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The transition movement tries to present a fourth alternative by building a resilient society where sustainable food production is one central element. /Photo: Hetty Rooth

Learning & teaching

Transition movement and adult education – a close relationship

Authors: Hetty Rooth Published:

The transition movement tries to present a fourth alternative by building a resilient society where sustainable food production is one central element. /Photo: Hetty Rooth

“Transition for sustainability is possible. If the transition movement joins forces with non-formal education, we could turn the tide.” says Jesaia Loweiko.

– We are at a crossroads now, says Jesaia Loweiko, who works as an organizer and study circle leader at Studiefrämjandet, one of Sweden’s largest non-formal study organizations.

Its well-established learning profile of nature and culture lies close to his heart.

– If we proceed to drain the resources of the earth, a future environmental and economic collapse will be inevitable. But there are alternatives. Now the time has come, he says.

Some people claim that there are just three narratives about the future.

The fourth narrative

One of them is a kind of science fiction variety. We continue as before and when our time has come, we move to another place in the Universe.

The second of them, a political take on the crisis, is a green techno solution where we combat climate change by switching to low energy equipment.

In the third scenario, we will end up fighting each other to claim the few resources that are left on our planet.

The transition movement tries to present a fourth alternative by building a resilient society where sustainable food production is one central element.

As a trained permaculture designer (see box) and wild life guide, Jesaia Loweiko is involved in a range of transition projects from urban cultivation to gift economy to inner transition. One desire he has is to link people’s commitments into one unity. In his mind transition work and people’s education are truly close in mind and deed.


Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles for simulating and utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems.

Jesaia Loweiko works as an organizer and study circle leader at Studiefrämjandet. /Photo: Hetty Rooth

People’s education

Jesaia Loweiko takes study circles as one example of how change can be achieved when people come together. Being an educator himself, he sees the Nordic non-formal education as a big opportunity.

Ideologically free and voluntary non-formal education has since the end of the 19th century been a platform for democracy, free speech and communal learning in the Nordic countries. Non-formal education is a supportive process in which all people involved learn together in a way that formal education could not achieve.

Local experiences

– In my home town, the transition movement has initiated many opportunities for learning by cooperation with non-formal education organizations. Some people have been interested in solar energy and got together in study circles: Together they have sought information about how solar cell works, how solar panels are constructed, installation costs at home, financing and so on, Loweiko explains.

Another group of people has been interested in knowing more about alternative housing. They have investigated aspects on collective living. A third group has concentrated on inner transition, human beings’ relation to nature and inter-human relationships. Yet others have started urban cultivation groups.

Global goals – local solutions

Based on these experiences, Jesaia Loweiko firmly believes that global problems need local solutions and that all people can contribute in different ways.

– The local branch of my employer, Studiefrämjandet, has signed a declaration of intent with our local transition network. That gives promise for the future.

Furthermore, his hometown, Växjö in southern Sweden, now proudly presents itself as the greenest town in Europe. The slogan might be partly rhetoric, but climate consciousness among local politicians is positive.

This autumn, Växjö will host a national transition conference. Different local networks will get the opportunity to strengthen their cooperation. The theme “Global goals – local solutions” defines the idea of transition as the fourth alternative for climate change.

Sweden is only one example of how people get together in loose networks to explore constructive ways to fight global climate threats. The transition movement started in England, and it has developed in Europe during the last decade.

– I see the transition movement as a possible platform for Agenda 2030. We could become the world’s largest popular movement, says Jesaia Loweiko.

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015. It consists of 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development – the economic, social and the environmental:

  • Protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations.
  • Foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies, which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.
  • Mobilize global solidarity, focused in particular on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and with the participation of all countries, all stakeholders and all people.


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Hetty Rooth Hetty Rooth has a long experience as journalist and editor, with specialisation in adult education and the lives of children and young people. Show all articles by Hetty Rooth
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