Society in Transition – Dresden in Transition

Society in Transition – Dresden in Transition

Maybe you know this: there are these groups of people who keep indulging in theoretical models forever and there are these gatherings of practitioners who just want to make. In fact, this can be connected in a wonderful way: theoretical models can help us as a “Map of Being” to make practical decisions and fulfill goals.

Please find the original post in German by Andreas Poldrack here on
Die deutsche Version des Beitrags von Andreas Poldrack finden Sie hier.

Society in Transition – why we deal with it?

If you start dealing with the “Transition Towns” topic you will sooner or later get in contact with the book of Rob Hopkins “The Transition Handbook” (translated back from German: Energy Revolution Manual – Guide for a Sustainable Lifestyle). Hopkins shows clearly that climate change and peak oil can not be considered seperately.

We live in an age of specialization. In this way very often we look at things selectively or fragmented. But we can’t deal with arising problems only out of one perspective. So Hopkins points out in his “Transition Handbook”:

“Quite incomprehensible to me is a trend of recent years that some climate change activists do not want to know anything from a peak oil scenario and other activists who educate about the peak oil problem, downplay the problems of climate change, as though each group defend their ancestral terrain against the competition. ” *1

If we consider only one side of the coin, either “Climate Change” or “Peak Oil”, there is a danger that we go for a solution that reinforces the problems on the other side of the coin. To give a brief example: the solution of peak oil isn’t the liquefaction of coal, therefore as this would have a negative impact on climate change.

I think we shouldn’t stop at this point. After we have interconnected the two poles of “climate Change” and “Peak Oil” we should step back further and look at the overall structure which opens up to us:

climate change, peak oil, oceans full of plastic waste, land grabbing, scarcity and overuse, unhealthy foods, bee extinction, aluminum, sand scarcity, melting of methane deposits, exploding or unsafe nuclear power plants, unequal distribution of wealth, migration and refugee movements, shortage of water, burnout, depression, traumas, riots, wars and and and …

We live in times of global social crises – in short: in a systemic crisis.

Since there is no alien civilization – apart from the opinion of some conspiracy theories – that has prescribed how we have to live on this planet, we are the ones who have created this global system with our consciousness. Now we find ourselfs in a full-blown crisis. Therefore we can speak of a crisis of consciousness. * 2

At this point we have to realize, that as a first step we need to attain something like a “systemic understanding” of the conditions of our time with its problems as well as with its opportunities. Only then we can ensure that changes we initiate on one place do not cause more problems on other places.

None of us can have a complete and comprehensive overview. Above all what it takes here  is cooperation. It will however need more than “just” a sense of community and a bunch of networks. Life on this planet is a kaleidoscope of natural hierarchies of systems in systems in systems in systems and so on. We talk about a system with multiple levels interwoven into a general-holistic system.

Co-operation – more than a WE

Cooperation (Latin cooperatio, cooperation, participation) is the purposeful interaction of actions of two or more creatures, people or systems to reach a common goal by the division of labor. * 3

Cooperation is not just a sense of belonging. Of course, sometimes we need this feeling of togetherness: I am not alone in my opinions, my views and especially not with my feelings. Out there are other people who are similar to me. They think like I do, they feel the same. And sometimes this “WE” is really cosy. One feels loved, celebrates themselves together, feels safe and warm.

Cooperation goes beyond! Cooperation is about achieving a common goal by appreciating and using the different abilities and needs of the individual.

At WE-communities the community aspect – where all are equal – is most important. Healthy cooperation counting on it that everyone can contribute best from his right place. Because of our differences and special talents we all have something unique and valuable we can contribute. So everyone becomes a part of the whole. As a first step it is important to have clarity among all stakeholders what “the common goal” is. Ideally, we have a strong vision for the future that it is alive in each one of us.

A vivid vision of the future – Where are we going? Where can we go? This should be the next part of my reflections on this blog.


Footnotes (german)

*1 Page 36, Rob Hobkins, “The Transition Handbook” – German Edition: Energiewende. Das Handbuch: Anleitung für zukunftsfähige Lebensweisen, 2008, Verlag: Zweitausendeins

*2 see. Video “Kapitalismus 3.0″, Keynote by Prof. Dr. Claus Otto Scharmer at the opening ceremony of Triodos Bank Germany on 2nd of Dezember 2009 in Frankfurt am Main

*3 from,  “cooperation / “Kooperation”

Titelbild photo credit: Die Elbe via photopin (license)

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This article was written by

Hi, my name is Soeren and I am a marketing and communication professional with a strong dedication for Social Entrepreneurship and the REconomy approach. I'm one of three bloggers for the ARTS region Dresden, Germany. Before I came to Dresden I lived and worked in different German cities. I travelled around the world for 9 month. I was co-founder of a Social Business Startup in Berlin and a coworking initiative in Dresden and I discoverd my passion for researching and fostering Social Business Models. On my personal website you will find different projects and initiatives in wich I'm involved.

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