Welcome to the premiere issue of Transition Voice, the new online magazine covering the predicaments of peak oil, climate change, economic crisis, and the the Transition movement’s response.
Transition Voice is a project of Transition Staunton Augusta, the 61st Transition initiative in the United States, located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. But that’s just where we live and work—the focus of the magazine is national and international. Our eco-online communications firm, Curren Media Group, built our website.
Otherwise, Transition Voice is an independent news and opinion magazine unaffiliated with other groups, organizations, companies, or individuals. Our aim is to present original news and opinion content that is well researched, and presented fairly. Yet we’re somewhat irreverent as well, because that’s just who were are. We like to laugh while staring into the sketchy looking present and future.
There are already many fine websites that cover the topic of peak oil. See the links in the sidebar of every page for a list of the ones we really like. Why does anybody need another one?
Our aim is to reach a wider audience, including those who do not yet know about peak oil or understand its implications, and to press the issue more actively into the national conversation.
To reach the soccer moms and swing voters of America and beyond, we hope to find the middle ground between the heated apocalyptic talk or detailed technical data on resource-depletion often heard in the peak oil community on the one hand and the green utopianism that drives much of the mainstream environmental press on the other.
Recently, more and more media outlets in print and online, from the New York Times on down, have started to mention peak oil. It’s about time.
But we think it will be a while before mainstream publications give the subject its due. For us, peak oil is our central topic, as we see energy as the key feature undergirding every element of human and global society and the core feature of economy. For us, the subject of the economy is less about cheer-leading for globalization than about seeing how America’s infrastructure is faring as the peak of world oil production approaches.
And this is perhaps where we diverge a bit from many of our friends in the global social justice movement. Of course we care about poverty in the Third World (is it still ok to use that term?). But we’re less excited about growing a market for fair-trade imports sold in boutiques and benefiting a village cooperative in Burkina Faso than we are in reducing the fossil-fuel miles of all our stuff, which will ultimately benefit us all.
While we believe in social justice and equity, we are concerned that not enough is being done to address equity at home, where the income gap between the very rich and the rest of us has grown to levels that would make Marie Antoinette blush; where gaps also continue to develop by race and religion; where jobs have been shipped offshore, domestic manufacturing has slowed to a crawl, and those businesses which are set up locally often rely on cheap imported goods to stock their shelves, basically becoming a mom-and-pop version of Wal Mart.
We also believe that as we step down from the fossil fuel economy it is imperative that we achieve energy justice in our communities first, to ensure both fairness and social stability. We should not be satisfied with suburbanites buying Priuses while inner city drivers are stuck with cash-sucking clunkers, what the brilliant Van Jones has dubbed “eco-Apartheid.” We consider it our job to encourage true relocalization that helps communities help themselves by improving a sphere of influence in which they can really make an impact by tapping into their available genius while doing so in a sustainable manner.
Our views on climate change are unapologetic—we believe in the science that has been peer-reviewed and acknowledged as true by the overwhelming majority of climate scientists and every major national scientific academy on Earth. We believe that burning fossil fuels is the main driver of today’s runaway climate change and that the top response necessary is aggressive conservation measures along with the fashioning of a 21st century economy that includes a lower carbon footprint across the board.
We will regularly be covering the worldwide Transition movement (see our interview with co-founder Rob Hopkins in this issue) as we believe that its focus on going local offers the most compelling model for our whole society to prepare for an economy beyond fossil fuels that is both positive and achievable.
As you look around, we hope you will read articles from the various different sections and comment on the articles with your views. You can follow us on Facebook and on Twitter and we encourage you to actively use the share feature on our site to get the word on out key issues.
We encourage original content contributions of writing, opinion, photography, graphic arts, video reports, info graphics, and other pieces you might dream up. We insist on well researched pieces and encourage you to be pithy, use humor, and offer a unique voice. Please see our writers’ guildelines for more. Contacting me for assignment writing first is a good place to start, unless you’ve got something particularly compelling up your sleeve.
Currently our staff is all volunteer. We have set a budget of $250,000 for 2011 and are seeking donations, underwriting and independent sponsorships for general operating expenses and to pay our contributors. Donations are tax deductible. You can donate through this page, or contact me for more details.
We hope you will enjoy Transition Voice, and check back regularly for blog updates. Our monthly issue will come out around the 25th of every month. Please subscribe for free on any page if you wish to receive alerts about new content. We hate spam too and of course we will never sell or share your information.
... “Peak oil is so important that everybody needs to be talking about it. Whether you’re a Buddhist baker in Berkeley or a suburban soccer mom in Sarasota, we hope that Transition Voice will help you understand why energy matters more than almost anything else in the news today,” said Erik Curren, the publisher of Transition Voice.
Curren, who lives in Staunton, is a 20-year veteran of communications and advocacy on energy and environmental issues. Curren launched Transition Voice with his wife, Lindsay Curren, who serves as the magazine’s editor. She first became interested in energy during six years as online discussion moderator at washingtonpost.com covering business, politics, and world news.
... “Sure, peak oil is scary. But it won’t help to get overwhelmed by it. Instead, we should learn the facts, have a good laugh at just how big it all is, and then get to work. There’s a big upside to world that peak oil will bring – stronger communities, tastier food, better quality stuff, and healthier living. And if we do it right, graduating from the Oil Age will help us all live with more freedom,” said publisher Erik Curren.
While there are already several websites with information and discussion about peak oil, Transition Voice will be the first to offer a magazine format online intended to be accessible to a broad audience ranging from experts to people completely new to the issue of peak oil.
The launch issue of Transition Voice features interviews with the late Matt Simmons, oil-industry investment banker, as well as Rob Hopkins, the founder of the Transition movement. Dr. James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climatologists, agreed to let the magazine reprint the speech he gave at the Appalachia Rising rally in Washington, DC in September. The issue also offers pieces from more than a dozen contributors across the United States and beyond, with articles on the rise of Permaculture, how to talk about global climate disruption and the psychology of peak oil, and other features including book reviews, recipes, and an interactive reader poll.