identified their resilience weaknesses and begun to address them.
Almost a decade before these high level discussions took place however, a much more ‘grass roots’ resilience network began in the UK in response to the predicted challenges of climate change and ‘peak oil’. Called The Transition Town Movement, its founder Rob Hopkins, wanted to help his village develop ‘an energy descent plan’ to reduce its vulnerability to increasing energy costs and food supply disruption. What began with Hopkins teaching a Permaculture Design Course at the local community college grew into a global movement of over 900 initiatives across 40 countries.
Essentially about creating environmentally sustainable communities with a focus on local production, clean energy and local economy, Transition Town initiatives can be as simple as conducting a health check on your street using the Australian Transition Streets workbook, opening up a re-purposing workshop or funding a Community Garden. There are virtually no limits to the variety of resilience building initiatives you can take and it all begins with a Conversation, A Checklist and Call To Action.