I am currently tangentially involved in the Transition Town movement. I believe that it may well be able to make a real difference, albeit primarily as a demonstration to politicians that apparently unelectable policies can be made electable, and to the rest of us that something can be done quite quickly and easily.
yet it seems to me that there are limits to ecolocalism of the TT kind. Here are few examples:
- All Transition Towns want to ‘power down’ their local community. But in the absence of corporate-level decisions, who can persuade my local Sainsbury’s or Woolworth’s to turn off their lights at night, and so on? Only an alliance of local groups – and one that has been able to agree not only a common policy, strategy and approach, but also to accept that some local inequalities are likely to persist.
- Local authorities lack critical powers (especially regarding taxation and spending) that a truly radical localisation would demand.
- There are some social functions that can probably never be localised. Health, education, welfare, security -although much can be done to localise, what is left over is likely to be very substantial indeed. Managing them will require common action and policies and organsiaitons that operate at a non-local level.
- Many of the greatest problems facing the environment relate to organisations and systems that operate on a national or even global scale. Oil companies, governments, businesses of all kinds.
It will not help to refuse these problems, as it were. They will exist whatever local groups want. The only issue is how to manage them. That willrequire a concerted action that many localists will find difficult to stomach.