On the high street of my local transition town, Lewes, in East Sussex, there is a visible struggle for souls. Many of the shop windows offer sustainable goods: organic food and second-hand treasures – clothes, music and furniture. But the ancient market town has also seen a rash of brassy new cafés, boutiques and lifestyle-accessory stores.

The storefronts exemplify a growing global tension. The conflict is between the mainstream dream of carefree individualistic consumption fuelling constant economic expansion, and the emerging realisation that we must shift in the opposite direction – that ...


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