“While it is clear that the process of ‘bouncing forward’, of #BuildBackBetter, will not be easy, and indeed while many governments are already showing their commitment to #BuildBackWorse, bailing out fossil fuel companies and airlines among others, we already know much of what needs to happen now. Building a new food system that is more local and resilient is now both an economic strategy but also a survival strategy. Bold, bright, brilliant action now that sets out to start building a different future is vital. Transition groups continue to show what’s possible.
“Community responses are always nuanced and context and place-specific in ways that top-down approaches can never be. They are able to understand and respond to a place, to its needs and opportunities in vitally-needed ways. They can build on surprising, sometimes chance relationships between people, businesses, institutions, places and ideas in a way that some central policy unit would never even begin to conceive.
“Margaret Mead once famously said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”. That was never truer than it is today. Over those 13 years since the Transition movement started, I have visited many hundreds of Transition groups. I have never met anyone who told me that getting involved in being part of developing bottom-up community solutions had somehow impoverished their lives, made them more anxious, feel more isolated. The ability of these groups to create, hold and nurture ‘What If’ spaces where people can come together to imagine what ‘bouncing forward’ means in that context have been vital incubators of new ideas and fresh thinking.
“And most of this has happened independent of government funding. Imagine how further along we might be if this work were properly resourced? Until now, one persistent cultural narrative in the Global North has been that there is “no such thing as society”, and that all resources should go into larger scale solutions. But this crisis has shown that of course there is such a thing as society. And in many cases it is society that has responded more effectively to this crisis than governments have. They need to be viewed as the cornerstone of ‘bouncing back’. This small selection of stories from the Transition movement show that this is where the seeds of a better future can be found.”
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Photo: Nicholas Bartos on Unsplash