The Great Transition (beyond carbon) If there is one thing that defines the 21st century, it is the end of oil. But not just oil. Over the coming decades, we face the prospect of terminal depletion of the world’s major mineral energy reserves, with major ramifications for the future of industrial civilization. A survey of about a hundred of the world’s most respected petroleum geologists by the Association for the Study of Peak Oil found that the vast majority expected world oil production to peak between 2010 and 2020. Furthermore, it found that “the ‘peak’ is more likely to look like a bump on a long ridge than the classic bell-shaped curve”. But the data suggests we may have already peaked. “The plateau in world production over half a decade is unprecedented and suggests we have already started on the “long ridge” whose overall trajectory, despite fluctuations, will be inexorably downwards.” It is still falling. Does size matter? Dallas petroleum geologist Jeffrey J. More than crude The transition before us
Transition scenario Transition scenarios are descriptions of future states which combine a future image with an account of the changes that would need to occur to reach that future. These two elements are often created in a two-step process where the future image is created first (envisioning) followed by an exploration of the alternative pathways available to reach the future goal (backcasting). Both these processes can use participatory techniques (Raskin et al., 2002) where participants of varying backgrounds and interests are provided with an open and supportive group environment to discuss different contributing elements and actions. Transition scenarios are unique in type not only in terms of how they are created (process) but also their content. Their requirements are guided by transition management concepts and consider the “fundamental and irreversible change in the culture, structure and practices of a system.” Scenario types First generation Second generation Content
Great Transition The Great Transition is a term used by the Global Scenario Group (GSG) to describe a vision of a just and sustainable global future. The term was originally used by Kenneth E. Bouldings in The Meaning of the 20th Century - The Great Transition, Harper Colophon Books Copyright 1964, considered a hallmark conception of systems thinking and the shift from pre-modern to post-modern culture and the four possible traps that will allow humanity to successful journey the Great Transition. The elements of the Great Transition vision include egalitarian social and ecological values, increased human interconnectedness, improved quality of life, and a healthy planet, as well as an absence of poverty, war, and environmental destruction. The Great Transition concept has been adopted by numerous individuals and organizations in the sustainability sphere, most notably by Jigmi Y. Background Alternative scenarios Conventional Worlds Barbarization Great Transition
Scenario analysis Scenario analysis is a process of analyzing possible future events by considering alternative possible outcomes (sometimes called "alternative worlds"). Thus, the scenario analysis, which is a main method of projections, does not try to show one exact picture of the future. Instead, it presents consciously several alternative future developments. Principle The analysis is designed to allow improved decision-making by allowing consideration of outcomes and their implications. Scenario analysis can also be used to illuminate "wild cards." Financial applications For example, in economics and finance, a financial institution might attempt to forecast several possible scenarios for the economy (e.g. rapid growth, moderate growth, slow growth) and it might also attempt to forecast financial market returns (for bonds, stocks and cash) in each of those scenarios. Depending on the complexity of the problem scenario analysis can be a demanding exercise. Geopolitical applications
Rob Hopkins of Transition Town Totnes and Transition Culture As Lester Brown recently noted on this site, the coming decline of oil will be ‘a seismic economic event’. So what do we do when we learn that the ’black gold’ will soon start running out? Do we grab a gun and head for the hills, or do we redouble our efforts to build strong, resilient communities and economies that are not dependent on fossil fuels? Rob Hopkins is at the forefront of the latter approach. Originally a permaculture teacher, Rob began tackling peak oil by coordinating an energy descent action plan with his students for Kinsale, the town in Ireland where he was living and teaching. [Photo credit: Jersey Evening Post] Treehugger: The Kinsale Energy Decent Action Plan appears to be a first of its kind, namely an inclusive, community focussed approach to getting off oil. The Kinsale Plan was just done as a student project. TH: Many in the Peak Oil community believe in an Armageddon-type scenario, and its not uncommon to hear people say "I'm OK - I've got 20 acres and a gun."
Environmental governance Environmental governance is a concept in political ecology and environmental policy that advocates sustainability (sustainable development) as the supreme consideration for managing all human activities—political, social and economic. Governance includes government, business and civil society, and emphasizes whole system management. To capture this diverse range of elements, environmental governance often employs alternative systems of governance, for example watershed-based management. It views natural resources and the environment as global public goods, belonging to the category of goods that are not diminished when they are shared. This means that everyone benefits from for example, a breathable atmosphere, stable climate and stable biodiversity. Public goods are non-rivalrous—a natural resource enjoyed by one person can still be enjoyed by others—and non-excludable—it is impossible to prevent someone consuming the good (breathing). Definitions Challenges
Global Scenario Group The Global Scenario Group (GSG) was an international, interdisciplinary body convened in 1995 by the Tellus Institute and the Stockholm Environment Institute to develop scenarios for world development in the twenty-first century. The GSG’s underlying scenario development work was rooted in the long-range integrated scenario analysis that Tellus Institute and Stockholm Environment Institute had undertaken through the PoleStar Project. Initially conceived in 1991 as a tool for integrated sustainability planning and long-range scenario analysis, PoleStar was inspired by the 1987 Brundtland Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future, which first put the concept of “sustainable development” on the international agenda. The work of the Global Scenario Group was widely adopted in high-level intergovernmental settings. Scenarios Conventional Worlds Barbarization Breakdown: The world descends into conflict and collapse. See also
Transition Culture La Gouvernance, entre innovation et impuissance 1Le terme de « gouvernance » s’est imposé au cours des années 90 comme le symbole d’une nouvelle modernité dans les modes d’action publique et le gouvernement des entreprises ; et est devenu, en quelques années, un des lieux communs du vocabulaire de l’aménagement du territoire. Si récemment l’affaire ENRON a pu contribuer à en démystifier les promesses, les critiques - même justifiées - qu’a pu susciter ce concept1 ne doivent pas faire oublier la part incontestable d’innovation démocratique qu’il recèle. Le domaine de l’environnement, qui a joué sur ce thème un rôle précurseur, est sans doute celui où l’on mesure le mieux cette ambiguïté. Et c’est ce qui justifie qu’il soit pris ici comme exemple – d’autant que les points communs avec l’aménagement du territoire sont, comme on le constatera, multiples. 3Cet essor tout particulier des nouvelles formes de gouvernance dans le champ de l’environnement s’explique aisément par au moins trois raisons convergentes : 1.1. 1. 2. 1.3. 1.4. 2.1.
Eco-communalism Eco-communalism is an environmental philosophy based on ideals of simple living, self-sufficiency, sustainability, and local economies. Eco-communalists envision a future in which the economic system of capitalism is replaced with a global web of economically interdependent and interconnected small local communities. Decentralized government, a focus on agriculture, biodiversity, ethnic diversity, and green economics are all tenets of eco-communalism. History Eco-communalism finds its roots in a diverse set of ideologies. The term eco-communalism was first coined by the Global Scenario Group (GSG), which was convened in 1995 by Paul Raskin, president of the Tellus Institute. Alternative scenarios The eco-communalist vision is only part of GSC’s scenario analysis in the Great Transition essay which is organized into three categories. Real-world application Eco-communalism has taken root all over the globe on different levels. See also References
The Ghosts of Shoppers Past: why assumptions matter 12 Mar 2013 The Ghosts of Shoppers Past: why assumptions matter Berry Pomeroy Castle near Totnes is famed for supposedly being one of the most haunted castles in Britain. It is said that the ghosts can still be seen of the Pomeroy brothers riding to their doom over the castle cliffs to avoid losing the castle following a siege. Parts of it were built by the Pomeroy family during the 15th century in order to offer protection during the turbulent years of the Wars of the Roses (it was all a bit wild and lawless in those days). An artist’s impression of Berry Pomeroy Castle at its pinnacle of opulence (Image: English Heritage). He transformed Berry Pomeroy into the ‘Beckingham Palace’ of its time, with its lavish grand staircase, it’s long galleries, its stunning views of the countryside through the vast full-height bay windows. An artist’s impression of one of Edward Seymour II’s parties at the Castle (Image: English Heritage). Trouble was, Edward was living beyond his means.