[The blog's heading for a year old, so I'm getting all Janus-headed. The 'J' is of course kind of important here.]
So 201 posts ago I was pondering about Transition Towns. Could Whitley Bay become one? They're communities (towns, villages, cities, even an island or two) who come together to start addressing our long-term addiction to oil. Norwich is one, Totnes another. In fact, Totnes is where it started. Their latest initiative is an 'Energy Descent Plan', by which they'll coordinate their drop in energy usage over the next twenty or so years, so that, for example, energy shortages and oil price spikes don't spring any nasty surprises on them.
As the joint-owner of a patch of concrete, I'm particularly inspired by land-share schemes, whereby people who are not cultivating their gardens allow others without garden space to tend it for them, and the produce from the land is split. There are as many ideas as there are people creatively involved. Lewes, in the South East, developed its own currency, to encourage people to keep their money local (Whitley Bay Chamber of Trade please take note!). And best of all, though individuals retain their political convictions, the movement itself is deliberately non-partisan.
Who's organising this? Although increasingly councils have been getting involved (Lewes, Norwich and the towns around North Norfolk, for example), the impetus has always been bottom-up. Individuals getting together. Last Wednesday the local Transition groups hosted a meeting at the Star and Shadow Cinema, Newcastle, where a documentary about the movement was shown. I learned there that North Tyneside is in the process of forming its own group.
If you are interested, you could join the Transition Towns WIKI, which is what I'm off to do right now.