Power lies in doing small stuff, says environmentalist

October 4, 2013 11:00 AM

Jamie Logan

At his first-ever talk in the United States, award-winning environmental author Rob Hopkins addressed an avid audience on Tuesday (Oct. 1) on the Tulane University uptown campus. Recognized globally for his work in promoting community resilience in light of the economic crisis of climate change, Hopkins was the winner of the 2008 Schumacher Award and was named one of the United Kingdom’s top 100 environmentalists.

Rob Hopkins, author Power of Just Doing Stuff

Rob Hopkins, environmental activist and author of The Power of Just Doing Stuff, speaks on the Tulane uptown campus on Oct. 1 as a guest of the Office of Sustainability. Hopkins advocates for “Transition” projects to address the crisis of climate change. (Photo by Cheryl Gerber)

His latest book, The Power of Just Doing Stuff: How Local Action Can Change the World, was released in June 2013 and focuses on the impact that small shifts of local activism have on a broad scale.

“If we want to create a new economy, we need to make that happen,” said Hopkins. He explained that local resilience efforts, dubbed “Transition” projects, can help communities take that first step.

As co-founder of the Transition Network, Hopkins speaks from experience.

“Through Transition, we’ve created a network of people,” he said.

Since the organization’s establishment in 2005, Transition communities have emerged in Brazil, Japan, England, Portugal and numerous other countries. In the United States alone, Transition has developed more than 12,545 resilience projects in 700 cities.

Projects range from neighborhood gatherings intended to cut household carbon emissions to community markets designed to support regional economies.

“We’re starting to create a local economy that puts money back into people’s hands instead of taking it away from them,” Hopkins explained. “What we need now are places that bring it all together.” 

Hopkins’ next stop in his mission to shed light on the potential power of local action to address economic crises will be Austin, Texas, where he will appear as a distinguished speaker at SXSW ECO.

Tulane provides many opportunities for undergrads and graduates to take local action to address climate change. For more information, students can visit the Tulane Office of Sustainability.

Jamie Logan is a first-year Newcomb/Tulane College student.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu