Where does equality fit in Transition? Are last week’s riots in the UK in some way separate to Transition’s work? Or could it be said that the riots are symptomatic of a deeper malaise of separation and status differences that sets people against one another and scrapes away at a community’s resilience?
In the UK, less than 30% believe that “most other people can be trusted”. In France, it’s just over 20%, in Portugal it’s just 10%. In general, in countries that have a higher level of income equality, there are higher levels of trust. Given this, how can Transition succeed in building resilience if it doesn’t work on inequality alongside climate change and peak oil?
Climate change and peak oil are pretty gigantic challenges so do we need to keep our eyes on this only? Or, does inequality deal such blows to a community’s resilience that we can only be effective in dealing with climate change and peak oil, if we tackle inequality alongside it? Is a sense of equality and fairness somehow implicit in Transition or do we need to strive to make sure that the Transition is just and fair?
The staff team at Transition Network have been mulling over these kinds of questions for some time. Our discussions have journeyed from responses to inequality need to be somewhere in Transition towards responses to inequality need to be everywhere in Transition, and perhaps at the centre. We’ve come up with a possible new purpose statement to reflect this. It says:
“Transition Network supports community-led responses to climate change, inequality and shrinking supplies of cheap energy, building resilience and happiness.”
Of course this statement is fairly familiar except for the addition of the word “inequality”. If we are to change Transition Network’s purpose statement in this way, it will be because people involved in Transition want this to happen.
Do you feel strongly about this either way? If so, we want to hear your thoughts. Please send your brief, no more than 600 word piece to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining why you think inequality should or shouldn’t be included in Transition Network’s purpose statement. Deadline: 2nd September. We’ll then be publishing all submissions in a blog on the Transition Network site in early to mid September.