ISBN 978-1-900322-56-0. “The Transition Timeline for a local, resilient future” was published by Green Books in 2009. Shaun Chamberlin’s opus weighs in at 190 pages of the same layout and format as Rob Hopkins’ “Transition Handbook” (who also supplies the foreword to this work). This work was originally aimed at those who were working on their Community’s Energy Descent Action Plan. We loved the cover artwork – as memorable and iconic as that drawn for Rob’s original handbook. We get five book sections: “Cultural stories and Visions of the Future”, “A Deeper Look at the Transition Vision”, “Making Best use of this Timeline”, “Global Context – Climate Change/Fuel Depletion” and “UK Context”. Shaun’s work is as next to perfect as you could wish to get at this stage. Seeing as this is only the second “Transition” book published to date (these words written in September 2009 in the brink of the “Local Food” book launch). This goes beyond Rob Hopkins original work which leant heavily on theory and bizarre management games. In fact it manages to be far superior because the Transition narrative only gets better as theory turns into practice. By now we are starting to see how the pioneering Transition Visions are starting to flesh out. We get a good clear guide as to how it is our very culture that has to change.
You can argue that the term “cultural stories” is largely meaningless to the layman and smacks of a work of fiction – but the contents of the visions certainly withstand scrutiny – even if is tempting to see it all as wishful thinking. We know that these changes in our thinking have to happen. However in the acid-test of the real-world we don’t see it happening beyond that minority of cultural-creatives inside the Transition Movement.
It remains unclear as to how we enthuse an apathetic community to get out of bed and start to work on the EDAP. How do we reach out? That book has not yet been written. Instead we do get something quite surprising in Shaun’s work. Half-way through the book he runs out of “vision” material and starts musing on the combined effects of Climate Change and Peak oil. This is like a whole new book by itself and is probably the quite convincing and cohesive study of how the two forces inter-twine. Oil will certainly run out in time to terminate some of the very worse-case-scenarios modelled by the IPCC but there is still enough carbon left in the ground to push us through the tipping points that could trigger unstoppable climate change. Indeed, we have done so much damage already, with the first half of our fossil fuels, that a minimum of 2 degreesC rise this century is guaranteed. We’ll be lucky to escape by the skin of our teeth. Shaun argues that drastic changes are now required to shut off the carbon pipeline. Transition is the only answer. There is no technology yet that can save us. We have to change. What a vision. Thoroughly recommended. Grim with a glimmer of hope.