Frequently Asked Questions


Many of the phrases we use may not be familiar so that’s why we’ve created this FAQ.


What is Transition Network/Initiatives about?


Transition Network is the network of Transition Initiatives around the world. There are currently 1,130 communities in 44 countries responding on a local level to climate change, rising energy prices and the economic downturn.


It all started in Totnes, Devon in 2006 with Rob Hopkins and Naresh Giangrande. They set up the very first Transition Town, Transition Town Totnes. A lot of information was being disseminated, whether through movies, books or articles, about the problems of climate change but the solution seemed to involve hiking up a mountain and living alone in a cave.


Transition Network helps initiatives come up with community-based solutions. They are a charitable organisation “whose role is to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities as they self-organise around the Transition model, creating initiatives that rebuild resilience and reduce CO2 emissions”.


Basically Transition is a social experiment on a massive scale.


We are convinced that:

  • if we wait for the government, it’ll be too little, too late

  • if we act as individuals, it’ll be too little

  • if we act as communities, it might be enough, just in time


Here’s a short video about Rob Hopkins’s new book The Power of Just Doing Stuff.


There are a number of resources related to Transition, including the books:



What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability of a system to withstand external shocks and still be able to function. A community is more resilient if it is able to meet some of its own needs. For example, if a foot of snow falls in a street and people are unable to leave, they will be more resilient if they know their neighbours and are able to live off the food they’ve canned and pickled.


What is peak oil?

Peak oil is the point in time when the global production of oil reaches its maximum rate, after which production gradually declines. It has become much more difficult to access oil so instead of oil gushing out of the ground, we’ve had to resort to other ways to access it and that takes more energy. This means that extracting the oil becomes more expensive economically and environmentally.


Who is involved?

Some of the people involved in Transition Cobham include Sir Gerry Acher, Lady Joyce Acher, Elizabeth Barton, Leonard Beighton, David Bellchamber, Ian Clifford, Spencer Crocker, Tina Gordon, Jane Halliwell, Stéphanie Jacometti, Jean Lane, Gill Money, Kathryn Nedd, Jill Newman, Julia Stuart, David Tipping, Jackie Trewby and Sylvia Williams.


Where do you get your money?

We raise money through selling baked goods, chutneys and the Transition Free Press newspaper at events. The groups apply for funding separately and receive grants from the local council and local community organisations.


What do you do with your money?

We have few expenses but we do have them. We have room hire costs, event hire costs as well as insurance costs.


I already recycle, buy local food and have insulated my house. What else do you want me to do?!

Excellent! Well done on all those things! And please keep doing that stuff. If you’d like to meet people who are on the same page and if you have ideas, time and energy, we’d love you to join us. Even if you’ve never been part of a community organisation, please take a chance and chat with us. Many of the Transition Cobham members have never been involved with a community organisation and it’s been a pleasant surprise!