it’s the process, stupid! on transition communities going viral

viral community

Once we've decided that 'transition' communities can help us build the world we want, the viral engagement process looks like a good tool for the job, and we can pick it up by whatever handle we grasp and swing it as earnestly as we can, says John Robb (via globalguerrillas).

"Let's borrow/steal from what seems to work" in Rob Hopkins 'open source' methodology for unleashing community participation, and "build from there", says Robb.

According to Robb, "the real value of the Transition Towns approach is its concisely crafted methodology for catalyzing community participation." It worked in Sandpoint, Idaho, and could work anywhere.

Sandpoint Councilman John Reuter notes that “there’s just something happening here that’s reviving people’s civic sense of possibility”.

That's wot I'm talking about!

As Hopkins wonders (in this marvelous conference synopsis video): "How might our response to peak oil and climate change look more like a party than a protest march?"

According to Hopkins, the transition initiatives make feasible, viable and attractive the "energy descent" we know to be essential (carbon reduction) and inevitable (switching away from fossil fuel).

Of course, we'll need to navigate the initial barriers...what Hopkins calls ‘The Seven Buts’:

  1. But we’ve got no funding…
  2. But they won’t let us…
  3. But there are already green groups in this town, I don’t want to step on their toes…
  4. But no one in this town cares about the environment anyway…
  5. But surely it’s too late to do anything…?
  6. But I don't have the right qualifications…
  7. But I don't have the energy for doing that!

Never mind these barriers, says Hopkins. "There is something about seizing that boldness, about making the leap from 'why is no-one doing anything' to 'let's do something', that generates the energy to keep it moving."

And, according to Robb, the fact that community initiative is "messy" constitutes a virtue, since this 'open source' organizational process "allows people to deviate from the 'energy descent' approach if they desire to."

Viral is as viral does.

Published by Ken on April 21st, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives

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