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Individual actions | Transition Ottawa
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Individual actions:

Every action counts. Every energy saving means less CO2 in the atmosphere.

LED lightbulbs, putting lids on cooking pots, switching off a power bar servicing computer and stereo technology when not in use; only heating  as much water in a kettle as your cup or tea pot needs; walking and biking rather than driving; buying second hand, sharing, repairing, buying local food and products, buying longer lasting products.


Transitioning to a more sustainable lifestyle helps us all individually too. We can save hundreds of dollars on utility and food bills by taking simple actions, and save thousands of dollars by sharing, renting, repairing, buying secondhand, or simply stopping to question, ‘do I really need this?’ – ‘is this fleeting moment of pleasure worth the environmental impact?’ We are moving towards a time when it will no longer be fashionable to tout ones consumerism – quite the opposite. Modelling sustainability is the quickest way to inspire change.

Modelling change

Most transition town members are well-read, go to talks and presentations, are enthusiastically embracing a low carbon economy and more sustainable lifestyles. As each member learns and discovers more solutions, the next step is to radiate their awareness to family, colleagues and friends. This can be done by quietly modelling sustainable ways (biking to work, eating vegetarian meals, not buying a product because it is shipped so far), dropping short sentences or phrases, showing films, starting dinner time and coffee-shop discussions, e-mailing information, and sharing inspiring news on Facebook.

Particular time and attention needs to be paid to climate deniers, supporters of the oil industry and high flyers, people who’s identity has been founded on the visible success of large homes, cars, boats and flight abroad, and so are willing to believe anything that will allow to continue their luxurious lifestyles. For help with gently educating family members and friends, click here.

Building strength to model change

When a caterpillar starts to change into a butterfly, the first cells that changed are attacked by the others. We see the same thing socially. The brave transitioners who cut new edges, see the world differently, speak truths that few want to hear, are often disregarded or argued against.

As awareness of the GHGs and forest loss associated with cattle, Cutting down, or even cutting out, meat is increasingly seen as noble rather than weird. Still, it takes transition warriors to show tasty high protein plant based meals, bike in the snow,

Inner Transition

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third it is accepted as being self-evident.   –Arthur Schopenhauer

Transition members are grass-roots, systemic change makers. The change starts with us and radiates out from there. It takes courage to be the first, to cut the new edge, yet the more strongly we stand in awareness of the planetary needs at this time, the more quickly other voices will join with ours. WWII showed how quickly people could radically change their lifestyles and values. Together we can do it.


We need great clarity to see through advertising and peer pressure that persuades us to consume. Consumption, with little regard for its environmental impact, is happening all around us. It is ‘normal.’ However, it only takes a small percentage of the population to start seeing differently for ‘normal’ to change to sustainable. 11% of people supported the suffragettes. Now voting women is assumed.


When we stop to think about it, most of our best moments are low carbon: playing with children, laughing with friends, making love, watching a sunset, swimming in sparkling oceans or lakes, or playing sport. We have been persuaded to spend most of our waking hours earning money so we can consume more, then foregoing activities we most enjoy because there isn’t enough time for them. It’s easy to conceive of a more sustainable future that is much more enjoyable.

Often heard crying lament: “I don’t have time to be sustainable!”

If you don’t really have time, but you do have money, you still have gifts to offer. You’re in the position to support new technology and help it become mainstream. Be the one who replaces every light bulb with LED, the first to buy the new electric car, or the first on your street to install solar panels on your roof. Your purchases will help technology go into mass production, making it available for everyone.

Every action counts.