Minimising throughputs of fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources associated with research activities, making these as consistent as possible with the conditions of energy descent.
Peak oil and climate change were the two original drivers of Transition, and although economic contraction has emerged as an increasingly important issue, and individual initiatives vary greatly in how much emphasis they give to each, reducing dependency on fossil fuels remains a core goal within Transition. To contribute to resilience-building (1), Transition research must both support these aims and so far as possible seek to minimise its own reliance on fossil fuel inputs. This applies to the aims of the research, the conduct of research, and the operation of research organisations.
Academic research on sustainability issues has not tended to emphasise sustainable practices. Most universities are carbon-intensive in both their operations and the lifestyle choices they promote for staff, students and alumni. University carbon reduction programmes tend to operate in isolation rather than as part of broader resilience-building efforts. They often conflict with other institutional and professional pressures, such as those for recruitment of international students and attendance at high-profile international conferences.
Universities in Transition
Need to direct whatever use of fossil fuels remains possible so as to maximise the benefits in terms of reducing fossil fuel dependency and building resilience.
Therefore, make research activities consistent with those associated with Transition more broadly by minimising use of energy services and goods derived from fossil fuels or with high levels of embodied fossil fuel energy, and minimising other environmental impacts. Whenever it is necessary to undertake carbon-intensive activity, treat it as part of a learning process by examining how this could be reduced or avoided in future. Wherever possible, direct limited carbon budgets towards research likely to have direct tangible benefits for carbon reduction.