Saturday, 23 June 2012

In Transition

I've just finished watching a documentary film called In Transition. It's about communities that are trying to become less dependent on oil, and products made from it.

I thought it was worth mentioning, because unlike many films of this genre, it manages to do this without any hysteria or evangelism. Sure, some of the people interviewed are die-hard environmentalists. But most of the people are just ordinary folks trying to make a small change, and in the process, making new friends in their local neighbourhood. Like the chef who proudly announces that all the ingredients for his dishes come from within a 50 mile radius of his kitchen, and he personally knows the farmer who supplied the meat.

There were a few technical terms in the film that weren't explained fully (I'm guessing there probably wasn't enough time). So if phrases like "Peak Oil" don't mean much to you, then you might not get the most out of the film. It's still worth watching though. There's a different film that explains these terms in a wonderfully simple way, which I'll share in a future post.

Here are some great quotes from the film that I couldn't help noting down:

 - In the US, a carrot travels an average of 1838 miles in order to reach the dinner table.

 - In the UK, 50 percent of all vegetables and 95 percent of fruit come from overseas. There are crops like garlic that we could grow in the UK, but instead we import them from China and other countries.

 - In England, 142,000 acres of orchards have been cut down in the last 100 years (I've noticed myself that even in the British apple season, we import apples from overseas).

All of this means a lot of transportation, which invariably uses oil. A consultant presenting the issues to a local council meeting summed up the problem: "We're moving from a time when our consumption of fossil fuels - be it oil or gas - is the key factor in our economic success, our sense of wellbeing, our personal prowess; to a time when our dependency on fossil fuels is our degree of vulnerability".

Despite this, I thought the film ended without any definite conclusions. However, there was an invitation for viewers to send in their own stories on video for use in a sequel.

You can now watch the film online for free, in the window below, or via Vimeo.Grab a mug of tea first - it runs for about 50 minutes.

In Transition 1.0 from Transition Towns on Vimeo.

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