The potential for a citizen-led transformation exists in every community. Unleashing this potential requires one or a small group of committed people to take the first steps. These first steps can be modest and informal, such as getting a few friends or neighbours together to discuss different possibilities, hold a local awareness raising event or campaign, or carry out a survey. What’s crucial, however, is that someone takes this first step and gets the process underway.
Existing movements have established support networks to help communities launch such a process.
These movements also generally have national or regional hubs or networks, which can also be accessed via the links above. Other, similar, stand alone networks also exist, such as the Scottish Communities Climate Action Network. Existing local initiatives can also be a good source of help and advice. To find a group near you, take a look at the map of initiatives.
A wealth of tools and resource material also exist. In this section you will find a selection which can help to guide you through different stages of the process.
Community surveys and assessments
The Community sustainability assessment toolkit: a comprehensive checklist that anyone can complete to get a basic idea of how sustainable their community is. This assessment tool is applicable to any community. While it requires good knowledge of the lifestyles, practices and features of the community, it does not require research, calculation and detailed quantification. This assessment takes about two-three hours for an individual to complete, or several times that if done as a group experience by community members.
Tracking the emissions reductions of local sustainability initiatives. Community-based initiatives are important drivers of ideas and innovation in the transition towards a low-carbon society. They play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which is paramount to mitigate the dangerous effects of climate change.This tool has been developed to help community groups quantify the greenhouse gas emissions saved by their activities
Setting up a local initiative
The Step by step guide to setting up a Transition initiative: this explains the different stages the process of launching a community-led initiative, from meeting equally enthused people and deciding to give ‘transition’ a go (‘Starting out’), to developing a viable, vibrant project (‘Deepening’), then trying to broaden your engagement within the local community (‘Connecting’), and scaling up what you are doing in order to make localisation a reality on the ground (‘Building’). Lastly, there is a visionary, speculative stage of looking forward to how things might be if this happened everywhere (‘Daring to Dream’).
Starting out in Permaculture: which outlines some simple ideas to reduce your impact on the planet, and improve your quality of life.
Permaculture and Climate Change Adaptation: Inspiring Ecological, Social, Economic and Cultural Responses for Resilience and Transformation by Tom Henfrey and Gil Penha-Lopes
21 Stories of Transition by Rob Hopkins
Tools for youth workers and youth
Bridgedale360 is an online toolkit to empower youth workers and youth for active citizenship and alternatives for a more ethical behaviour towards the planet and people.