refugee camp

Refugees and Restoration

By Melissa de Raaij, Ecosystem Restoration Camps

What if we transform refugee camps into regenerative camps? The first weekend of June was special for many reasons. Not only was it World Environment Day, but also the official launch of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. Land degradation is a major challenge the world has to deal with nowadays, and is already undermining the livelihoods of 1.5 billion people worldwide. Following the consequences of climate change, it is likely that more and more people will be affected and will be confronted with forced displacement as a result, in which finding shelter in refugee camps will be their only option. Their stay is often longer than anticipated and so they find themselves stuck in a permanent form of temporariness in often harsh environments. But… What happens if we combine the efforts of ecosystem restoration with humanitarian aid and development, empowering refugees with the tools and the knowledge to build...


Permablitzing Our Way to Community

By Mark Juedeman, Shawn McFarland

Transition Houston had its origins in a permaculture class offered by the Permaculture Guild of Houston and Urban Harvest in 2007-2008. Mark Juedeman, a member of the class, had discovered the Transition movement online. He was so excited when Rob Hopkins’ The Transition Handbook was published that he bought a number of copies and gave them away to others he thought might be interested. Shawn McFarland, a teacher in the class, also purchased a copy and was likewise smitten. Mark’s design project for his Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) was to organize Transition Houston. The first organizational meeting was held in March of 2008, and Transition Houston became an official Transition Initiative in September 2009. Several action groups formed early on, with one of the most successful being the Permablitz group. Marybeth Seligmann, another member of the permaculture class, took on organizing permablitzes as her PDC project, mentored by Shawn. Permablitzes grabbed the...