[img_assist|nid=10|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=160|height=120]Transition Santa Cruz is a collaborative effort to prepare Santa Cruz for a future in which cheap, abundant energy is no longer available. We aim to become resilient and able to handle the stresses of peak oil and climate change, by building a thriving local economy and community that is not heavily dependent on any particular outside resource. In the process, we will be taking some of the most effective steps we can take to reduce our impact on the climate system.
Key to Transition Santa Cruz is the notion that a post-fossil-fuel future could be better in many ways than life in our current society. We are committed to exploring and creating concrete manifestations of positive visions of life after oil, by working at a grassroots level and unleashing the creative genius of our community. The twin global crises of peak oil and climate change are two aspects of a single problem, which is over-reliance on fossil fuels. Climate change, and the need to respond to it with changes in our high carbon emissions, is increasingly well understood by many people. Understanding of the reality of peak oil (and other fossil fuels) lags somewhat behind, yet it is an important part of realistic planning for our future. With its focus on “what goes into the gas tank,” as opposed to the climate-change-driven focus on what comes out of the tailpipe, the peak oil focus is an invaluable tool for galvanizing action on energy use.
[img_assist|nid=75|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=165|height=124]The entire era of cheap energy, which began in the mid-1800s, has been a very brief, exceptional period of human history, with an unprecedented growth of population and economies, and consumption of the Earth’s resources. By now, virtually everything we use in our everyday lives depends on fossil fuels. Especially in the industrialized countries, everything we eat, wear, live in, transport ourselves with, warm ourselves with, etc., represents the consumption of large amounts of fossil fuel energy. In the process of becoming so reliant on these fuels, we have lost many of the basic living skills, and much of the community interconnectedness that we once had. There is no good replacement source of energy on the scale that we are used to consuming fossil fuel energy. When this fact is combined with the pressing need to stop greenhouse gas emissions, it becomes clear that we have an immediate need for a plan for living in a much less energy-consuming way. Such a plan is known as an Energy Descent Action Plan, or Community Resilience Plan. There is no sign that such a plan is on the horizon at the national or state levels of government. Towns and cities need to take the lead. Fortunately, this is now beginning to happen. Large cities, like Portland, OR and San Francisco, and small towns, like Willits, CA, have passed Peak Oil resolutions and are beginning to take action.
One of the most effective movements in this direction comes from England under the name Transition Initiatives. These are grassroots movements for educating local citizens about the challenges ahead, and inspiring people with the possibility that a low-energy-use future could be better than our current lifestyle. They include as many people as possible in the process of imagining such a future, and creating visible projects that demonstrate the reclaiming of lost living skills, the re-purposing of land to increase local self-reliance, the shift from a global to a local economy, and so on. Ultimately, Transition Initiatives result in the creation of Community Resilience Plans with a strong base of support in the community. Hundreds of towns and cities worldwide now have officially recognized Transition Initiatives. Transition Santa Cruz, the 99th recognized Transition Initiative worldwide, is proud that Santa Cruz is one of them!