Shaun Chamberlin

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Shaun Chamberlin
Shaun Chamberlin at posthumous launch of David Fleming books.jpg
Alma materUniversity of York and Schumacher College

Shaun Chamberlin is an author and activist, based in London, England. He is the author of The Transition Timeline, co-author of several other books including What We Are Fighting For, and chair of the Ecological Land Co-operative.[1][2]

He is also known for his collaboration with the late David Fleming, having brought his award-winning lifework Lean Logic to posthumous publication, and served as executive producer on Peter William Armstrong's 2019 film about Fleming's legacy - The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?[3][4][5]


Chamberlin studied at Schumacher College in 2006, where his teachers included Rob Hopkins and David Fleming. Hopkins met his future co-founders of the now-global Transition Towns network during the course, and Chamberlin remained a key figure, co-founding Transition Town Kingston before authoring the movement's second book, The Transition Timeline.[6][7][8][9][10]

He also retained close links with Fleming, and they together advised the UK government's feasibility study into his influential TEQs system for fuel/electricity rationing in the face of climate change.[11][12][13] Shortly after Fleming's death in 2010, an All Party Parliamentary report advocating TEQs, authored by Fleming and Chamberlin and endorsed by twenty MPs, met with a controversial reception both in the UK and internationally.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20] During this period Chamberlin also spent eighteen months as a director of the campaigning organisation Global Justice Now.[21][22]

In 2012 he collaborated with David Graeber, John Holloway, Ann Pettifor and others on What We Are Fighting For: A Radical Collective Manifesto[23][24], and was also the editor of Mark Boyle's The Moneyless Manifesto. He and Boyle then collaborated towards the realisation of a moneyless community, in partnership with the Ecological Land Co-operative, of which he became chair in 2015.[25][26][27][28]

In 2016, he took a manuscript left by his late mentor David Fleming and edited it for posthumous publication as Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It.[29][30][31][32] This uniquely structured hardback was published alongside the paperback Surviving the Future, conceived and created by Chamberlin after Fleming's death, and consisting of content from Lean Logic which he selected and edited into a conventional read-it-front-to-back narrative.[33][34][35] The books were critically acclaimed, won several awards including first place in the 2017 New York Book Show, and were named in multiple Book of the Year lists.[36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44]

He is also noted for coining the widely-adopted term 'Dark Optimism', which The Guardian's Anne Karpf has characterised as "facing dark truths while believing unwaveringly in human potential".[45][46][47][48]





Audiobook narrator:


Executive producer:


  1. ^ "Getting a Grip", Paul Allen, Resurgence, Sept/Oct 2009
  2. ^ Google Scholar profile for Shaun Chamberlin
  3. ^ "Lean Logic and Surviving the Future", Mud City Press, 26 December 2016
  4. ^ "A Clash of Paradigms", Eric Utne, The Utne Reader, 6 September 2017
  5. ^ Fleming Policy Centre announcement of film project, 1 August 2017
  6. ^ "The Transition Timeline: for a local, resilient future", Patrick Whitefield, Permaculture, 15 May 2009
  7. ^ Chamberlin's Transition Timeline critiqued in Derrick Jensen's book Deep Green Resistance
  8. ^ Chamberlin's Transition Timeline approvingly cited in Harry F. Dahms' book Nature, Knowledge and Negation
  9. ^ Kingston Green Guardian Awards: Report on awards from the local newspaper and council for both Chamberlin and his 'Transition Town Kingston', 2010
  10. ^ Chelsea Green Publishing: Interview with Shaun Chamberlin, 18 August 2016
  11. ^ Chamberlin shortlisted for the Sheila McKechnie Foundation Environmental Campaigner Award for his work on TEQs, Sheila McKechnie Foundation, 2008
  12. ^ "Reconciling scientific reality with realpolitik", peer-reviewed paper in Carbon Management academic journal, 16 April 2015. Includes history, coverage and impact of the TEQs system
  13. ^ Transition Free Press, feature interview with Chamberlin, Autumn 2012
  14. ^ Caroline Lucas MP speaks in response to Chamberlin at the report's launch, Houses of Parliament, 18 January 2011
  15. ^ "Fuel Rationing in U.K. Needed by 2020 to Cut CO2 Emissions, Lawmakers Say", Alex Morales, Bloomberg News, 18 January 2011
  16. ^ "Driver Fury at Petrol Ration Plan", Natalie Chalk, Daily Express, 24 January 2011
  17. ^ "Prepare for the return of rationing", Danny Fortson, The Times, 23 January 2011
  18. ^ "Brits Ponder Fuel Rationing", Eben Harrell, TIME magazine, 18 January 2011
  19. ^ "British lawmakers propose energy rationing", Financial Times, 18 January 2011
  20. ^ Chamberlin interview on report launch, BBC Radio 5 Live, "Wake Up to Money", 18 January 2011
  21. ^ "Obituary for David Fleming", Shaun Chamberlin, The Ecologist, 21 December 2010
  22. ^ "Living Without Oil" course, The Open University, contributor profile: Shaun Chamberlin
  23. ^ What We Are Fighting For shortlisted for the Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing
  24. ^ Dark Optimism: Shaun Chamberlin profile
  25. ^ "Greenham Reach: The families trying to prove that compact, ecological farms can make a living", Jamie Merrill, The Independent, 23 May 2015
  26. ^ "Planning victory for smallholders", Michael Wale, Smallholder, 23 May 2015
  27. ^ "The Law of the Land", Shaun Chamberlin, STIR, Spring 2015
  28. ^ Extract from Mark Boyle's The Moneyless Manifesto, discussing relationship with Chamberlin
  29. ^ "Editor's Picks for February", Choice, James Millhorn, 16 February 2017
  30. ^ "The late Dr. David Fleming - Community, Place and Play", 13 October 2016
  31. ^ Chamberlin's preface to Lean Logic
  32. ^ Chamberlin and Sir Jonathon Porritt discuss economic collapse at a launch event for Lean Logic
  33. ^ Chamberlin interview: Surviving the Aftermath of the Market Economy, Peak Prosperity, 8 January 2017
  34. ^ "For Hallowe’en this year, I’m dressing as the economy", Shaun Chamberlin, openDemocracy, 26 October 2016
  35. ^ Symposium held by Sterling College, Vermont, exploring the impact and implications of the book, 1 December 2017
  36. ^ "Lean Logic and Surviving the Future", Mark Garavan, Feasta, 14 January 2017
  37. ^ "Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It", The Royal Geographical Society, 5 December 2016
  38. ^ "Surviving the Future",, 13 June 2017
  39. ^ "Surviving the Future in America", Resilience, 26 December 2017
  40. ^ "A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It", The Idler, 23 March 2017
  41. ^ Books of the Year 2016, Times Higher Education, 22 December 2016
  42. ^ Fleming Policy Centre, collection of medals/awards won by Lean Logic and Surviving the Future
  43. ^ "Environmentalism used to be about defending the wild – not any more", Mark Boyle, The Guardian, 22 May 2017
  44. ^ The six best sustainability books of 2016, Greenbiz, 31 December 2016
  45. ^ "Climate Change: You Can't Ignore It", Anne Karpf, The Guardian, 30 November 2012
  46. ^ "Harnessing our Dark Optimism", Anna Fahey, Sightline Institute, 7 May 2013
  47. ^ Dark Optimism discussed in Engaging with Climate Change: Psychoanalytic and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Sally Weintrobe ed., 2012
  48. ^ "Shaun Chamberlin on ‘Dark Optimism’ and the power of grief", Interview for the Kosmos Journal, October 2014

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