(THIS ARTICLE IS MACHINE TRANSLATED by Google from Norwegian)
It is one of the great dilemmas of the time, that the constellation of power that now rules and reigns in the world is at the same time leading civilization closer and closer to collapse. In such a world, it is vital to be familiar with key concepts that can provide overview and insight, but which at the same time also equip one with bearing marks for action in and for life. In Resilience, Community Action and Societal Transformation with the subtitle People, Place, Practice, Power, Politics and Possibilities in Transition, practical experiences in social change are presented. The concept of resilience is understood here as the resilience needed to ensure a profound and far-reaching transformation of society. The book – focusing on a knowledge-based and community-driven transition – presents a series of contributions from a Resilience 2014 conference organized by the Resilience Alliance in France. Leading action and resilience researchers as well as community activists here contributed experiences, ideas and action stories, all of which were about establishing community resilience.
The alternative to growth. There are three basic prerequisites for the universe of transition: Humanity and human social activity should in principle be seen as inseparable from nature. Competition – between people, groups, nations or groups of nations – is not an aspect of human nature. And then we should put the idea that there is a uniform linear form of development that all societies must go through to improve their conditions.
Today, a European network of community-based initiatives focusing on climate change and sustainability is under development. The Resilience 2014 conference can be seen as a contribution to the development of such a network, here in the form of the network organization ECOLISE (The European Network for Community-Led Initiatives on Climate Change and Sustainability).
Sustainable economic growth is not possible on a limited planet. By continuing business as usual after the crisis in 2008, the consequence was that living conditions changed for the people, for the earth, the oceans, the forests and the atmosphere. Rather than looking at the depth of the crisis and the extent of the associated technological, social, political and economic consequences of it – or focusing on the power relations associated with the solutions chosen – so preferred, and prefers, the power elite continue to the climate challenge is answered with solutions from the neoliberal toolbox.
More and more – from different points of view – the spread of community-based actions is growing numerous experiments and constructive, often permanent solutions, which support a change and bring an aura of hope. While the bearers of the fossil climate security agenda are subject to feelings of fear, people on the periphery of the global economy can, with their adaptation initiatives – in cooperation with the social movements – document progress in networking.
Privatization and the imperative of economic growth have led to the planetary boundaries being crossed.
Permaculture. Resilience, Community Action and Societal Transformation is a journey around one of the largest and fastest expanding movements of the time, Transi-
tion movement (Tb). It has the commons («the common») as a basic orientering in all its activities – and it is especially important to raise awareness of the original forms of social organization with a close relationship to nature. With the rapid economic growth after World War II, and not least with the entry of neoliberalism into the social organization, privatization and focus on the imperative of economic growth has meant that planetary boundaries have been exceeded in terms of biodiversity and global warming. Therefore, the change is urgent.
From its formation (Totnes, UK, 2006), Tb has drawn on the experiences from theories and methods within the planning concept permaculture. People all over the world have thus been able to use transition as a guide based on their own local historical context and their own strategic considerations. This has been possible, both because the movement contains a positive vision of the future and because Tb makes the vision present here-and-now.
There is no uniform, linear form of development that all societies must go through to improve their conditions.
External and internal conversion. Based on the notion of a future society, Tb inspires citizens to work on both an external and an internal transformation that is independent of fossil fuels. This constitutes a powerful antidote to capitalism's control over and mastery of the imaginary. A wide range of community-based projects, institutionalized in inclusive and democratic structures – including ownership and decision-making – will be completely incompatible with the fundamental premises of capitalism.
For the Transition movement, the task will therefore be to create new forms of the commons, as innovation projects that appear in their entirety. This implies a set of principles of way of life which have been in force for thousands of years and which are in direct opposition to the expansion of capitalism from its emergence.
The transition initiatives are as characteristic and varied as the communities in which they are formed. Nevertheless, several components are common: the creation of a group with a common starting point (for example the locality), where there is an elementary infrastructure for communication (emails, website), which can frame the scope for future activities and has the opportunity for new members. Another characteristic may be a visible manifestation in the form of the formation of a city garden, an energy project or a common bakery.
The purpose is to "kick in" a culture that is based on consumption and competition.
Other activities that bring Tb to the forefront may be in the geographical area to create local – complementary – money, form a cooperative in renewable energy, establish small, socio-economic enterprises with alternative forms of food production – but also housing or other forms of infrastructure, which supports a low-emission society.
Resilience. The focus is on establishing relationships locally and between localities with the intention of "kicking in" a culture based on consumption and competition, what is pretended to be the only thing that matters in modern society. In a community's creative bottom-up perspective, resilience thus becomes both a mental exercise and a community with a vision of establishing a kind of Trojan horse against the fossil-based growth economy and the associated security regime.
In the North and South, Tb will support a shift away from privatization and the mobilization of resources to protect existing communities, geographical and political. The movement will further work for the development of economically independent communities, which through their interdependence will seek self-determination in resilient communities – and a common survival.