[ Students of a practical sustainability course in the small seaside town of Kinsale in rural Cork, Ireland, earlier this year produced a document outlining a vision and a series of practical steps for locally designing a way down from the oil peak. It is quite an important effort, possibly the first local action plan of its kind, however it has remained something of a secret due its limited distribution. Fortunately, the plan is now available online.

While necessarily many of the suggestions apply specifically to Kinsale, many local organisers should find much to inspire, and a very useful template for designing our own local energy descent action plans.

Richard Heinberg, author of The Party’s Over and Powerdown, spoke at the Fuelling the Future conference in Kinsale in June, and is now working on a similar local action plan, the ‘Powerdown Project‘. Richard writes that “Powerdown Project, that is a collaboration between the City of Sebatopol, California and students of New College of California, was inspired largely by Kinsale’s Energy Descent Plan, and the work of Rob Hopkins. Rob is currently working on creating a template that can be adopted by communities around the world. This is enormously important work.”

-AF ]

The Kinsale Energy Descent Action Plan is now available on this site as a pdf. file. This plan was produced at Kinsale Further Education College by myself and the college’s second year students, and was, as far as we know, the first attempt by a community to design an intentionally designed way down from the oil peak. You can read more about how it was carried out in the article called Designing Energy Descent Pathways in the Articles section on this site. We printed 500 copies, and they are already very scarce.

We heard the other day that the Action Plan has been awarded Cork Environmental Forum’s prestigious Roll of Honour Award for 2005. It is wonderful for the Plan and for the town of Kinsale to be recognised in this way. Although it was only the first attempt at such a plan and it has its weak bits, I think, as far as I can tell from those who have written to me or spoken to me about it, it is more what it tries to do that touches people. Whether the final model we end up using with communities up and down the land ends up looking like this or not scarcely matters, what is important is that we had a go.

In his review of it in Permaculture Magazine, Patrick Whitefield wrote,

“Rob Hopkins and the students of Kinsale are to be congratulated. Not only on being the first to act when most of us are still just becoming aware of the problem, but also for the quality of their work. I recommend their plan to people everywhere who would like to see some positive action happen in their own commuity. The challenge of implementing a plan of this kind is huge, but the cost of not doing so would be much greater”.

Please do download it and use it to spread the approach and the idea. We do ask that you fill out a form first, as we are interested to see where it ends up. There is no fee, although if you were able to send a donation to Transition Design to help in their work implementing this plan in Kinsale we would be very grateful. Leaving your details means that we can contact you when Version 2, currently being prepared by the college’s new permaculture teacher, Graham Strouts and the second year students, is ready. You can download the Plan, here…