Communities, Councils & A Low Carbon Future

Richard Barnett | Monday, 31st January 2011
Richard Barnett is impressed by the array of positive, practical advice in Alexis Rowell's instalment in the Transition handbook series...
Author: Alexis Rowell
Publisher: Green Books
Publication year: 2010
RRP: £14.95

One of the principle factors that motivated the generation of the Transition concept was that those in power, especially those in national governments, were simply not reacting in a timely way to the challenges posed by climate change and peak oil.

This remains a major concern for Transition activists. A key question is therefore how can effective action be taken at a grass-roots level?

Alexis Rowell's new book begins to answer that question by considering how local communities and local government can work together.

His 'eco-epiphany', as he puts it, occurred back in 2005 when he became aware of the speed of environmental degradation. He stood as a local councillor for the London Borough of Camden in May 2006. From his position as a Councillor and his involvement with Transition Belsize, Alexis has brought together personal experiences and inspiring ideas from elsewhere across the Transition Network to present a 'how to' manual for working in concert with local government.

A wide range of subjects are covered and each chapter is peppered with great examples of some of the successful ways in which collaboration has worked well.

The topics include energy efficiency, food, recycling, transport, planning and so on. Such is the breadth of issues covered that anyone with a Transition interest will find something of interest.

The book includes contributions from four 'eco-councillors' and concludes with a chapter about 'Getting Elected'. This is an interesting area because most active Transitioners tend to hold the view that they do not want to become embroiled in the bureaucracy of local government.

Alexis contends that one can get a lot more done from the 'inside' and, although he admits it is definitely not a path for the fainthearted, recommends that standing for election should be on the agenda for some within the movement.

This is a valuable addition to the growing body of literature on Transition and is a great source of ideas for those wanting to push forward the resilience agenda.

Richard Barnett is Co-Chair of New Forest Transition 

Grahamburnett |
Fri, 04/02/2011 - 10:42

I did my Transition Training course with Alexis - Looking forward to reading this book and trying to figure out some ways to interface with our local authority who thus far have been pretty luke warm and indifferent to our attempts to engage with them as a Transition project...

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