Sustainable WNC

The Gateway to Sustainability in Western North Carolina

Archive for June, 2007

Transition Town Asheville

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

Transition Town Asheville

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

What would forward-thinking folks in a city do when it became clear that their way of life would inevitably, drastically change within the next 10-15 years? They would get together and plan the steps needed for a smoother transition, right?

That’s exactly what has been happening in cities from Kinsale, Ireland to Totnes, England; Brisbane, Australia; Sebastopol and Willits, California; Portland, Oregon; and Ithaca, New York.

Faced with the reality of dwindling supplies of oil and natural gas (sometimes referred to as “Peak Oil”), together with the huge threats of climate change, people all over the world are formulating plans for transitioning away from our heavy reliance on fossil fuels. We can learn from them.

Community Solutions in Yellow Springs, Ohio, hosts a yearly gathering to discuss peak oil. In Kinsale, Ireland, Rob Hopkins started a movement of “transition towns” that is spreading all over the UK. The Kinsale group was one of the first to develop a transitional plan which outlines, year by year, what is needed to achieve energy self-sufficiency by the year 2021. It covers everything from local food production to jobs to transportation and housing. There are also ten recommended steps to take to create a transition in any city. See

Here in Asheville, a small group formed in early 2007 with the intention of studying what other cities and towns were doing, learning from them, and beginning such a planning process in our own area. We recognize that fossil fuels are finite resources, and that the end of the Age of Oil is inevitable. Dwindling reserves, climate change, and the instability of our over-centralized systems all create the potential for major crises in the coming years. We want to encourage cooperation and communication among existing groups and organizations, harnessing our collective wisdom, caring and effort, in crafting such a plan. We decided to call our group “Transition Town Asheville,” with the following Vision and Mission:

VISION - To build a vibrant network of neighborhoods and communities in Asheville and surrounds, in order to transform our fossil fuel economy into a thriving bioregional system. Together we can meet the challenges of global warming, peak oil and economic uncertainties.

MISSION – Transition town Asheville is a local group of citizens dedicated to helping people in neighborhoods, businesses, and communities within the bioregion transition to a sustainable economy based on renewable energy and local production. TTA educates citizens, advocates for governmental change, catalyzes ventures, connects, collaborates and supports people, neighborhoods and communities.

In order to accomplish our vision:
–We will facilitate a community-driven planning process for an Asheville free of dependence on fossil fuels.
–We will coordinate with the various groups, communities and local government bodies to maximize our efforts in moving this region towards the most life-affirming future possible.

We kicked off our public outreach effort on May 10 with a panel to share what we had learned so far about other cities. To contact TTA: Pat Hinkley,