This came out of a group visioning exercise on May 12, 2011. We imagined ourselves transported to 2030, looking around at the world as it is, and reminiscing about how we arrived in the society we had created.
When people are working, playing, and learning closer to where they
live, they have more time for and interest in interacting with others,
so much of Transition North Oakland’s post-Transition vision was about
how people would relate to one another.
More social interaction would take place outdoors; people would trust
their neighbors and know them by name. People would be living
together in intergenerational, heterogeneous, impermanent groups, so
there would be less concern about privacy and no “homeless problem” at
all since homesteading (“squatting”) would be a respectable, viable
option, and many would lead a mobile lifestyle by choice. There would
be less emphasis on ownership and competition and more emphasis on
collaboration and interdependence.
Concurrent with the above, there will have been dramatic changes in
the landscape. The already-present kitchen, backyard, and Community
gardens would be supplemented by Community-held grain fields where
parking lots used to be. The focus on city repair and the demise of
the car culture would have left very little pavement behind; where the
streets used to be would be bicycle and pedestrian paths, and there
would be space for orchards between these paths and the shops or
residences. High-rise buildings would have been retrofitted for mixed
residential, agricultural, and recreational use. We’d be using rainwater,
harvested efficiently, and wearing old clothing and shoes produced in
the Industrial Era.
Each of these aspects, the social and the physical, is both a
prerequisite for the other and the result of the other, so there is
room for everyone to be valued for the niche that they fill since a
multi-faceted approach will be needed to actualize this vision.
Edited to contain locally-specific information! Originally printed in The Ecologist on 01/09/2004. theecologist.org
1. ALTERNATIVES TO SUPERMARKET SHOPPING
A. Shop in small, independent local shops
B. Support local farmers
- Go to farmers markets
- Use farm shops
- Sign up for [an organic CSA box]
- Use the Ecologist Green Pages (free with every issue of the Ecologist) to find local and organic food suppliers across the UK
C. Grow your own fruit and vegetables
If you don’t have a garden, find out where your nearest [community garden] is. [If you can't find one, go out and create one! Neighborhood Vegetables and Transition North Oakland can help you get connected. Please email Laurenceofberk@aol.com or sign up for our Transition Town North Oakland email list and write us a note on the group discussion page.]
D. Help set up new methods of local distribution
- Collective Buying Co-ops
Banbury Wholefood Coop was created in the late 80′s, when ten households around Banbury, Oxfordshire came together and began to order food in bulk. They hold meetings every six to eight weeks where members order their groceries. They purchase goods from a wholesaler with ethical policies that influence which product lines they stock. Because they buy in bulk, the Co-op generally benefit from lower prices. [The COG was a locally-run collective purchasing co-op where you could buy all the things you can get at the grocery store at a discounted price because they bought directly from wholesale suppliers. Take a look at their story here:
- Community Supported Agriculture
[Locally, check out Phat Beets Farmers Markets and CSA. Profits support North Oakland markets in areas without sufficient access to fresh produce - located at Children's Hospital, St. Martin De Porres School, and Arlington Medical Center - and local farmers.] Tumblers Patch Pig Co-op is a small scheme where members rear pigs for their own consumption. 12 people committed £1,000 each, rearing nine organic pigs on a 0.25ha plot. This worked out to £1.58 per kilogram of meat. Members commit to a feeding rota, which takes about half an hour a day and members must pay if they miss their turn. Tim Baines, the organiser, said, ‘Members really felt that they were taking responsibility for their food production, especially those who accompanied the pigs on their final journey to the abattoir’. See http://www.cuco.org.uk more on community supported agriculture schemes or call 0117 914 2425.
2. SIGN UP TO ANTI-SUPERMARKET CAMPAIGNS
Not shopping at supermarkets and sourcing as much of your food and goods locally is already a huge step in undermining supermarket dominance, and ensuring the survival and growth of your local community. If you’ve got more energy and want to take the fight to them, then here is a current list of campaigns running against supermarkets:
Fight Supermarket Power
Press for change and fight the supermarket bullies by contacting your local MP to strengthen the supermarket Code of Practice, and make sure it’s enforced.
Go to http://www.foe.co.uk/ campaigns/real_food/ press_for_change or call Freephone 0808 800 1111
Campaign for healthier food
Good food should be tasty, nutritious and safe to eat – so why is our food a major cause of preventable diseases such as obesity, cancer and strokes? Go to the Food Commission’s campaign for safer, healthier food. See http://www.foodcomm.org.uk/ or call 020 7837 2250
Breaking the Armlock
A new alliance of 14 farming, environmental and consumer organisations calling for stricter controls over the major supermarket trading practices. Go to http://www.breakingthearmlock.com Fair Prices for Farmers FARM – the independent voice of farmers – regularly takes on the power of supermarkets on behalf of farmers and the general public. Get involved in their Milk Campaign, which highlights the wide values that are being lost as thousands of dairy farmers go out of business.
Go to http://www.farm.org.uk or call 0207 352 7928.
Farmers for Action
Campaigning for a sustainable level of income for farmers and growers.
Go to http://www.farmersforaction.org or call 01291 690224
Sustainable Food Chains Project
Go to http://www.sustainweb.org to campaign against the social and environmental problems of long distance transport of food
Put pressure on the government and supermarkets to increase the amount of home-produced organic food for the UK market.
Go to http://www.sustainweb.org or call 020 7837 1228.
3. START YOUR OWN LOCAL CAMPAIGN
Is a supermarket planning to open in your area? Several groups across the country have are fighting similar schemes in their areas. Corporate Watch provides an excellent resource pack detailing how to start your own campaign, and giving contact details for other campaigns and stories of what they have done. Download it at http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/pages/check_out_chuck_out/intro.htm or call 01865 791 391.
30 STEPS TO AN OIL FREE WORLD
Our addiction to oil is not inevitable. We can all take steps to kick the habit:
What you can do:
1. Walk, cycle, take public transport or consider a car-pool whenever possible.
2. Reduce your travel by air.
3. If you need a car, buy the most fuel-efficient (currently Toyota’s Prius and Honda’s Insight – both hybrid cars that use petrol and electricity) or one that runs on bio-diesel or natural gas.
4. Service your car regularly – keeping the engine tuned and your car tyres at the maximum recommended air pressure saves petrol.
5. Live as close to work as possible.
6. Shop locally rather than in out-of-town superstores.
7. Buy regionally and seasonally produced organic food whenever possible.
8. Switch your investments away from fossil fuel to renewable energy companies, or exercise your right as a shareholder to pressure energy companies to make the transition to renewables.
9. Boycott the products of companies like Esso that are obstructing the transition to renewables.
What the government can do:
10. Lobby your political representatives to press them to act, and vote accordingly.
11. Accept a target of phasing out oil & gas use within 50 years.
12. Discontinue all direct and indirect subsidies to the oil & gas industry.
13. Refuse licenses for the exploration and development of new oil & gas reserves.
14. Provide investment, grants, and tax breaks for the development and purchase of clean renewable alternatives to oil and for energy efficient vehicles.
15. Increase investment in public transport.
16. Pedestrianise city centres and introduce congestion charges in cities.
17. Require car makers to ensure an escalating proportion of their vehicle fleet sales consists of petrol-free vehicles.
18. Increase minimum energy efficiency standards for vehicles.
19. Change tariff policies on imports to support the local consumption of goods (particularly food) that have been produced locally.
What businesses can do:
20. Phase out subsidies to industrial food production, which is petrol-intensive, and support conversion to organic methods instead.
21. Oil & gas companies should commit to converting themselves into renewable energy companies, and redirect their investments accordingly.
22. Car makers should commit to mass-manufacture cars now that run on hydrogen fuel cells or other renewable fuels, and that use lighter materials.
23. Companies should convert their truck and car fleets to the lowest petrol-consuming vehicles available.
24. Companies should provide incentives for employees to leave their cars at home and use public transport instead, reduce air travel, and promote telecommuting.
25. Companies should site their offices close to public transportation. 26. Retailers should adopt a purchasing policy that provides preference to goods from short supply routes and regional markets.
27. Companies should shift freight out of trucks and onto rail and waterways.
28. Farmers should convert from industrial to organic farming methods.
29. The plastics & packaging industries should replace their use of oil with corn, soybean, potato starch or limestone derivatives.
30. The clothing industry should use vegetable starch and natural fibres, such as wool and cotton, instead of oil derivatives in their products.
This article first appeared in the Ecologist September 2007. theecologist.org