Reflection on Day 3 of Praxis Summer School 2023 – Permaculture, Kinsale Transition Town

Day three of the Praxis Summer School also brought with it the energy and passion for permaculture of Dónal Chambers.  Dónal is course co-ordinator on Kinsale College’s Sustainability and Permaculture course and the chair of Transition Towns Kinsale.

Dónal talked about permaculture and work he does at Kinsale College, as well as the work he does with Transition Towns Kinsale.  He talked about tree and food planting and brought some samples to the class to discuss good approaches to caring for and growing plants.  He also talked about the Kinsale Community Energy Project and the Kinsale Community Meadow Project.

Dónal is a ‘hands on’ person.  In the picture above he is planting a tree in the beautiful gardens at Nano Nagle place, talking to participants about tree planting and permaculture.  It is lovely to think that we have marked in such a lovely way, our first Summer School together, community organisation and academic institution working together.  Our tree will remain forever reminding us of the importance of protecting nature, biodiversity, climate and ecological harmony.  The care and thought which Dónal and the NNP gardeners put into this tree was an example in itself of the importance of remembering the sacredness of the world around us.

Dónal defined ‘permaculture’ as:

A practical method for developing ecologically harmonious, ethical, human scale productive systems that can be used by anyone, anywhere

I was struck by a quote from one of his favourite (and mine) writers, Vandana Shiva “in nature’s economy the currency is not money, it is life”.

Transition Town Kinsale is a voluntary community initiative working to help make the transition from a dependency on fossil fuel to a low carbon future. Our Vision is a resilient, self-reliant and sustainable Town.

What began in Kinsale in 2005 has now become a global movement. Rob Hopkins, teacher of Permaculture at Kinsale Further Education College, produced the groundbreaking Kinsale Energy Descent Action Plan with his students, exploring ways in which the community could prepare for Peak Oil. One of his students, Louise Rooney, set about developing the Transition Towns concept resulting in the historic decision by Kinsale Town Council to adopt the plan. Rob moved to the UK where he established Transition Town in Totnes which has become the inspiring focal point of the movement.

Dónal’s input brought us back to the land, literally to roots.  It was a very important part of our Summer School because of this and I very much thank Dónal for his really energising contribution.

I think the pictures below from his world, speak louder than words.