Q: What is the Transition Movement?

Transition is a grassroots, community-led response to peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis. It is interested in unleashing our collective genius in whatever ways that emerge within the community. Find out more on the Transition Network website and have a look at these videos : "My Town in Transition: Rob Hopkins at TEDxExeter" and "In Transition 2.0 - a story of resilience and hope in extraordinary times".

Q: How did the Transition movement start?

The Transition movement emerged from the work of Permaculture educator, Rob Hopkins, and his students at the Kinsale Further Education College in Ireland. In early 2005 they created the Kinsale Energy Descent Action Plan, which was later adopted as policy by the Town Council. It was the first strategic community planning document of its kind, and went beyond the issues of energy supply, to look at across-the-board creative adaptations in the realms of food, farming, education, economy, health, and much more.

After moving back to the UK to complete his doctorate, Rob decided to take the Peak Oil preparation process beyond the classroom and into the community. He started Transition Towns Totnes in early 2006, and it took off like a rocket. It has since spread virally across the world as groups in other communities quickly copied the model and initiated the Transition process in their own locale.

The Transition Network was established in the UK in late 2006, to support the rapid international growth of the movement. In 2010, CELL helped create the nurturing ground for the first Transition initiatives in Luxembourg, which in 2015 formed the Luxembourg Transition Platform.

Q: What is Permaculture?

The term permaculture is a contraction of the words “permanent”, “agriculture”, and “culture”. Although the original focus of permaculture was sustainable food production, the philosophy of permaculture has expanded over time to encompass economic and social systems. It is a science-based sustainable design system. It is also a dynamic social movement that is still evolving. CELL offers consulting services in the areas of land-based permaculture design, social permaculture design and collective wisdom. Our working tools are not limited to the tools contained within permaculture design, but encompass other methodologies and philosophies that are in line with our vision and ethics (e.g. action research, agroecology, radical pedagogy, deep ecology). David Holmgren explains how you can change the world with permaculture in this 6 minutes youtube video. Geoff Lawton is an internationally - renowned permaculture educator, consultant and practitioner. Have a Look at his TED talk on permaculture at TEDxAjman.

Q: Is Permaculture Just Theory?

Permaculture as a design science is theory, but there are many practical applications that have been put in place since its inception in the 1970’s. These include plant and animal agriculture, community planning and development, use of appropriate technologies, and adoption of concepts and philosophies that are both earth-based and people-centered, such as bioregionalism. Many of the appropriate technologies advocated by permaculturists are well known and used in our every day lives, including solar and wind power, composting toilets, solar greenhouses, energy efficient housing, and solar food cooking and drying. Permaculture places a heavy emphasis on perennial food systems, polyculture and multi-cropping to ensure sustainability is built into systems. This includes tree crops, due to their inherent sustainability, the integration of annual and perennial crops—such as alley cropping and agroforestry— to take advantage of “the edge effect,” increase biological diversity, and offer other characteristics missing in monoculture systems. In this 47 minute documentary, environmental film maker John D. Liu documents large-scale ecosystem restoration projects in China, Africa, South America and the Middle East, highlighting the enormous benefits for people and planet of undertaking these efforts globally.

Q: Is Permaculture Just Gardening?

In short, no. Permaculture is a design system for sustainability, which includes gardening in terms of food production, but it also includes other life systems such as energy-efficiency, water, recycling, and land stewardship. In it’s full form, it encompasses economic and social structures that support the evolution and development of more permanent communities. Permaculture design concepts are applicable to urban as well as rural settings, and are appropriate for single households as well as whole farms and villages.