The Transition Timeline
Shaun Chamberlin
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Buy *The Transition Timeline: For a Local, Resilient Future* by Shaun Chamberlin online

The Transition Timeline: For a Local, Resilient Future
Shaun Chamberlin
Chelsea Green Publishing
192 pages
May 2009
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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The facts are these:

  • Atmospheric CO2 concentration is already higher than what scientists tell us is the maximum beyond which we won’t be able to “avoid catastrophe”
  • World oil production is expected to peak (and then begin its steady decline) no later than 2010
  • We must make drastic, world-wide changes yesterday or our very near future will be as bleak as any post-apocalyptic movie we’ve ever seen.
From that fundamental data, The Transition Timeline posits four realistic scenarios for our future. Each scenario is written in the style of a history book entry in the year 2027 and looks back at how the human race met environmental challenges of the previous twenty years. A timeline of key events is sidebarred for each scenario, and the four approaches and outcomes are both believable and vastly different.

Vision 1 (Denial) examines the business as usual approach of ignoring the evidence and going about our lives as we’ve always done, which leads to a timeline entry for 2020 that is “…too unpleasant to relate.”

Vision 2 (Hitting the Wall) shows us a world in which some changes are made but without a cohesive plan or cultural commitment to saving ourselves. In this scenario’s timeline, 2014 finds a world in which power outages are so common that people have lost the habit of watching television.

Vision 3 (The Impossible Dream) takes a more idealistic turn yet doesn’t fully acknowledge the scale of the problem or the magnitude of required changes. Renewable energy has increased slowly and meets 15% of the UK’s energy demand, but 2025 finds global temperatures rising even faster than before.

Vision 4 (The Transition Vision) is what can be expected when “New social and economic models [are] developed to fit [a] new paradigm.” In this vision’s considerably brighter timeline, by 2020 the Green Party is in power, Amy Winehouse hosts the popular program Hot Composting, and overall quality of life has improved across the UK (and presumably, around the world)

These powerful scenarios fill only a few pages of The Transition Timeline. The bulk of this book examines the many factors that are intrinsically linked to environmental problems and their solutions. Focused on making Vision 4 a reality, author Shaun Chamberlin presents a clear look at trends in population, food, travel, energy, and medicine, explaining how each plays a critical role in the effort to save ourselves from extinction. The optimism of Vision 4 grows out of the Energy Descent Plan (EDP), a systematic approach to laying out a strategy to create rapid transition within communities. EDP is explained thoroughly and within context not only through the Vision 4 scenario but through anecdotes, with The 12 Steps of Transition spelled out for good measure.

Following the formula of a standard logic model, Chamberlin includes inputs, outputs, and outcomes, along with timeline tools that any motivated group can implement for themselves. This practical, do-able, and surprisingly cheerful handbook is everything a proactive village needs to truly change the world and ensure that we survive for another generation.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Deborah Adams, 2009

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