Unfortunately, oil does not grow on trees. Science has proved time and time again that oil will in fact run out. However, as Rob Hopkins points out in his Ted Talk, Transition to a World Without Oil, we have based everything from economic growth to business plans on the idea that we would have indefinite access to oil. Now we are faced with the problem of how to transition to a world without oil.
Rob offers four different theories on how we can proceed. First, we could continue on with business as usual. This strategy would lead to deteriorating quality of life as we continuously contribute to climate change. Society could hit the wall and give up on finding any solution or we could attempt to invent our way out of the climate crisis. Finally, Rob suggests that we follow the Transition Response. This action calls for a creative, adaptable response which is viral, open-source, self-organizing, solutions focused, and sensitive to location and scale. This response is centered around the idea of resiliency; how systems bounce back. According to Rob, this is better than the idea of sustainability when thinking about how we can best prepare for the future. This transitional response has led to the creation of the Transition Network. Transition looks to inspire and connect communities to work towards a “low carbon, socially-just, healthier, and happier future.” Groups around the world have created community farms, sponsored education programs about organic farming, and have even created their own alternative energy plants.
I found this Ted Talk to be particularly interesting because of my particular passion for sustainability. Obviously, we need to find a way to move away from our current habits of consumption and towards a more sustainable future. I appreciated Rob’s Transition Approach, as it pushed for a gradual yet thorough change. Ideally, we could just snap our fingers and magically become dependent on solar, wind, or water energy. However, I do not foresee this happening. Therefore, a more gradual approach is more feasible. Transition has had a great impact in small communities all over the globe, so this encouraged me to think about the possible affects it could have in an organizational setting. If Transition also targeted organizations and had a Transition group within, what could they do to lead the organization into a “low carbon, socially-just, healthier, and happier future”? What would this look like?