TL: Since you started this work have your ideas about what we are transitioning to or how we should be making that transition changed?
RH: I think when we started Transition it was very much framed as a community response to peak oil and climate change. It was about resilience. That was the beginning of it. I think now after seven years we talk about it being a community-led response based on the idea of community resilience as economic development. What we found after doing Transition for three or four years and going around meeting lots of groups and talking to them was that they were all saying the same thing: “I feel like during my week in order to keep the roof over my head and feed my family I’m working, doing something that runs against the values that are why I joined Transition. And then on Wednesday evenings and maybe on the odd Saturday I do stuff to try and pull it back in the right direction. I want to be able to step across and have my livelihood going in the right direction.”
Whether people call it Transition, whether they attribute it to peak oil, climate change, all these kind of things, what’s resonating with people I think is that the economy is just going down the tubes and it doesn’t represent us. It doesn’t build justice, fairness, the kinds of things we want to see. And we can do a better job and that’s already starting to be modeled.
TL: What’s been most concerning that you’ve seen here?
RH: I think the thing that I didn’t appreciate or having any experience of, the fear levels around this stuff is much higher here and there is that very real, palpable sense that once things start to fall there is nothing to catch — the whole stuff with healthcare here and how that worries people and how it completely dominates people’s life choices and how they spend their time and how much money they have to be bringing in just to cover the basics. I will go home and kiss my national health service on the cheek.