Editor’s Note: Holiday of crumbling cash

a house tossed on waves

Economic storms are tossing us around like a tsunami meeting a volcano. Where's the life line? Image: Jonathan Plotkin, plotkinart.com.

‘Tis the season to grumble about the excesses and commercialization of our culture, to look back at where we’ve been in 2010 and to start planning for the coming year. For this reason we thought we’d pile on the anxiety — but in a totally stress-busting way — by tackling the subject of the economy in the December issue of Transition Voice.

We hope you’ll enjoy hearing the thoughts of leading peak oil figures like James Howard Kunstler, Jeff Rubin and Nicole Foss in exclusive, original interviews by our writers. These experts’ differing views offer various angles on the undisputed financial mess in America and the world.

In particular I’m grateful to Jim Kunstler for his interview. Jim was a great encouragement to me in starting this magazine and I’m not sure I would have done it without his kind words. Thanks, Jim!

In Britain another issue is playing out. David Cameron’s Conservative government has advanced an idea called the Big Society that purports to devolve more power and independence to regions, cities and towns that sounds a bit like relocalization. But as our senior UK correspondent Jeremy Williams shows, there’s a difference between Cameron’s Big Society and the actual big society of individuals who’ve already started to just get on with it, including people in the Transition Movement.

At the local level there’s many opportunities for innovation and personal action. Our new craft beer reviewer, Brent Bolin, who’s also a homebrewer, looks at a drinkable industry with a hoppy post-peak future. Brent will be writing on beer every month for us as The Growler. Staff photographer John Tomasko looks at another area of potential local economic revitalization: mills. His stunning gallery of picturesque brick and wooden water mills from around the Eastern US blends nostalgia with promise as we look back to the future.

In a lower energy future, conservation will be key, as contributor Alexander Lee points out in two pieces for us. His first piece promotes the humble clothesline as a powerful symbol of a positive future. Lee’s second piece tells a story of poor government planning on local power generation in his home state of New Hampshire with implications for local communities everywhere. And there may be no future at all if we don’t act in some way to deal with climate change, an issue covered in an exclusive interview with climate activist Bianca Jagger, and in an essay by climate scientist Guy McPherson on the intersect of economy and ecology.

As usual we have several book reviews, and articles on food, energy, and personal accounts of the transition journey, including how moms are fighting back against corporate ad hawks and a hilarious look at how to cope with the holidays in a peak oil mood. Ho, ho, ho.

We’ve also introduced a new feature in response to reader requests. Along with our launch at the beginning of each month, we’ll now be publishing regular news stories, blogs and essays throughout the rest of the month. Posting new features on an ongoing basis has helped us see an upsurge in comments by readers as Transition Voice evolves into an increasingly vibrant online community. To keep the momentum going, we’re going to be rolling out even more ways for you to interact with our growing community of readers and writers. Stay tuned. Meantime, we invite you to come by and share your thoughts on any of our articles today, next week or whenever.

Finally, did you know that Transition Voice is an all-volunteer effort run by a non-profit organization? If you like what you’ve been seeing out of the Transition Voice team, we invite you to support our efforts by making a donation during our annual giving campaign which runs through December 31, 2010. We depend on our readers and hope you’ll include us in your charitable giving. Every donation, no matter the size, helps.

Thank you for tuning in this month. Please check back regularly, join the conversation, and look ahead for our January issue on Doom or Boom? As always, we welcome submissions of written work, original art and photography, info graphics, and multimedia. Please contact us if you’re interested in seeing your name in lights on Transition Voice.

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