“Humans are capable of a unique trick, creating realities by first imagining them, by experiencing them in their minds. …As soon as we sense the possibility of a more desirable world, we begin behaving differently, as though that world is starting to come into existence, as though, in our mind’s eye, we are already there. The dream becomes an invisible force which pulls us forward. By this process it begins to come true. The act of imagining somehow makes it real… And what is possible in art becomes thinkable in life”. Brian Eno
A vision of an alternative future can be a powerful driver for change. One of the key characteristics of the ‘Transition’ model for community action to build a low-carbon future is that it sees the changes that will be required as a positive opportunity. That, as we work to create a relocalised economy, we will discover a shared sense of purpose, will find opportunities to learn new skills and to reconnect with our local environment and with each other –all the sort of things which people tell us actually make their lives worthwhile and contribute to their sense of wellbeing.
A vision on its own however is not enough. We are all stuck in our ways and influenced by prevailing cultural norms. Before change can happen, we also need to be in some way dissatisfied with our current situation, or realise that it can’t continue the way it is and that change is inevitable. And we need guidance and support to start making those first steps along the way.
No-one knows quite what a low carbon community will look like. It will take the skills, ideas and creativity of all of us to plan and create it. The aim of Sustaining Dunbar is to involve as many people as possible in starting this process and we were delighted to receive funding from the Scottish Climate Challenge Fund to support our work.
Our hope is that:
- by raising awareness of Peak Oil and the inevitability of a move away from fossil fuels,
- by creating a shared Vision of a positive and sustainable future for our community,
- by laying out a clear Plan of Action for bringing that Vision into being and
- by initiating and supporting practical projects which involve people in starting to create a resilient and vibrant future now
we can build momentum and a feeling of energy and excitement as we prepare to face the challenges ahead.