Book Review: The Power of Just Doing Stuff

Rob Hopkins, The Power of Just Doing Something: How Local Action Can Change the World (Cambridge, UK: UIT/Green Books, 2013)

Review by Art Menius (January 15, 2015)

Englishman Rob Hopkins identifies himself as the founder of Transition Movement, perhaps the most popular radical localist impulse of the 21st Century. Born of the collision of long term environmental issues and 2008 global economic meltdown, the Transition Movement advocates local, decentralized action to build a new sustainable economy that, through its local and green foci, also addresses the sustainability. Within the pages of this short, easy to read manifesto, Hopkins states his case and illustrates it with a number of successful action undertaken by citizens in the UK, Spain, Brazil, the USA, and Australia.

Starting off by positing his belief in local action, Hopkins quickly describes the inadequacies of both austerity and New Deal style stimulus to addressing economic and ecological problems. In their stead, Hopkins offers his “Big Idea for our times.” “It is the idea of local resilience as economic development.” While the government is too big to pull off this revolution and individuals too small, Hopkins believes that communities are just right for the task.

Already Transition Towns and Transition Networks are finding success and publishing their methodology. Much of this can be found freely distributed on the Internet on websites, you tube videos, and PDF publications. The Power of Just Doing Something serves as an admirable “greatest hits” compilation and quick guide to these riches of citizen action, shaping public policy from the ground up.

A befits a handbook, Hopkins closes each chapter with a bullet pointed synopsis. More importantly, throughout The Power of Just Doing Something Hopkins celebrates and inspires hope. He stresses that anyone can make a difference by gathering a core group and engaging in local action. He asserts and demonstrates that by so doing, these people can become part of a global movement that will change the world, community by community.

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