Transition Palo Alto Charter

Our Purpose:  To initiate and support communityled responses to peak oil and climate change, building resilience and helping to create a more satisfying community life.

Transition Palo Alto was founded, and recognized by Transition US as an official Transition Initiative, in 2010.  Inspired by Rob Hopkins’ The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependence to Local Resilience, we are exploring practical ways for our city to respond to climate change, the end of cheap energy, and economic uncertainty.  Our focus is on Palo Alto, but our activities may extend beyond the municipal boundaries.

Transition Palo Alto is represented and coordinated by its Steering Committee, initially consisting of the founding members.  The Steering Committee holds regular meetings, and may invite new members to join it as desired.  The Steering Committee may revise this charter as needed.

Transition Palo Alto encourages the formation of and affiliation with local groups to address the changes we need in a range of areas (food, transportation, energy, housing, health, education, economy, etc.).  Groups may be recognized as part of Transition Palo Alto by stating their acceptance of this charter and requesting recognition by the Steering Committee.  Once recognized by the Steering Committee, a group consisting of at least five members may choose to elect a representative to be a member of the Steering Committee.  The Steering Committee plans to eventually revise this charter so that it will primarily consist of representatives of the various Transition Palo Alto working groups.

Individuals who live or work in Palo Alto or in neighboring cities are invited to affiliate with Transition Palo Alto, and are encouraged to participate in its activities.  Transition Palo Alto does not currently maintain a list of registered members, nor impose membership requirements and obligations, nor make decisions using membership meetings. 

Transition Palo Alto has several guiding principles:

  • We agree that our local community must plan a transition to a way of life that recognizes that there are limits to growth, and that its current modes of operation are neither sustainable nor meeting many of the real needs of community members and the planet.
  • We accept as a key strategy the development of local resilience—the ability to bend and adapt in the face of change—in our transition to greater sustainability.
  • We can envision an abundant, fulfilling future: energy-lean, but more connected and less stressful, healthier and happier.
  • We strive to raise awareness about these issues and possibilities, so that community members are better able to decide appropriate actions.
  • We aim for inclusion, appreciating diversity and avoiding “us vs. them” thinking.  We value equity, supporting efforts that promote justice and the fair treatment of all people
  • We aim for openness, ready to share with others what we are doing and how we operate.