Transition movement

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Transition is a movement of local initiatives working towards greater resilience in their home communities in response to environmental, social, economic and other challenges. It was initially framed as a structured local response to peak oil, climate change and, especially since the 2008 financial crisis, economic instability. As it has spread and been adopted in diverse places around the world, it encompasses an increasing range of issues, often the local manifestations of global problems.

"If we wait for governments, it'll be too late; if we act as individuals, it'll be too little; but if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time."


Main page: History of the Transition movement

Transition originated in 2004 as a study project by students on a two-year permaculture design course at Kinsale Further Education College in Ireland led by permaculture teacher Rob Hopkins [1]. Shortly afterwards Hopkins relocated to Totnes in southwest England, where along with Naresh Giangrande, Sophy Banks and others he founded Transition Town Totnes in September 2006. Inspired by their work, communities elsewhere began to take up the Transition model, first in South West England, later across the UK, and then in various other countries across the world[2].

In 2007, Hopkins, Ben Brangwyn and Peter Lipman together founded Transition Network as a coordination and support body for the growing movement. Transition Network developed and offers training via its own programme of Transition training, compiles and shares information via its [] website and other media, facilitates meeting and discussion processes via online resources and events including conferences and workshops. It also undertakes and supports conceptual and strategic discussion about the nature of Transition and shape and direction of the movement via various processes of reflection, planning and redesign, both internal and in collaboration with other key groups and organisations in the movement.

As Transition initiatives began in other countries, many formed national Transition hubs to coordinate their work nationally. Transition Network increasingly shares coordination, governance and other roles with the national hubs network.[3] From 2013, Transition Network and various representatives of national hubs played key roles in the discussion and planning processes that led to the formation of ECOLISE, a pan-European network of community-led sustainability initiatives. When ECOLISE was formally constituted in 2014, its founder members included Transition Network and a number of national Transition hubs.

Principles of Transition

Main page: Principles of the Transition movement

Transition in Practice

Main page: Transition in practice

Growth of the Transition movement

Main page: Diffusion and growth of the Transition movement

The exact extent of the Transition movement is not known, due to the porous and sometimes ephemeral nature of local initiatives, inconsistent patterns of relationship between local initiatives and coordinating organisations such as Transition Network and national hubs, and the patchy distribution of formal research effort. Transition Network maintains a list of local initiatives that have self-registered on its website, thought to be far fewer than the total number in existence. In early 2018 this had around 1000 entries.[4] An independent survey conducted by researchers at Reading University in mid-2012 identified contact points for 1179 Transition initiatives, not all registered on the Transition Network website, in 23 countries.[5] Longitudinal data from several countries on the numbers of known initiatives showed this to have grown each year from 2007 to 2014, but that the rate of growth has declined each year.[6] In the UK, where the movement is longest-established, there is evidence that the number of local initiatives has plateaued and even declined, as groups, for various reasons, cease to be active.

Transition and Research

Main page: Research and Transition

Transition in Universities

Main page: Transition in universities


  1. Hopkins, R., 2005. “Kinsale 2021” An Energy Descent Action Plan – Version.1. 2005. Kinsale Further Education College.
  2. Bailey, I., Hopkins, R., Wilson, G., 2010. Some things old, some things new: The spatial representations and politics of change of the peak oil relocalisation movement. Geoforum 41, 595–605.
  3. Longhurst, N. and Pataki, G. (2015) Case study report: the Transition Movement. TRANSIT: EU SSH.2013.3.2.-1 Grant agreement no: 613169. P. 7
  4. Accessed March 5th 2018.
  5. Feola, G., Nunes, R., 2013. Success and failure of grassroots innovations for addressing climate change: The case of the Transition Movement. Global Environmental Change 24, 232–250. P. 238.
  6. Feola, G., Him, M.R., 2016. The diffusion of the Transition Network in four European countries. Environment and Planning A 48, 2112–2115.