What is transition? What do people in a transition group do? What makes a transition group a transition group? What are the notable patterns?

These questions, and more, were addressed in a long-term review and evaluation process in 2020/2021. Please see this news article for more background.

What resulted from this work is the below list of Characterstics. We can now use these to describe what transition groups do and how they do it.

People in the Transition movement come together to:

  • Engage with the need for change – creating spaces for exploring and engaging with, the complex interconnected challenges of our times (climate change, loss of biodiversity, social injustice and other impacts of the global growth economy).
  • Co-create motivating and imaginative narratives and visions – using creative and participatory methods to share stories and possibilities of a healthy, just and resilient future.
  • Connect and care for each other – building social cohesion and resilience through practising and celebrating creativity, mutual support, fun and friendship, bridging divides and decreasing polarisation to create caring and equitable communities and cultures.
  • Support inner transformations – growing our individual and collective psychological resilience and wellbeing, supporting thriving groups, relationships and conflict transformation, and exploring how our mindsets, attitudes, emotions and worldviews can contribute to or block social change.
  • Address injustice –  increasing awareness of social justice issues within and beyond our movement and finding ways to decolonise, heal and make reparations for historic and current injustices, becoming good allies to those who have been doing this work for many years.
  • Apply Living Systems Design – understanding the principles of living systems and working with whole system design approaches to support the development and emergence of regenerative social systems including: economies, education, health, food/farming and more.
  • Take practical actions – designing and implementing practical projects which reduce carbon emissions, address equitable climate change mitigation and adaptation, and increase local resilience e.g. in areas such as food, energy, waste, transport, shelter, habitat protection and healthy ecosystems, mutual aid, community building and disaster relief.
  • Contribute to a wellbeing economy – innovating and collaborating to create economic models and opportunities focused on wellbeing and inclusion e.g. new social enterprises, currencies, livelihoods.
  • Broaden and deepen participation – convening diverse participation and supporting distributed and engaged deliberation and decision making processes. Valuing and accommodating multiple perspectives and life experiences, including those marginalised by current systems.
  • Energise networks and alliances – bringing together and contributing to broad alliances across different levels of scale. Working with local, regional and wider partners, including local government. Making visible, and helping to energise and amplify networks and ecosystems of change that are working towards a common purpose.


We hope that this list of characteristics:

  • will help Transition groups and hubs tell inspiring stories about themselves and their place within a richly diverse international movement;
  • feels rooted in the reality of what’s happening across the Transition movement right now;
  • makes more visible the breadth and depth of activities that are possible;
  • supports Transition groups and hubs to learn, grow, reflect and make informed choices about where to put their energy;
  • will encourage further exploration of why and how we do what we do and the relationship between different aspects of our movement.
Last updated: December 2022