Rob Hopkins Inspires Transition Bro Ddyfi
The unleashing of Transition Bro Ddyfi on March 18 was a joyful, positive event, with a feast for the eyes and inners– the huge cake, baked by many hands, and a feast for the ears - with Roxanne coaxing extraordinary harmonies from the circle assembled in Y Plas for the occasion. So many local groups supported the launch, and added their voices to the introductions – everyone from the end of life carers in Machynlleth to the local butcher was there. The Bro Ddyfi team staged an evening of warmth, connectivity and surprise, with many shades of celebration, reflection and inspiration to weave together a meaningful experience for all who attended.
The star of the evening was undoubtedly Rob Hopkins, founding father of Transition, who gave a sparkling and salutary presentation in his own particular style - that famous blend, peculiar to the Transition Movement, of dire warning and deeply motivating and positive impetus to achieving resilience and behaviour change in our society.
It is that unique blend of unflinching realism and positive, life-enhancing response that has caught the public imagination worldwide in such a short time – it’s hard to believe that the whole initiative has snowballed to such an extent in only a little more than 3 years.
Rob began his address with the fables of yesteryear – the Elves and the Shoemaker, the Magic Porridge Pot, the tale of the Seven League Boots – stories we grew up with and tales that are so embedded as popular archetypes in our collective unconscious. He said people had always had these dreams, and in the Age of Oil, they seemed to have become manifest for the developed world. But the Age of Oil is over – or at least in its closing stages, because we are already at or past the peak of discovery and extraction, and, although there are still reserves, they will become increasingly more costly to extract and refine, and this will bring about dramatic changes in the world as we have known it in our lifetimes.
Rob may have been preaching to the converted at this gathering, but even to those familiar with the need to power down, relocalise skills and food production, and begin to build a vision of what life will be like in a post-oil society, his words were inspiring. He is very good at showing us a positive vision for how communities can respond to the challenges of peak oil and climate change, so that we feel more able to move forward, rather than becoming frozen into immobility by the damning truths of our situation.
He spoke of the other way of looking at and selling this vision to others – by seeing an opportunity for people to enrich their lives rather than becoming impoverished by the inevitable changes in the future. He invited us to see the upside of more connected human communities working and celebrating together, with more say in their local organisation, and more individual and group empowerment to affect their own destinies. He spoke of better quality of life, with children growing up more in touch with the sources and nature of real local food, and how to prepare and share it with others. He drew a picture of a society where the skills and knowledge of the old are valued and gladly built upon by those who come after, and how there is still time to learn from people who lived before the age of cheap oil.
Rob stressed the importance of the grassroots initiative that are springing up everywhere as particular local responses within Transition, and how those can be woven within the context of larger planning projects, and include existing community groups.
He ended his presentation with a remarkable visual inversion – he showed the now familiar graph with the curve of peak oil. Then he turned it upside down, and invited us to see this ‘peak’ from a completely different perspective: a deep abyss from which we are climbing out and upwards to a better, healthier, and more life-affirming future – and this is the very positive message that will attract others to join the process of Transition.
Mandy Dean welcomes the visitors
Roxanne tuning up the singers
Rob Hopkins inspires his audience
The circle gets ready to sing!