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The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience [Paperback]

Rob Hopkins , Richard Heinberg
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 15 2008

Frequently Bought Together

The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience + The Transition Companion: Making Your Community More Resilient in Uncertain Times + The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors' Toolkit
Price For All Three: CDN$ 56.65

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About the Author


Richard Heinberg is Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute. He is the author of several influential books on resource depletion including

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smoothing the Way Together... Aug. 29 2008
Format:Paperback
Concepts like "Climate Change" and "Peak Oil" can cause us to feel confronted by something overwhelmingly hgue we cannot do anything about. The central message of this book is that 'thsi state of mind is not the place to start from if we want to achieve something, do something, create something.' Indeed, by shifting our mind-set we can actually recognize the coming post-cheap oil era as an oppurtunity rather than a threat, and design our future low-energy societies to be thriving, resilient, and abundant-somewhere much better than our current alienated consumer culture based on greed, war, and the myth of perpetual growth.
The transition concept emerged from work permaculture designer Rob Hopkins had done with students of Kinsale (Ireland) Further Education College in writing an "Energy Descent Action Plan." This looked at across-the-board creative adpations in the realms of energy production, heatlh, education, economy and agriculture...

- Review by Graham Burnett
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get it Nov. 16 2009
Format:Paperback
The Handbook is a great reference for all and I would hope that more of our political and business leaders would read it.

Rob Hopkins does a wonderful job applying the permaculture principles to social organization for the purposes of restoring local community resilience. I was like many who found the hard reality of peak oil overwhelming and very frightening. This handbook offers many ideas and solutions to overcome that pit of despair and downward spiral into apathy and extinction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So 2012...a must read and must DO Dec 27 2011
By ltaylor
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you haven't heard about gas prices and supply, you've been asleep for the past few years and have missed the contoversy about Peak Oil. Now is your time to catch up with The Transition Handbook. Author Rob Hopkins clearly outlines why we need to be concerned, what we as individuals can do about it, and how we can be successful in achieving results. This is not about the end of oil but about the end of CHEAP oil and the impact will change everything about how we live. This is your guide to not only making it through the challenges but actually producing a living environment that will be so much more enjoyable. A good news book that slays the dragon!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
An optimistic book on a very serious topic, climate change and peak oil. Provides ways the average person can respond to this crisis and have the chance to make a significant impact in their local community.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An accessible, smart guide to a resilient low-carbon future Sept. 11 2008
By Philippe Vandenbroeck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There is a powerful current in our contemporary, post-industrial culture that is arguing for a simpler, more sustainable alternative to our wasteful, environmentally damaging way of life. Proselytisers rely on a varying mix of three sets of arguments: the environmental challenge posed by climate change, the energy supply challenge posed by peak oil and, finally, the spiritual challenge emerging from the newest science on personal wellbeing (in a nutshell: beyond a certain point more money and stuff doesn't make us happier.)

Rob Hopkins' Transition Movement is pragmatic attempt to come to terms with the disruptions that are heralded by climate change and peak oil. Thoughtlessly addicted as we are to fossil fuels, our societies are ill equipped to deal with the adverse implications of energy scarcity and a hotter, less predictable climate. According to Hopkins, what we need to develop is resilience: the ability to deal creatively and locally with energy supply and environmental shocks.

The Transition Handbook is a hands-on guide to help communities make that transition towards a resilient, low-carbon future. It is useful to distinguish three layers in the book.

The first layer encapsulates the three main parts of Hopkins' argument, focused on the head (the facts about climate change and peak oil you need to know), the heart (the need for positive vision and commitment) and the hands (practical guidelines for enabling resilient communities).

The second layer consists of a range of design principles that can be relied on to shape resilient communities. For example, in preparing for an energy-scarce future we need to know that resilience relies on a small scale, modular and decentralised infrastructure. We also need to invest in high-quality productive relationships, integrate rather than segregate and use the creative edges of systems to make the most of their potential. There are many more of these principles that have been lifted from an eclectic mix of disciplines, including systems science, ecology and the psychology of change. Hopkins himself was deeply influenced by the permaculture movement, a radical design approach to constructing "sustainable human settlements".

The third layer features a range of practical solutions that comply with these design principles. These solutions are meant to be the cornerstones of any resilient community and include a template for working towards a more energy-thrifty ("energy descent planning"), decentralised energy generation, local food sourcing, re-skilling of consumers into creative citizens and local currencies.

Transition thinking is not only a theory but it is also a social movement and the book features a number of UK examples of communities that have started going down the path towards resilience. Hopkins is acutely aware that the governance of the Transition movement needs to mirror the design principles underlying resilience. It would hardly be credible and effective to embody a Transition movement by a tightly-managed, centralised bureaucracy. So, Hopkins is only willing to give pointers to help people in facilitating bottom-up, small-scale, self-steering initiatives. Lots is left to emergence and action learning ("... where it all goes remains to be seen ..." is an often used phrase in the book).

The Transition Handbook is an accessible, smart guide to helping us deal with the challenges we may face as a result of climate change and peak oil. In itself the book doesn't offer anything new, but it rearranges familiar pieces of a puzzle into a compelling and coherent approach towards learning again to help ourselves and to do more with less.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a Problem but an Opportunity Dec 10 2008
By John D. Croft - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Rob Hopkins has tackled a complex inter-relationship between tow vitally important subjects in a completely new way. Looking at the problems of Climate Change and Peak oil together shows him, and then allows us to see, that relocalisation is the key to producing not just the answer to our problems, but the kind of high quality low consumption lifestyle we need in the future. He makes the future an attractive and exciting place in which to live and thus allows us to escape from the apocalyptic survivalist scenarios so common in the USA.

The best thing about this book is that it is not just a book that tells us what we need to do, it actually maps out multiple pathways for us to begin doing it. Rob is no starry-eyed idealist. Without minimising the difficulties, and acting in the face of uncertainty as to whether or not the differences he suggests will or not make the difference required, he clearly shows that we will not know the answer unless we really try. This book is a clarion call to shift beyond panic to engaging in positive action. It steps beyond finding scapegoats to blame, and shows that we can all play a productive role in confronting the biggest domestic and international issues of our times - Climate Change and Oil Depletion.

The idea of creating a "Project Support Project", of the group that begins activities planning for its own demise, and being a syndicate of initiative, fostering participation, inclusion and creativity, are all important themes of this book. Its readable, engaging and difficult to put down.

The only difficulty I can find is that it is a little repetitive in parts (for example the story of the Totnes Pound is repeated a little too much), which could have benefitted from a tighter editing process. Perhaps bringing the references together in a single section could have helped. Its good to see a German Edition already in print. Other languages should follow swiftly.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Important Handbooks of Our Time Sept. 15 2008
By Fickle Cat - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Rob Hopkins writes about the context for starting a transition town and then follows with step-by-step instructions on the action steps involved with bringing awareness and hope to communities. Transition towns spring from a grassroots initiative to do something positive and cooperative in response to the impending triple crisis of peak oil, climate change and global economic collapse.

It all starts with awareness and ends in an energy decent action plan. Every community is different, so Rob is very careful not to offer any practical solutions to how to grow food or get energy. He simply offers a guiding hand on how to talk to people about peak oil and transition and how to go about preparing communities to reskill and re-localize.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book could save your life and help you build better communities June 7 2009
By Michael Robertson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We face the collapse of our fossil fuel based global economy. There is no longer any question this will happen, and that it will happen soon, within our lifetime (5-20 years or less). This means our lives will change radically, and soon. These claims are no longer exaggerations or scare tactics, they are the extreme truths of our extreme times.

To the best of my knowledge, this book is the only one that not only acknowledges this fact but provides a clearly-laid plan to build new and better lives through this transition from our central oil, gas and coal economy to smaller local community self reliant economies.

It includes tips on how to manage the emotional and psychological hurdles we'll face, as well as how to build a locally resilient community organization that plays well with local politics and with other similar organizations. It is a friendly book, cheerful even. The end game for the Transition Model, after all, is not just survival, not just resilience, not just the development of alternatives to isolated and oil-dependent suburban lives, but something much better than we have now: lives with connections and communications and resource sharing with our neighbors.

The bottom line is, Change is Coming. We have no choice about that. Our lives will be turned upside down. The question is, will we choose to manage that change and turn it into something healthy and fun and happy, or will we and our grandchildren perish or be forced to live miserable and unhappy lives, disconnected from each other and the rest of the world? This book gives us a map so we can do it right. Get it. Start now. You have precious little time and very much indeed to do.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it ! March 4 2009
By N. J. Hill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I really loved this book, it was an eye opener for me in regards to the Peak Oil and Climate Change problems we face. The infomation was fascinating to read and kept me hooked throughout, the only criticism is I hoped for more answers to deal personally with this problem. Instead the second section was more about how to get local government involved to deal with these issues. Although this is obviously an important part of the Transition Movement, I hoped for more information and some suggestions with more with the 'what to do' in the areas of energy, food, water etc. Still its a fantastic book and I hope the next book is already being written with these answers.
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