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28 October 2014

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You are in: Birmingham > Places > Buildings > Should we become a Transition City?

Petrol pump (Getty Images)

Fuel costs are rising

Should we become a Transition City?

According to one environmental group, Birmingham has to change to thrive – and they’re drawing up a plan.

Transition Network is taking peak oil and climate change warnings from scientists seriously.

According to the group, petrol prices will continue to rise, food will become prohibitively expensive, and this is all because of Peak Oil - a theory that after global oil production reaches its highest, it will fall into terminal decline, driving the price up until it is no longer affordable.     

Birmingham's communities

People in Birmingham

We've forgotten how to function, say Transition Network

Members of the Transition City Birmingham group say we will need to change the way we live, not out of choice but necessity, because our dependence on oil and its derivatives is so heavy that we have forgotten how to function without it.

The charity hopes to start “engaging people and communities” in the city for its proposed adjustments, and claims anyone can get involved.

Second Transition City?

Transition Network hopes that Birmingham can follow in the footsteps of pioneer communities across the UK and the world, to create small, environmentally sustainable communities that are more self reliant in terms of things like food and energy use.

Totnes was the first UK Transition Town, and 40 other communities have since followed suit, including Brixton in London, and Bristol, which recently became the UK’s first Transition City. If Birmingham were officially to declare itself a Transition City, it would be among the largest yet, making the UK’s second city its second Transition City.

According to the group, it comes down to very simple principles: “The Transition Model is a loose set of real world principles and practices. Life with less energy is inevitable, and it is better to plan for it than be taken by surprise.”

What would we have to do?

In real terms, what practical steps does the group suggest we take, in order to achieve a more sustainable life? Felipe Molina, who represents West Midlands Permaculture Network in the group, says:

Home grown veg

Home grown veg

1. Get involved in your community- local campaigns, neighbourhood forums or gardening projects. Alternatively, start something up yourself around an issue that may concern or interest you. You could even start with getting to know your neighbour.

2. Learn more about your surrounding environment. What kind of plants
grow naturally in your area, what uses do they have? What about the trees? What kind of soil do you have in your area?

3. Think about the things you don’t need to consume. Ask yourself “do I need it?”

4. Grow your own food. Even if you have a small garden or live in a flat, you can be creative with limited space - using window boxes, for example.

5. Learn a lost skill, such as mending, carpentry, sowing, gardening and bicycle maintenance, so you can do more for yourself, and therefore save energy and resources.

6. Praise yourself for the small steps you and your community make, and don't overburden yourself with the scale of the changes needing to happen in the world.

last updated: 04/06/2008 at 19:53
created: 29/05/2008

Have Your Say

Should we be changing our lifestyles? Should Birmingham become a 'transition city'? Have your say in the comment box below.

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Robin Clarke
The very notion of a transition city is unsound. Cities of any size are inherently unsustainable anyway, but especially in the context of severely-reducing energy supplies. There has to be a massive project of de-urbanisation instead. And the overcrowded UK cannot support more than 1/3 its present population so most people will need to emigrate while they still have the means (7 airlines already gone bust this year.

You are in: Birmingham > Places > Buildings > Should we become a Transition City?

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