"To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing." - Raymond Williams

Happy birthday Transition Heathrow!

by Shaun Chamberlin on March 1st, 2011

Now here’s a video to lift your soul and make your day, celebrating the first birthday of the ever-more wonderful Transition Heathrow.

As discussed here last year, the site is not safe from the authorities, but it has now got an assured future until November at least. The ultimate aim is long-term community ownership. Thanks to all readers who supported the campaign, and huge congratulations to all at TT Heathrow – you are an inspiration.

Edit – Second short video now available.

The Intergalactic Health & Safety Inspectorate

by Shaun Chamberlin on February 11th, 2011

Marc Roberts 01-GortKlaatu

The brilliant cartoonist Marc Roberts (whose work will be familiar to regular Dark Optimism readers) got in touch with the Transition Network last year offering to produce a strip exploring the Transition concept. The time has come for the results to be unleashed on an unsuspecting public!

In Marc’s own words, “they will be loosely exploring some of the Holmgren and Chamberlin scenarios through my usual combination of toilet humour and sarcasm”.

He does himself a disservice – for me, it’s a real honour to see my work used by someone whose talents I have long admired and enjoyed.

Two cartoons will be released each week. This post will be updated with the new cartoons as they are released, and they will also go out on Rob Hopkins’ Transition Culture site and on a Transition Network blog.

The first four (+ a special message from the Inspectorate) are below. Hope you enjoy them!

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All Party Parliamentary TEQs report launch

by Shaun Chamberlin on January 23rd, 2011

APPGOPO TEQs front cover

What a week – Tuesday’s launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil’s report into TEQs was a tremendous success, with excellent media coverage, including Time magazine, The Sunday Times, Bloomberg News, the BBC, the Financial Times and many others (linked article list). The only problem has been that the degree of interest has been such that I haven’t found a moment to write anything here – although I have been Tweeting, I feel as though I’m the last to cover it!

A fuller, more thoughtful piece may follow when time allows, but for now take a look at the videos from the event (Caroline Lucas MP, John Hemming MP, Jeremy Leggett and me), the various blogs that are discussing the implications, and of course the report itself.

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In memoriam, David Fleming

by Shaun Chamberlin on November 29th, 2010

David Fleming and Shaun Chamberlin

My dear friend and colleague David Fleming unexpectedly passed away last night, peacefully in his sleep.

I am still somewhat in shock.

I only had the great fortune to know him for four years, but from the outset I knew what a privilege it was. He found me at a time when I was struggling to know where to direct my energies, and supported me in so many ways to learn how to build a life around doing what I love.

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‘Grow Heathrow’ Eviction Threat! Our support needed

by Shaun Chamberlin on August 24th, 2010

Grow Heathrow - victory!

The beautifully tended squatted community garden in Sipson, Heathrow has been served a court summons for eviction.

On the 1st of March this year the neglected plot on the planned site of the third runway was reclaimed, and for the last six months the Transition Heathrow team have worked with residents to rejuvenate, nay transform, the former market garden. They have shifted over 30 tonnes of rubbish from the site and set it to growing seasonal food, hosting workshops, teaching permaculture skills and even laying on a banquet for eighty people!

This ‘Grow Heathrow‘ project is part of a budding land movement in the UK linking communities who are taking back control of our food production, as well, of course, as supporting the successful No Third Runway campaign.

Their work in building resilience into the community is a great example of developing alternatives to the dominant system which is hurling us all towards environmental (and economic) catastrophe.

They are in negotiations with the landowners for long-term community ownership, but in the meantime they need our support. They ask for three things: Read more »

Highlights of Transition Conference Day 2 – including me just after Stoneleigh’s talk

by Shaun Chamberlin on June 16th, 2010

More video clips from the Conference can be found here, and audio here (including a quick interview with me on Energy Descent Planning for communities).

Edit – Indymedia have posted the audio and slides from the three hour workshop Jacqi Hodgson (Totnes EDAP coordinator) and I gave on community Energy Descent Planning. This is in fact the workshop pictured above, in the video’s freeze-frame.

Stoneleigh’s peak oil/finance talk at the Transition Conference

by Shaun Chamberlin on June 15th, 2010

Goodbye cruel world

This post was originally written by me as a guest post for Rob Hopkins’ Transition Culture blog, but I have kindly given myself permission to reproduce it here 😉

So here I am. I fully intended to be giving the England match my full attention right now, but I’ve been left distinctly restive by this afternoon’s long session by Stoneleigh of The Automatic Earth, and feel the need to put some thoughts down.

Including the extensive Q&A session her talk lasted virtually three hours and covered a lot of ground, starting from a good runthrough of the ‘peak energy’ situation, but quickly focusing in on finance, as she believes that this is the factor that will most dramatically shape our immediate future. Notably, the talk attracted almost half the attendees of the Transition Conference, despite the numerous other Open Space sessions taking place at the same time.

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Transcript of Radio Ecoshock interview

by Shaun Chamberlin on June 9th, 2010

a-Infos Radio Project

Christopher Fraser of London Transition has kindly transcribed the popular interview with Canada’s Radio Ecoshock that I posted a couple of months back. I’ve also added links at a few pertinent points.

Alex Smith, Radio Ecoshock: [addressing audience] You know we’re going to run out of civilisation’s lifeblood, fossil fuels. And if we burn what’s left, the climate may tip into a mass extinction event. Meanwhile barking madness seems to be the only growth industry in some places. Is it time for more pills, booze or Endtime religion?

Our next guest says there may be some hope left. Shaun Chamberlin’s blog is called Dark Optimism, and that may be as good as it gets. Shaun is part of the Transition Movement in Britain; he’s the author of the new book The Transition Timeline for a local, resilient future, and co-author of an upcoming report for the British Parliament on a scheme to give everyone an energy quota. Shaun, welcome to Radio Ecoshock.

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TTK’s Great Unleashing / Big Launch Party

by Shaun Chamberlin on April 20th, 2010


So the big day finally came and went, and glorious it was too. I’m still smiling from the wonderful energy of it all. Pause a moment to take in the brilliance of the TTK cake (TT Kake?) before clicking through to a peek at the many-splendoured event itself, including a chance to see the accomplished and inspired short movie of TTK‘s story to date that premièred on the night.

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Radio Ecoshock interview

by Shaun Chamberlin on March 28th, 2010

a-Infos Radio Project

Above is a 24 minute interview I did last week with Canada’s excellent Radio Ecoshock. The full 60 minute show can be heard on Energy Bulletin here.

Dark Optimism readers may also be particularly interested in Ecoshock’s recent “Expecting Collapse” edition, featuring interviews with Dmitry Orlov and John Michael Greer, as well as clips from Professor Joseph Tainter.

Apologies to all those who’ve been visiting looking for this, I’ve been laid up in bed for the past couple of days.

Edit – Christopher Fraser of London Transition has kindly transcribed this interview in full. Available here.