Global Problems – Local Solutions

March 9, 2011

In my February 23 post, I mentioned Transition Towns and the depletion of fossil fuel. “Transition” refers to the transition from a world powered by fossil fuel to one where there is no fossil fuel.

In understanding this change I find my training in Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication helpful. Central to his system is the distinction between needs and strategies. All people have the same basic needs, which fall under seven categories: autonomy, celebration, integrity, interdependence, physical nurturance, play, and spiritual connection. To meet those needs people have devised countless strategies. Consuming fossil fuel is not a need but part of a strategy for meeting needs: I drive a car to work because work is my strategy for getting physical nurturance; I drive a car to see my boyfriend, and that is a strategy for play and interdependence.

The movement called Transition Towns is a way to help people create new strategies for meeting needs. The book I’ve been reading, The Transition Handbook, does not mention needs and strategies, but that is what it’s about – new strategies to meet needs in an age of diminishing fossil fuel: local strategies: local sources of energy, locally grown food, and local community action. In these days of change, how we relate to our neighbors will be more important to our quality of life than anything that the Republicans or Democrats in Washington do.

I’ve indicated in previous postings that social action is a part of my spiritual path. In the transition to a post-fossil-fuel world, social action becomes necessary for both our physical and spiritual well-being.


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