This is for me why the most important focus for the Transition response is on resilience. Whether the current pulse is the economy, climate change, peak oil or any other of a range of issues, the fact remains that we are desperately unresilient at a time when that is really something you don't want to be. The point is that building resilience, moving towards localisation, building parallel public infrastructure, is the best response to all these challenges, and can be justified whichever issue happens to be pulsing the strongest. In the wonderful 'The Upside of Down', which I have recently picked up again, Tom Homer-Dixon writes "if we want to thrive, we need to move from a growth imperative to a resilience imperative". Although he acknowledges that, in so far as society is currently configured, economic growth is critical for the world's economy, "it must not be at the expense of the overarching principle of resilience, so needed for any coming transformation of human civilisation". I often argue that resilience is the new sustainability, a far more appropriate principle to underpin future planning.
Neil Adger, writing in 2003 (in an academic paper which is not available online unfortunately), wrote that "resilience also requires communities and societies to have the ability to self-organise and to manage resources and make decisions in a manner that promotes sustainability". It is this self-organisation and community empowerment that Transition focuses on. Yet in doing this work, peak oil as a term and as an analysis offers a vital lens through which to view the world, as does climate change. Peak oil offers a concise analysis of resource depletion in a visceral way that most people can really 'get'. Presented in the context of a historic-feeling, self-organising, positive, solutions-focused process such as Transition, peak oil begins to lose its association with 'doom and fundamentalism', instead being seen as a clarifying insight into what is afoot in the world. Yet like all these other issues, it will pulse, one week being centre stage, the next week being overtaken by other issues, yet all the while, in communities across the world, the process of building resilience from the ground up continues, becoming more articulate, better networked, more effective and more able. Ultimately, it will be that pulse that will be the strongest of them all.