Tag Archives: transition towns

Eco-localist dreams and realities

A central theme of green politics has always been the importance of the local, captured in the familiar slogan ‘think globally, act locally’. Advocates of relocalisation see “the local production of food, energy and goods and the local development of currency, governance, and culture” as the way to “strengthen local communities, improve environmental conditions and social equity.” With its focus on coping with peak oil and climate change, the Transition Towns project has a similar objective.

Greg Albo (2007) describes how these ‘eco-localist’ ideas emphasise

a host of approaches that … rest on some mix of community and cooperative economics, semi-autarchic trade, local currency systems and direct democracy in enterprises and local government. … In this vision, ecological balance is restored within decentralized communities by the need to find local solutions. (p.344)

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A vision for the sustainable city: urbanisation with civilisation

Some greens may imagine the sustainable society to be a verdant rural paradise of small agricultural communities and market towns peopled by farmers and artisans. This Romantic dream is a delusion. While in 1800, only 3% of the world’s population lived in cities or urban areas, now, in 2008, the figure is 50%, and it is expected to reach 60% by 2030 (data here). Whether we like it or not, a sustainable society will be an urban society; the question for greens is: how do we make our cities sustainable? In a recent article in Capitalism Nature Socialism, Bill Hopwood and Mary Mellor have sketched out some answers to this question.

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