Education for Transition

Whole Community Transitions

The Transition Town movement, originating in the small town of Totnes, England, and now emerging as a strong international worknet, is a rapidly developing and impressive citizen-led movement that focuses on preparing town, city, island and country scale transitions for the energy descent already underway. 

group gardening

The Transition Town movement holds that 'preparation now' is the best means to avoid another descent – into horrible chaos brought about by increasingly frequent and desperate resource wars. This associated descent is unfortunately also already underway, and showing signs of escalation as essentials such as water supply, soils and oil peak while, at the same time, climate disruption accelerates and further disrupts our global food systems. Indeed the proposition is that conscious engagement in transition is a growth opportunity for all, and through transition, we have the opportunity to at last mature our social and economic systems to allow for ecological regeneration and social justice.

Transitioneers are optimistic – and we count Gaia University amongst this community – but offer no guarantees. There is, in fact, a "cheerful disclaimer" at the core of the process that reads as follows:

"Just in case you were under the impression that Transition is a process defined by people who have all the answers, you need to be aware of a key fact. We truly don't know if this will work. Transition is a social experiment on a massive scale. What we are convinced of is this:

  • if we wait for governments, it'll be too little, too late
  • if we act as individuals, it'll be too little
  • but if we act as communities, it might be just enough, just in time

Everything you read on this site is the result of real work undertaken in the real world with community engagement at its heart. There's not an ivory tower in sight, no professors in musty oak-paneled studies charring out erudite papers, no slavish adherence to a model carved in stone."


Personal Transitions

transforming ourselves to transform societyAt Gaia University you are encouraged to think about and document your own transition history, using the Gaia University support system to go further and deeper in this inquiry; to research transition theory (see Theory U and Bridges); and to develop your capacities to surf chaos.

We think of the degree/diploma earning process as transitionary in nature, as rites of passage echoing the rituals of ancient cultures in the modern age. Certainly graduation ceremonies and their associated fiestas look like events of meaning. There is much value to be gained from the perspective that an award marks an ending and a new beginning. For example, you might think of the completion of a bachelor's degree as marking the transition from young person to young adult, a master's degree as a passage between young adult and adult, and a doctoral degree as a passage between adult and wise elder. Diplomas can also be seen as rites of passage which mark the transition between informal learning that one does "on one's own" to participation in the collaborative culture that follows the paradigm of competition, enabling us to share knowledge through the documentation of one's work and its global dissemination.

Our observation is that zestful transitioneers – people ready to let go of old ways of thinking and old livelihoods and are ready to risk a little chaos while they search for new ways to become increasingly self-reliant, community embedded and constructively in service to society and planet – are valuable beyond measure both for the practical, ecosocial actions they come to make, and the inspiration they give others that such transitions are not only possible, but deeply rewarding. And very likely the presence of capable transitioneers in a community will be a factor in that community making a successful and significant transition itself.