What will life be like after peak oil, in an age of major climate shifts? Hollywood movies often depict it as a bleak, dystopian world where each day is a struggle to survive after every system we depend on has been stripped away.
Unfortunately, that version of the story seems to be on track so far. Despite mounting scientific consensus on everything from the rate of polar ice melt to the increase in disastrous fire and weather events, the collective human response to the climate emergency has been, to put it mildly, underwhelming. Governments and institutions fail to take truly effective action, miss emissions targets, or deny the issue outright. Individual responses range from blind faith that a technological miracle will occur to bringing reusable bags to the grocery store. Even as it becomes clear that the age of cheap energy and throwaway culture must end, many of us are still metaphorically hiding under the covers.
But what if, instead, a post-peak-oil lifestyle was something we aspired to? It’s a radical idea that involves reimagining existing societal structures and what constitutes progress. The Transition movement is built around this concept; it’s a worldwide web of local, community-based efforts to reduce fossil fuel reliance and relocalize economies. The structure of the Transition model reflects older values, mirroring the traditions of community-based self-reliance found in many Indigenous cultures. Transition also weaves the threads of the modern-day permaculture, homesteading, DIY, and maker movements into a cohesive vision of strong, resilient, connected communities that can mitigate and survive climate change.