History of the Transition Movement


Totnes: The first Transition Town

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction” – Albert Einstein

The “Transition Towns” movement was founded in Totnes, England and Kinsale, Ireland during 2005 and 2006. The movement was spearheaded by environmentalist and permaculture designer Rob Hopkins. Specifically, the Transition concept emerged from work Hopkins had done with the students of Kinsale Further Education College in Ireland. Out of their efforts, the town produced an “Energy Descent Action Plan”. This looked at across-the-board creative adaptations in the realms of energy production, health, education, economy and agriculture as a “road map” to a sustainable future for the town.

Eventually, thanks to one of his students, Louise Rooney, the Transition Towns concept was presented to Kinsale Town Council. This resulted in the historic decision by Councillors to adopt the plan and work towards energy independence. The idea was adapted and expanded in September 2006 to Hopkins’ hometown of Totnes where he is now based. The initiative since then has spread quickly. While referred to as “Towns”, the communities involved range from villages (Kinsale), through council districts (Penwith), to cities and city boroughs (Brixton).

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