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What is Transition?

Transition is about realising that a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable life can be so much better: healthier, more social, cheaper, less stressful and more enjoyable.

Cheap oil has provided us with economic growth and a convenience-based consumer lifestyle, but those things have left so many people unhealthy and isolated. The thing is, shiny things don’t really make us happy, but rewarding projects and social interaction do.

“Transition” is the move to a way of life that is less dependent on fossil fuels and produces less carbon. That change involves consuming less, producing more of what we need ourselves, and living more locally, with better community links.

Why make the Transition?

For many reasons: to help prevent runaway climate change; because it saves you money; because it’s interesting and fun; because it’s a chance to meet new people and learn new things; because living more locally protects the local economy from external shocks; because Peak Oil will mean that we have to live with less energy resources anyway.

Peak Oil? What’s that?

“Peak Oil” is the point at which world oil production stops growing and starts shrinking. Oil production is slowing down and (as you’ve probably noticed) oil prices are rising. It’s going to continue, and it’s going to change the world forever. Although cheap fossil fuels have revolutionised the way people live over the last century, fossil fuels are a finite resource. To use oil, you need to find it, extract it and process it. All of those things are getting harder to do and more expensive as we start to use up the resource.

Discovery of new oil fields peaked in the 1960’s. According to the head of the International Energy Agency, World Oil production peaked in 2006. As the Oil supply shrinks, and with large developing nations like China and India driving up demand, Oil will become increasingly expensive and less available.

So what? We’ll just have to drive a bit less, right?

Not really, no. We depend on cheap fossil fuels for many of the basics of our lives. Cheap oil flies food to us from around the world. Fossil fuels power our tractors and combine harvesters as well as our cars. Oil and natural gas (also peaking) make the fertilisers and pesticides that allow farmers to grow more food. Natural gas heats our homes and our water, and generates the electricity that powers our TVs, computers and fridges. As oil and gas prices rise and supply shrinks, these things will get more and more expensive. Some of them will become unsustainable.

Climate change tells us that we should change our way of life to protect the natural environment that sustains us. Peak Oil says that way of life is going to change whether we like it or not. It is going to mean huge changes to the way we live, work and feed ourselves.

The sooner we start, the easier it’s going to be. There’s a lot to do, so we’re starting now.

What can I do?

There are many simple, practical steps you can take to reduce your carbon output and reliance on fossil fuels (most will also save you money), and lots of chances to meet new people and learn new skills in the process…


  • Get your home properly insulated. You can get quotes from local insulation installers via the Energy Saving Trust on 0800 512 012.
  • Switch your gas and electricity to a supplier who invests in renewables. E.g. Ecotricity who built the turbine by J11 of the M4.


  • Grow more of your own food. If you don’t know how, we can help you learn. If you do know, come and share your knowledge/tips, and help teach others.
  • Buy local food e.g. from Reading’s “True Food” co-operative or from farm shops.
  • Join our campaign to plant fruit and nut trees around Reading.


  • Walk and cycle when you can – it’s better for your heart, pocket and waistline, and it’s been shown to lower stress levels.
  • Travel less. Live more locally. Get to know your neighbours. Build local community.


Transition Town Reading are working on positive actions to reduce Reading’s carbon emissions. Come along and get involved at one of our upcoming events…