An outline of the project working to create an intentionally designed ecological settlement in West Cork

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An Introduction to Baile Dúlra the West Cork Eco-Hamlet Project An outline of the project working to create an intentionally designed ecological settlement in West Cork Non-Profitmaking Company No ,
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An Introduction to Baile Dúlra the West Cork Eco-Hamlet Project An outline of the project working to create an intentionally designed ecological settlement in West Cork Non-Profitmaking Company No , Charitable Status No An Introduction to Baile Dúlra the West Cork Eco-Hamlet Project Non-Profitmaking Company No , Charitable Status No by Rob Hopkins BSc.(Hons), Dip.Perm.Des You must be the change you wish to see in the world Gandhi The Baile Dúlra Advisory Panel Many of the leading names in ecological design, renewable energy systems and green economics in Ireland and beyond have joined our Advisory Panel giving the baile dúlra project access to a wide range of expertise and experience. John Carney is a Chartered Surveyor with who has been Lecturer in Construction Management at Waterford RTC since He is particularly interested in the whole area of sustainable development in relation to built environments and the efficient use of renewable natural capital. Among other things, Mr.Carney teaches a module in Environmental Protection and Sustainability at the RTC. Audrey Dickson is the National Co-ordinator of Global Action Plan, a non-profit organisation which empowers individuals to lead increasingly sustainable lifestyles. As a executive member of the National Women's Council in Ireland she founded the Irish Women's Environmental Network in She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Environmental Protection Agency and is on the committee of the Network of Irish Environment and Development Organisations. Richard Douthwaite obtained a master s degree at the University of the West Indies and went on to work for the Jamaican Ministry of Finance. He was Government economist with the British colony of Monserrat from In 1974 he moved to Ireland, setting up an exporting business in Westport, until 1985, when he returned to journalism, writing about business and environmental matters largely to do with the West of Ireland. is the author of The Growth Illusion and Short Circuit - Strengthening Local economics for Security in an Unstable World, which was launched in Westport last summer. Phil Ferraro is the Director of the Institute for Bioregional Studies in Prince Edward Island in Canada. He is also a Permaculture designer, and is involved in the Prince Edward Island Eco- Village, which has many similarities to the baile dúlra project and we plan to closely follow each others progress. John Jopling is a retired barrister who founded and is project manager of the Sustainable London Trust, which co-ordinated the publication of the report Creating a Sustainable London. He is working to find ways of strengthening non-governmental activities and bottom-up democracy in London. He has a house at Rossbehy, Co.Kerry where he has begun to hold study courses for arts and ecology. Roger Kelly (Dip. Arch.) is the Director at the Centre for Alternative Technology, in Machynlleth, Wales. After completing his architectural training Roger worked in the public, private and housing association sectors and also taught in several schools of architecture. He became director of the Centre for Alternative Technology in 1988 and has since been the prime catalyst of positive changes in the Centre and its outlook. Marcus McCabe is the director of the Ark Permaculture Project near Clones, Co.Monaghan. The Ark Permaculture Project was set up 2½ years ago and has rapidly become the best demonstration site for Permaculture design in Ireland. The Ark is breaking new ground in Ireland in the development of reedbed pond and wetland systems for purifying water, and they have also set up a plant nursery which specialises in unusual plants which are of use in an Agroforestry/Permaculture system. As an educational resource they run a number of courses on Permaculture and related topics which attract people from the whole of Ireland. Mary O Donnell is the Director of the R+D Energy Unit based in the West Cork Education Institute for Rural Development. She is Project Co-ordinator of West Cork BioGas and the Skibbereen WaterWorld Development Company. Her past experience includes being founder director of the Cork Craftsman s Guild and Executive Board member of Friends of the Earth International. Jose Ospina (MA) is a Housing Development Consultant currently working with CECOP, the European Workers Co-operative Council. He has many years experience in self-build and cooperative housing projects and is author of the book Housing Ourselves, which looked at userparticipation in housing. Prof. J. Owen Lewis (BArch, MSc, FRIAI, RIBA, MCIBSE, Euring) is responsible for Building Technology in the School of Architecture in University College Dublin, and Director of UCD s Energy Research Group. Qualified as an architect and a building services engineer, he has practised in Ireland, England and Zambia and has also taught in Jordan and Germany. He coordinates a number of European Commission energy research and dissemination activities and has been the co-ordinator of the European Commission DGXII for Science, Research and Development R+D projects since He was manager of UCD-OPET (Organisation for the Promotion of Energy Technology) from , has been Energy Consultant to a number of projects and has edited a number of energy/architecture related publications. Tommy Simpson is the Chairman of Sonairte, the National Ecology Centre in Co.Meath, an education al and demonstration centre for sustainable living. He is Chair of the Network for Ecology, Energy and Economics which ran a successful training programme with European partners, in Permaculture, Wind Energy and Energy Conservation. This programme introduced LETS and ran the first conference on Socially Responsible Investment in Ireland. He is founder member of Energy Action, the charity for insulating homes of the elderly. He has worked for FAS for 10 years on product development and is a member of the Governing Body of Dublin Institute of Technology, City of Dublin VEC and Adult Education Board. Hamish Stewart is director of Gaia Villages - a division of Gaia Trust of Denmark, and international secretary of the Global Eco-village Network (GEN). Coming from a background of marine biology and overseas fisheries, he moved to Denmark in 1983 and worked as a researcher in plant based wastewater treatment, solar greenhouses and energy auditing at the Folk Center for Renewable Energy from He has been secretary to the Danish Association of Sustainable Communities. Prof. Tom Wooley (B.Arch, PhD) is head of the Department of Architecture at Queen s University Belfast. He is a founder member of the Ecological Design Association and Chair of the UK wide Association of Community Technical Aid Centres, which publishes a Green Building Digest. His current areas of research include straw bale construction and sustainable approaches to rural regeneration. baile dúlra the West Cork Eco-Hamlet Project Summary Baile Dúlra, the West Cork Eco-Hamlet, is a largely self-financing project which aims to create an ecological settlement of houses on a rural site of between 30 and 70 acres in West Cork. It will be an model of sustainability and Permaculture design in practice, as well as being a tourist attraction and education and research resource. It will be at the cutting edge of ecological building, renewable energy generation, woodland management, biological waste water treatment, intensive food production and small scale economic systems. It will become an internationally recognised centre of environmental excellence and would create numerous sources of employment, both within the community and beyond. It offers the Local Authority the opportunity to be seen to be supporting and backing major environmental initiatives within its area. This document represents the first phase of the project, a defining of what the project will entail, how it will function, how it will be established and what it s benefits will be. Acknowledgements The author would like to acknowledge the following sources of useful information which has been included in this report. Firstly the invaluable groundwork done by the Stroud Sustainable Village project in the practicalities of eco-village development, and the section on village development in Bill Mollison s Permaculture - a Designer s Manual. Also the Context Institute s Eco-Villages and Sustainable Communities report which is the most detailed study of eco-villages to date. We would also like to thank all those involved in this project for their passion and vision as well as all those involved in the Irish Eco-Village Network. An Introduction to Baile Dúlra the West Cork Eco-Hamlet Project Contents Acknowledgements i Summary i The West Cork Eco-Hamlet Project - Aims ii The Context of the Project 1 What is an Eco-Hamlet? 2-3 Permaculture 4 How Will the Project be Financed? 5 Elements of the project 6-9 Phases of Development Benefits to the local authority 12 How attractive/viable is such a project? 12 Physical Criteria for the Site 13 The Position of the Local Authority 13 Case Studies Further Reading on Eco-Villages/Hamlets and other works referred to in the preparation of this document 18 Baile Dúlra s Advisory Panel Many of the leading names in ecological design, renewable energy systems and green economics in Ireland and beyond have joined our Advisory Panel giving the Baile Dúlra project access to a wide range of expertise and experience. John Carney is a Chartered Surveyor with who has been Lecturer in Construction Management at Waterford RTC since He is particularly interested in the whole area of sustainable development in relation to built environments and the efficient use of renewable natural capital. Among other things, Mr.Carney teaches a module in Environmental Protection and Sustainability at the RTC. Audrey Dickson is the National Co-ordinator of Global Action Plan, a non-profit organisation which empowers individuals to lead increasingly sustainable lifestyles. As a executive member of the National Women's Council in Ireland she founded the Irish Women's Environmental Network in She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Environmental Protection Agency and is on the committee of the Network of Irish Environment and Development Organisations. Richard Douthwaite obtained a master s degree at the University of the West Indies and went on to work for the Jamaican Ministry of Finance. He was Government economist with the British colony of Monserrat from In 1974 he moved to Ireland, setting up an exporting business in Westport, until 1985, when he returned to journalism, writing about business and environmental matters largely to do with the West of Ireland. is the author of The Growth Illusion and Short Circuit - Strengthening Local economics for Security in an Unstable World, which was launched in Westport last summer. Phil Ferraro is the Director of the Institute for Bioregional Studies in Prince Edward Island in Canada. He is also a Permaculture designer, and is involved in the Prince Edward Island Eco- Village, which has many similarities to the baile dúlra project and we plan to closely follow each others progress. Roger Kelly (Dip. Arch.) is the Director at the Centre for Alternative Technology, in Machynlleth, Wales. After completing his architectural training Roger worked in the public, private and housing association sectors and also taught in several schools of architecture. He became director of the Centre for Alternative Technology in 1988 and has since been the prime catalyst of positive changes in the Centre and its outlook. Marcus McCabe is the director of the Ark Permaculture Project near Clones, Co.Monaghan. The Ark Permaculture Project was set up 2½ years ago and has rapidly become the best demonstration site for Permaculture design in Ireland. The Ark is breaking new ground in Ireland in the development of reedbed pond and wetland systems for purifying water, and they have also set up a plant nursery which specialises in unusual plants which are of use in an Agroforestry/Permaculture system. As an educational resource they run a number of courses on Permaculture and related topics which attract people from the whole of Ireland. Dr. Sean McCarthy is Managing Director of Hyperion Energy Systems Ltd, a company specialising in Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation, and in electronic monitoring systems. i Mary O Donnell is the Director of the R+D Energy Unit based in the West Cork Education Institute for Rural Development. She is Project Co-ordinator of West Cork BioGas and the Skibbereen WaterWorld Development Company. Her past experience includes being founder director of the Cork Craftsman s Guild and Executive Board member of Friends of the Earth International. Gerry O Sullivan is the Adult Education Officer for the West Cork region and is manager of the Sutherland Business Centre in Skibbereen. Jose Ospina (MA) is a Housing Development Consultant currently working with CECOP, the European Workers Co-operative Council. He has many years experience in self-build and cooperative housing projects and is author of the book Housing Ourselves, which looked at userparticipation in housing. He is also the founder of Tir an Droichead, Cork s first Housing Association. Prof. J. Owen Lewis (BArch, MSc, FRIAI, RIBA, MCIBSE, Euring) is responsible for Building Technology in the School of Architecture in University College Dublin, and Director of UCD s Energy Research Group. Qualified as an architect and a building services engineer, he has practised in Ireland, England and Zambia and has also taught in Jordan and Germany. He co-ordinates a number of European Commission energy research and dissemination activities and has been the co-ordinator of the European Commission DGXII for Science, Research and Development R+D projects since He was manager of UCD-OPET (Organisation for the Promotion of Energy Technology) from , has been Energy Consultant to a number of projects and has edited a number of energy/architecture related publications. Tommy Simpson is the Chairman of Sonairte, the National Ecology Centre in Co.Meath, an education al and demonstration centre for sustainable living. He is Chair of the Network for Ecology, Energy and Economics which ran a successful training programme with European partners, in Permaculture, Wind Energy and Energy Conservation. This programme introduced LETS and ran the first conference on Socially Responsible Investment in Ireland. He is founder member of Energy Action, the charity for insulating homes of the elderly. He has worked for FAS for 10 years on product development and is a member of the Governing Body of Dublin Institute of Technology, City of Dublin VEC and Adult Education Board. Hamish Stewart is director of Gaia Villages - a division of Gaia Trust of Denmark, and international secretary of the Global Eco-village Network (GEN). Coming from a background of marine biology and overseas fisheries, he moved to Denmark in 1983 and worked as a researcher in plant based wastewater treatment, solar greenhouses and energy auditing at the Folk Center for Renewable Energy from He has been secretary to the Danish Association of Sustainable Communities. Prof. Tom Wooley (B.Arch, PhD) is head of the Department of Architecture at Queen s University Belfast. He is a founder member of the Ecological Design Association and Chair of the UK wide Association of Community Technical Aid Centres, which publishes a Green Building Digest. His current areas of research include straw bale construction and sustainable approaches to rural regeneration. Baile Dúlra the West Cork Eco-Hamlet ii Baile Dúlra the West Cork Eco-Hamlet Project Aims to create a model for sustainable 21 st century living which would serve as an educational, research and service resource for both West Cork and further afield to maximise the potential for earning within the hamlet by increasing self reliance in food, energy and housing to minimise pollution to air, water and land to demonstrate a new approach to rural regeneration, showing the potential for agricultural and economic productivity of land through the application of ecological sustainability and Permaculture design to provide for residents and the surrounding community s nonmaterial needs in a supportive environment. iii The Context of the Project The transition to sustainable development has been identified as the most important global transformation since the agricultural and industrial revolutions. The growth model of the 20 th Century, characterised by increases in the use of energy and raw materials and leading to over-exploitation of scarce environmental resources, cannot be sustained indefinitely into the 21 st century (from Department of the Environment Sustainable Development - A Strategy for Ireland 1997 Baile Dúlra, the West Cork Eco-Hamlet, project believes that what is needed as we approach the end of the twentieth century are models of how people can live in harmony with nature. We need models of ecological housing, of biological waste water treatment, of sustainable employment. We need to create a model which not only provides homes for people in such a way as to not impact on global warming, but which also is an educational resource. Unless sustainable development can be seen working in practice it will remain forever a concept, a theory. This document outlines our vision of how this could become a reality in the shape of the West Cork Eco-Hamlet project. Over the last 20 years it has become increasingly clear that the way we live is having a devastating effect on the planet. Global warming, caused principally by our overuse of fossil fuels, is a reality now recognised by most of the world s leading scientists. The main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2), is generated in almost every area of human activity, and its reduction is now an urgent priority. The European Union has set a goal of stabilising CO2 emissions at 1990 levels by the year If this target is to be met then clearly there is a need to re-evaluate our approach to all areas of human activity. There is also much concern over the loss of biodiversity, the millions and millions of species which make up the ecology of the planet. This is now a very rapid process as has been recognised by many national and international bodies. It has been estimated that 500,000 species are lost per year, and although most of these are in the rainforests, there have been startling losses in Europe too, leading to UN Convention on Biological Diversity, signed at the Rio Earth Summit in The list of problems confronting our environment is long and depressingly familiar - pollution of watercourses, land, air, the food chain, loss of greenspace, traffic congestion, loss of rare habitats and so on. There are also the problems facing our communities, loss of the extended family, unemployment, poor housing, poverty, poor diet, poor drinking water to name but a few. The Government recently published its National Sustainable Development Strategy entitled Sustainable Development - A Strategy for Ireland, which addresses many of these issues. Although the Government and many other bodies are doing much important work in the field of sustainable development, the work that can be done by individuals and by groups of individuals is, we feel, just as important. The West Cork Eco-Hamlet will become an example of just how effective this work can be. 1 What is an Eco-Hamlet? T he name Baile Dúlra comes from the Irish meaning a small village of nature or environmental village. It is what has become known as an eco-village, or ecohamlet. Although a hamlet is traditionally defined as being a small village without a church, the only real difference between an eco-village and an eco-hamlet is the issue of scale. An eco-hamlet refers to a cluster of houses, while an eco-village is on a larger scale. A recent study by the Context Institute of Seattle for Denmark s Gaia Trust called Eco-Villages and Sustainable Communit
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