Mapping the Transition

Posted: July 28th, 2013 | Tags: | Comments Off on Mapping the Transition

This project attempts to map the geospatial distribution of the worldwide transition to a post peak-oil economy.

There are five datasets included in this study: Transition Initiatives, GEN Ecovilages, Permaculture Projects, Organic Agriculture Land Share by Country and Renewable Energy Generation by Country.

Centres of Influence

The transition movement is a network of communities that are working to build resilience and sustainability in response to peak oil. The location of transition initiatives is interesting data, as it shows where the movement is most established.

The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) is a confederation of ecovillages and data are available on the geolocation of participating communities. As with the transition initiatives, this data provides clues to the global distribution of centres that provide places of learning and research during the transition.

The global distribution of permaculture projects could be a possible view into areas of the world in which this movement is more prevalent. The Worldwide Permaculture Network provides data on registered projects, including their geospatial distribution.

Renewable Energy

On a national scale, a country’s resilience to peak oil could be measured by its total renewable energy generation and use. Obviously, the use of renewable energy sources will mitigate against any changes in the availability of oil and other fossil fuels.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration provides data on renewable energy generation by individual nation states.

Organic Agriculture

The Haber process is a method of ammonia production that is used in the preparation of commercial fertilizer.Wolfe (2001) estimates that the Haber process is responsible for sustaining one-third of the Earth’s population. As the Haber process uses natural gas to produce hydrogen, the production of commercial inorganic fertilizer is closely linked with a steady supply of fossil fuels. Organic agriculture by definition only uses organic fertilizers, meaning it is much more resilient to peak oil.

By visualizing countries that have more land dedicated to organic agriculture, we might get an impression of where the global food supply is not linked to petrochemicals. FiBL (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture) provides per-county data on the percent of agricultural land that is dedicated to organic farming.

Transition Heatmap

The displayed heatmap shows an aggregate of the data layers; darker green identifies areas as possibly being the most resilient during the transition.

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