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How to Wean a Town Off Fossil Fuels

Hana Loftus, WorldChanging
The story of the Kinsale Energy Descent Action Plan is an extraordinary one. A mid-thirties Englishman with a penchant for permaculture and an interest in peak oil moves to rural Ireland, starts teaching at the local further education college, and ends up writing, with his students, a ground-breaking document: the first timetabled strategy for weaning a town off fossil fuels. And what is more, that small Irish town actually adopts the action plan and starts to implement it.

Kinsale is a seaside town of 7000 inhabitants renowned as Ireland’s gourmet food capital, as well as the home of a well-known jazz festival. Kinsale 2021 is the title of the document: Rob Hopkins is the man, who persuaded Kinsale Further Education College to start the first full-time two year course in Europe training in people in Practical Sustainability.

He had a simple idea for his students: to ask them to think practically about all the aspects of a town that would need to be changed if a low-energy future was to happen, and how they could do so over a fifteen-year period. So far, so standard college project. But what was extraordinary was the way they went about it – seriously, meeting the movers and shakers of the town in a “community think-tank,” and researching and writing with every intent of making the project real.
(24 Oct 2006)
Many articles by Rob Hopkins have appeared in Energy Bulletin.

First issue of Relocalization Network Newsletter

Shelby Tay & Sarah Smith, Post Carbon Institute
We are excited to share with you the first volume of the Relocalization Network Newsletter, a monthly publication of the Relocalization Network. The newsletter includes upcoming news and events as well as information about Local Group activities, Relocalization Network projects, the website and ways to get involved. The Relocalization Network Newsletter will help you stay current and connected with the growing Relocalization Network community.

In this issue:

  • Stay Current with the Relocalization Network

  • Welcome to the New Local Post Carbon Groups
  • Get Connected with
  • Update on Post Carbon Institute’s Upcoming Guidebook for Local Governments
  • Report on September Bay Area Networking Meeting
  • Funding Opportunity for Northern Californian Local Groups
  • New on Global Public Media
  • Feature Interview: Mary Dalton, Post Carbon Santa Cruz, CA
  • Help us Test Software and Receive a Year Subscription with Timebanks
  • Upcoming Events

(24 Oct 2006)

Never mind altruism: ‘Saving the earth’ can mean big bucks

Mark Rice-Oxley, Christian Science Monitor
Some $1 trillion in ‘green’ business opportunities await creative entrepreneurs, a report finds.
…As the international community faces costs in the trillions to address climate change, businessmen are increasingly becoming aware that changing the world – its fuels, technologies, energy sources, and waste disposal practices – can be an opportunity as well as a cost.

For small- and medium-sized British companies, it could mean $55 billion worth of business opportunities over the coming decade, according to a new report commissioned by oil giant Shell UK. And globally, the market could be worth $1 trillion over the next five years, the report found. Such conclusions challenge President Bush’s assertion that adopting the Kyoto Protocol, which compels signatories to cut greenhouse gases, would seriously damage America’s economy.

“President Bush is right to argue that tackling climate change will cost us money,” notes Robin Smale, director of Vivid Economics, the London consultancy that produced the report for Shell. “But for every pound or dollar consumers spend on [green technology or services], this is going to the people who are doing something about it: the people making the biofuels or building new environmentally friendly housing or putting up the windfarms.”

While the costs are substantial, and some people will inevitably lose jobs as industries adapt to new regulations and demands, dithering could prove even more costly. An authoritative report by a former World Bank vice president, Sir Nicholas Stern, due out imminently in Britain is expected to argue that the future economic costs of failing to act will far outweigh the cost of action today to mitigate climate change. Another recent report by Friends of the Earth in conjunction with Tufts University argued that spending £1.6 trillion ($2 trillion) a year now could avert £6.4 trillion ($8 trillion) in annual damages further down the line.
(25 Oct 2006)