Community Powerdown Course - March 2009

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Training for leadership, livelihoods and local resilience

Wednesday evenings from the 11th of March to 27th May | Cultivate Centre | 19.30 – 21.30 | €200 | Discounts for Cultivate members and those active in Transition Towns | Price includes a DVD ROM Toolkit of resources including all 10 episodes of Cultivate’s new TV Show

"Bursting with insightful analysis and creative solutions to the twin challenge of climate change and peak oil, The Powerdown Course is an inspirational pointer to life beyond fossil fuels. Essential learning – a flash of light in the darkness." - Rob Hopkins founder of the Transition Movement

Community Powerdown is a learning programme, developed by Cultivate, to help empower people to positively respond to the global challenges we face today. The programme supports a strategic shift towards global citizenship, ecological thinking and sustainability focused at a community level. Central to this is the concept of resilience - the capability of communities to hold together, adapt and maintain their ability to function in response to change.

The objective of the course is to nurture community leadership in sustainability. We describe this as a conscious engagement in individual and collective actions that nurture and sustain the economic, environmental and social well-being of our communities. This means engaging and taking responsibility by tackling and understanding complex local and global issues that impact the lives of people today and in the future, and working side-by-side with others who are seeking to make a difference. The magnitude and complexity of sustainability challenges requires new thinking about the experience of leadership. A “leader” in this new context can be described as-‘anyone who consciously chooses to engage in collaborative, transformative change aimed toward the goal of a sustainable future’.

The course provides learners with the context of the global crises we face and offers pathways and a set of tools that will enable them and their communities to make an informed response. It focuses on the development of core competencies that complement the mind-set and skill-set of the learners. The course builds capacity for active citizenship at the local level and an awareness of their responsibilities as global citizens.

Using short presentations, case studies, games, discussions and 10 specially produced short films, participants explore the following themes.

1. March 11 - The Challenges Ahead – Climate, Energy and Sustainability

2. March 18 - The Power Of Community – Social Capital, Resilience and the Local Economy

3. March 25 - It’s All Connected - Whole Systems Thinking and Permaculture

4. April 08 - Rethinking Energy – Conservation, Efficiency and Appropriate Technology

5. April 15 - Getting Around - Transport and Mobility

6. April 29 - Deconstructing Dinner - Food Miles, Trade and Food Systems

7. May 6 - Shelter - Future Proofing Our Homes and Buildings -

8. May 13 - Energy Descent Pathways - Post Carbon Cities, Transition Towns and Eco Villages

9.  May 20 - Global Citizenship - Opportunities for Change

10. May 27 - Where Do We Go From Here? – Communication and Livelihoods


Learners that complete this course will:

  • Understand the social, environmental and psychological issues of peak oil and climate change
  • Develop a range of practical skills for appropriate community responses
  • Be able to present and articulate the need for building local resilience and strengthening the local economy
  • Identify a pathway for personal and community energy reduction
  • Be empowered and inspired to apply what they have learned in their local community


A ‘Toolkit’ of learning resources has been produced for the Community Powerdown course and will be given to each participant. Included in this Toolkit is a ‘Learners Handbook’, 10 introductory readings, 10 episodes of the Powerdwon Show, and additional materials for the learners.

Target Audience

Community and business leaders, educators, journalists, trainers, consultants, environmentalists, coaches, sustainability advocates, facilitators, Transition Town activists and anyone looking for direction in these uncertain times.

The facilitator of this course is Davie Philip

Davie is the Education Manager at the Cultivate Centre for sustainable living and learning in Dublin. He was a founding member of both FEASTA: the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability and Sustainable Projects Ireland LTD the company behind the sustainable community project in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary. Davie has over ten years of experience of managing events and projects in the ‘sustainability’ sector in Ireland.  He was recently appointed onto the board of Sustainable Energy Ireland by Eamon Ryan, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Davie is currently the Irish co-ordinator for the Transition Ireland Network and has just completed a new TV series designed to help citizens respond to oil depletion and climate change called ‘The Powerdown Show’.

What past participants have said

“The course was very informative. The issue of peak oil and climate change is one that everybody has a view on, but often that view is narrow, one-sided and based on the latest random facts or opinions heard in news reports/television programmes.  The course was really useful in providing the context and the overall factual picture from all perspectives. It also helped to speak to other people – everyone seemed to have so much information of their own to add to the class.” - Elizabeth Devine, Political Researcher

“It was a very good course and the mix of lectures, video clips & discussions was paticularly interesting. It has made me realise that we are living a life which cannot be sustained & we need to be changing our lifestyles to ensure minimal impact on the environment and on the developing world.” -Patricia Downing, Oxigen Environmental Limited

“This course has made me more aware of the connectedness of everything, and has given me a vocabulary with which to discuss sustainability etc. It has given me a tiny modicum of hope for the future — but also (conversely) a sense of dispair when I see how far we have to change. If all our public representatives and decision makers participated in a Community Power Down course, they might get a clearer picture of what’s needed to make our planet’s future secure.” - Jane Powers, Journalist, Irish Times

“I really enjoyed the open-minded nature of the course and the different solutions outlined. It was definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach and very much gave sight to opportunities for everyone, no matter what their lifestyle, ideology or income, to be involved in reducing our carbon dependence.” - Dee Blake, Civil Servant

“A totally innovative course that is courageous enough to tackle some of the most critical challenges we face. The facilitation, content and interactive learning provide a creative space for us, the global community, to recognise that there are solutions. And that these solutions point towards a healthier, brighter and more positive future.” -Deirdre Tunney, Student

For more information contact

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