Rob Hopkins and ‘engaged optimism’.
A wonderful enlightened approach to the challenges facing our beautiful planet.
Rob Hopkins is a remarkable fellow. In so many ways he is the most unlikely person to have kicked off almost single-handedly, a gathering world-wide revolution.
He is the co-founder of Transition Town Totnes and of the Transition Network. This grew out of many years experience in education, teaching permaculture and natural building, and setting up the first 2 year full-time permaculture course in the world, at Kinsale Further Education College in Ireland, as well as co-ordinating the first eco-village development in Ireland to be granted planning permission.
He is author of ‘The Transition Handbook: from oil dependence to local resilience’, which has been published in a number of languages, and which was voted the 5th most popular book taken on holiday by MPs during the summer of 2008, and more recently of ‘The Transition Companion: making your community more resilient in uncertain times’, published in October 2011. He publishes the blog www.transitionculture.org, recently voted ‘the 4th best green blog in the UK’(!). He tweets as @robintransition, and and recently came 11th in the PeerIndex-driven Sustainability Drivers List.
I am as guilty as the next person in promoting ‘doom and gloom’ when it comes to what mankind is doing to this planet. I devoted a couple of thousand words to that theme in a guest sermon that appeared on Learning from Dogs a week ago. That’s not to say that unless mankind, in the millions, changes in significant ways then avoiding a catastrophy to our species, and many others, is going to be hugely difficult.
But motivating us all to change is far better undertaken from a position of positive guidance and inspiration, than out of fear!
So when Jean and I listened to a recent BBC radio broadcast by Rob as part of the BBC Radio 4 Four Thought series we were blown away by the guidance and inspiration that Rob presented.
This is how the BBC introduces the programme,
Rob Hopkins, co-founder of the Transition Culture movement, believes that “engaged optimism” is the best way to face the global challenges of the future, be it climate change, oil supplies running out or the economic downturn. He believes initiatives enabling people to produce their own goods and services locally – from solar powered bottled beer to micro currencies like the Brixton pound – are the best way to build community resilience. Four Thought is a series of talks in which speakers give a personal viewpoint recorded in front of an audience at the RSA in London.
Producer: Sheila Cook.
So do listen to the programme and then click across to the Transition Culture website where Rob has posted a transcript of his talk. Please, whatever your plans today find time to listen to the programme and read the transcript. Here’s how Rob closes his talk,
I often end talks I give with Arundhati Roy’s quote “another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing”. I think we might adapt her quote, so that, in the context of this bottom-up drive for more resilient communities, communities better prepared for uncertain times, it is not only a case of hearing another world breathing, but being able to see her around us, already setting up local businesses, reviving her local economy, setting up bakeries, breweries, food hubs, mentoring scores of young people with business ideas, attracting inward social investment finance, creating the models whereby people can invest in their communities and see them being strengthened and supported.
That’s why I get out of bed in the morning, because I feel that the potential in our getting this right is so exquisite that it’s all I can do, and because the grim predictability of what will happen if we do nothing is just unthinkable, especially in relation to the challenge of climate change. If we are able to turn things around on the scale we need to turn them around on, to replace vulnerability, carbon intensity and fragility with resilience, it will be an achievement our children will tell tales about, sing songs about. I hope I am there to hear them. Thank you.
Another world is on her way!