An international initiative to prepare communities for life after the world’s fossil fuel supply runs out has presence at UNM.

Transition UNM is one of more than 800 groups in 34 countries that operates within the “transition initiative,” which is focused on encouraging people to prepare for and move toward a post-oil future, UNM alumnus Jeness May said.

“A transition initiative is when a community or a town comes together and pools their resources, their skills, their talents, their inspiration; it’s like networking,” she said. “What they do is come together as a community and find out ways to reduce their carbon footprint by asking not only ‘what can individuals do?’ but, more importantly, ‘what can a community do to reduce (its) oil and coal consumption?’”

Rob Hopkins, founder of the transition initiative, called the movement “the great transition of our time away from fossil fuels.”

May said Transition UNM is still gaining momentum and is working with students in the Sustainability Studies Program.

Transition UNM hosted its first event Saturday, which featured a performance by local band “Gatsby” and an array of dishes made with locally grown ingredients. May said the group’s goal in hosting the event was start dialogue in the UNM community about the depletion of local resources.

“A transition initiative’s main component — sort of (its) vehicle, if you will — is discussions about food and more importantly local food, because that’s the one thing we’re going to miss the most when we feel the effects of peak (fossil fuel depletion),” May said.

She said Transition UNM hopes to arm the community with skills needed to live sustainability both today and in a post-fossil fuel world, such as canning and home brewing.

Old School, a UNM-area business that offers classes on sustainable living, is partnering with Transition UNM to help teach these skills, Old School founder Maggie Shepard said.

“The demand for these skills is sky high,” she said. “I have more demand for information than I have teachers to teach this stuff.”
Student Jayn Franck, who is pursuing a minor in sustainability studies, said she looks forward to working with Transition UNM.

“I wanted to help save the world,” she said. “I wanted to do some kind of sustainability something, and I just pestered the entire college trying to figure out where to go.”

For more information or to get involved with Transition UNM contact