Episode 4: Rob Hopkins

In this podcast, we learn just how good life could be after fossil fuels. Could we transform society to one that would give us the life we all dream of?

In this interview, Rob does a pretty good job of convincing me that whilst the climate crisis is real, it is only as big as the crisis of imagination.

The Transition Towns (TT) movement started in 2005 in Totnes, Devon to promote solutions and prove what is possible post fossil fuel and solve a whole lot of other social problems in the process by building and strengthening communities. The movement is now global and growing fast. The TT materials are provided FREE of charge on the website with people being asked to share their initiatives and inspire others.

Rob explains how the recent climate crisis movements of School Strikes and Extinction Rebellion (XR) has hugely heightened awareness and pushed for urgent action to reduce CO2 emissions, but that the problem that humanity faces goes beyond solar panels on the roof and organic cotton trousers, that together with these movements we need to change the ‘system’ and the scale. Rob discusses the incredible work of Extinction Rebellion that has created this pressure for change with parliament and local authorities declaring a climate emergency.

The TT movement has brought together many initiatives that promote local and sustainable business and brought the wealth of society closer to home. “A future that creates better conversation and better beer. The transition movement could not only cut carbons, it could end loneliness and see biodiversity bouncing back”, says Rob.

TT and XR
“We’ve been doing transition for 12-13 years. We have been carrot and but without a stick. XR brings the stick, mobilising hundreds of thousands of people…”

“All of a sudden with XR and School Strikes, Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough we have a tectonic shift. The next 11 years, will feel like the most remarkable time in history. The bravery, the creativity, the giving birth to the new stuff”. After all, Martin Luther King didn’t stand up and and say “it’s going to be a bit expensive, a bit inconvenient to some commuters and drop his dream”, Rob’s passion is infectious and bang on the mark.

Rob discusses his new book, coming out in October, about the imagination crisis. Our imagination is affected by our reduced attention span thanks to our constant obsession with social media. Rob talks about some of his central ideas about the place of play in society and politics – to reimagine democracy and create genuine social change. How a Ministry of Imagination could help to build sustainability and democracy, rather than business as usual.


From What Is to What If – Rob Hopkins – available from Chelsea Green Publishing in Autumn 2019
Rob Hopkins
Transition Network
Extinction Rebellion
UK Student Climate Network
Kinsdale College Permaculture
The Distracted Mind – Larry Rosen
The Descent of Man – Grayson Perry
Joanna Macy

Be The Change Graphic

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