The Task of Transitioning to a Better World

Don Hall of Transition Sarasota invited me to participate in the Training in Transition weekend at Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center in early December. I have been involved with Transition for awhile, working with the gleaning project to help feed the hungry, including myself, and the development of the Common Wealth Time Bank. But the Transition movement is much bigger than simply Sarasota, and I was excited to have the opportunity to learn more about it. The first hour on Saturday was filled with the twenty six attendees talk about why we were there and what we hoped to gain from the experience.

I attended the event not only because Don invited me, and I have found that those particular invitations usually result in a very good use of my time, but also because I have seen evidence of a need for a transition in our culture of mass consumerism and wanted to gain more knowledge on how this transition is actually going to look. It’s apparent to me that we cannot, as a species continue on exhorting the myopia and wastefulness of the addiction-based, consumerist lifestyle that is so celebrated in our land of independence. For us to thrive, and quite possibly to merely stay alive, we must progress to a state of interdependence.

Making this shift from the way we do things based upon the remnants of practices we’ve gleaned from the agricultural, industrial, and information revolutions to the way we will able to by participating in the revolution of wisdom will be unlike any adventure any of us have experienced before. I thought it would be beneficial to see who has started down the path before me, what trails have been marked thus far, and what challenges must be faced on the road ahead.

I was introduced to Transition through its mission of moving to a work without oil. Don likened it to an acupuncturist using one needle like point to touch one issue that can effect the whole of the body. Yet beyond just oil, it’s is the entirety of fossil fuels that it addresses. Fossil fuels extend even beyond coal and oil, but also these antiquated systems of commerce and politics whereby we are reliant on the way things have been done in the past, restricting us from transitioning to how we will do things sustainably in the future.

As with overcoming any addiction, releasing ourselves from the habits that no longer work for us is done by redirecting our attention and energy toward other activities. With Transition Sarasota, we feel that we can most greatly overcome our addiction to oil by focusing our energies on what happens in our local community. It is because of this realization that we have launched the Common Wealth Time Bank.

What other endeavors can help us to focus our energies on our local community, where our circle of influence has strength enough to actually manifest the changes we are longing for in our society?

Steve McAllister is the author of The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. He posts regularly at The Unbroken Path and is currently the Director of Operational Development for the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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