On a beautiful spring day in the heart of east Berlin, eight fruit trees are planted in Görlitzer park. The trees, mainly apples but also some plums and pears, were carefully laid into the ground. The project, ‘I heart Görli’, was organised by a group of locals with similar concerns and a shared desire to act. It started last year when they began planting trees in this same park. At first they received opposition from the local government with concerns that the plants would not be watered regularly. However, the group insisted it would be taken care of and successfully arranged volunteers to water the fruit trees. This year the local government, recognising the projects success, gave them free reign and even installed a watering system, as previously water had to be carried by hand from the other side of the park several hundred meters away.
So, who are these people?
They are locals connected through a project — a transition initiative. This is a project created by members of the local transition town, in this case the friedrichshain/kreuzberg transition town, which is connected to the international transition network.
The transition concept began with a single student project in Kinsale, Ireland, overseen by Rob Hopkins. The concept was further developed over 2005 and 2006 in Lotes, England. Transition initiatives have now spread to over 35 countries and there are currently 434 official transition initiatives, all with their own projects.
In a Ted Talk, during 2009, Hopkins reflected on the growth and evolution of the transition phenomena which has gone "…viral, it seems to spread under the radar very quickly", he said.
It’s open source and without any governing body or center of power and is focused on solutions with sensitivity to location and scale. Every transition initiative is independent and concerned with local issues and projects.
Permaculture is an integral part of the transition reaction which is a fusion pot of energy descent plans, seed swaps, local currencies, grassroots action, networking, renewable energy, activism and creativity. Essentially it is about neighbours connecting and reacting. It’s a transition away from the high energy or ‘peak oil’ consumption dominating communities to a healthier resilient form. It’s an acceptance of the reality followed by action.
Below is an except from the transition website under the title of “Cheerful disclaimer!”;
We truly don’t know if this will work. Transition is a social experiment on a massive scale. What we are convinced of is this: if we wait for the governments, it’ll be too little, 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.
- In Transition, the Movie — In Transition 1.0: from oil dependence to local resilience (the trailer for In Transition 2.0 is below)