Transition Tales in Totnes: Imagining A Positive Low-Energy Future

Transition Town Totnes, in the south of England, has also hitched story to imagination in an effort to change the course of their community’s future.  Seeking creative ways of coping with the twin specters of peak oil and climate change, they have hosted a series of storytelling workshops with adults and children both in schools and in the community.  At these workshops, participants are aided in imagining a future in which the challenges posed by peak oil and climate change are being successfully met.  Participants then write, tell or act out stories about specific people set in this future.

Rob Hopkins, in The Transition Handbook, describes the use of Transition Tales and provides examples of stories people have written such as a 2014 article about the success of a local hemp building materials business and a 2029 story about Victoria and David Beckham moving into their cob retirement house to pursue their hobby of growing heirloom vegetables.

Since The Transition Handbook was published, The Totnes Transition Tales project has expanded their work.  Now, they even have a channel on YouTube, where you can watch newscasts from Totnes in 2030 AD put together by Year 7 students from King Edward VI Community College.  (To give you a sense of what they’ve achieved, I’ve embedded one of their videos above.)

The Transition Tales re-storying process provides individuals and the community with a positive view of a low-energy future to work towards.  The process of creating stories also helps people to deal with the feelings they have in the present about the prospect of peak oil and climate change.

As Richard Heinberg says in the forward to the Transition Handbook, if it is to be successful the transtion movement needs to be “more like a party than a protest march.”  In Totnes, Transition Tales have been a key part of this party.

For further information and up-to-date news please check out the Transition Tales Project website.

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