Rob Hopkins is the originator of the Transition Town concept, which promotes community-driven responses to peak oil that focus on cooperative effort to meet basic needs as sustainably and close to home as possible. In just a few years, his work has inspired an international movement of hundreds of communities and thousands of people pursuing Transition initiatives. A teacher of permaculture and natural building techniques, Rob is co-founder of the Transition Network, and author of The Transition Handbook: From oil dependency to local resilience (2008), and The Transition Companion (2011). He was the winner of the 2008 Schumacher Award, is an Ashoka Fellow, served 3 years as a Trustee of the Soil Association, and was named by the Independent as one of the UK’s top 100 environmentalists.
"Agriculture is the oldest environmental problem," the Land Institute's Wes Jackson tells us early in this 27-minute video. Through interviews with 11 scientists, researchers and environmental experts, this short documentary considers that fate of agriculture and the environment in the age of agri-business and climate change.
Noam Chomsky, Bill McKibben, Tad Patzek , Wendell Berry, Mark Shepard and the rest of the cast explain that big agriculture's insatiable need for revenue not only afflicts the environment with toxic fertilizers, pesticides and carbon emissions, it degrades the state of agriculture itself by destroying the soil and subverting the natural evolution of animals, plants and insects. It is as unsustainable as it is unstoppable.
The local food movement and the resurgence of small farms provide a glimmer of hope on a gloomy horizon. "Last year was the first time in 150 years there were more farms and not fewer," McKibben says. Chomsky puts the dilemma in perspective when he says, "On the one hand you have highly concentrated capital supported by state power. On the other hand you have people trying to do things on their own. That's not just agriculture that's over the whole society."
Rob Hopkins: Sustainability and Community
The influential founder of the Transition Towns movement Rob Hopkins argues for a new approach to energy, society and our surroundings - with the help of a bottle of beer and a ten pound note bearing a picture of David Bowie. Four Thought is a series of talks combining personal stories with fresh arguments, recorded in front of an audience at the RSA in London.