Margrit & Declan Kennedy

As Margrit had worked mainly in school construction and urban planning, she was offered a position as a research associate in school construction at the School Building Institute of Berlin and conducted research there from 1974 to 1976.  During this time she was also a consultant for the school construction departments of UNESCO and the OECD, and continued working for both until 1979 writing several reports for these organizations as well as her doctoral thesis on the subject of “Schools as Community Centers.”

Between 1979 and 1984 Margrit headed the research department for ecology and energy for the International Building Exhibition IBA, Berlin. In the course of their respective research and teaching about ecological architecture and planning, Declan and Margrit discovered Permaculture, an ecological design concept which demonstrates the possibility of maximizing the total yield of a system (rather than the optimization of singular yields which is characteristic of todays system designs) and the integration of sustainable living and working

practices.  In 1984 they began to implement an ecological model community based on Permaculture principles in Steyerberg, Lower Saxony.  With the establishment of the Permaculture Institute and through numerous seminars at home and abroad throughout this period, Declan was instrumental in the development of Permaculture, as an ecological design method, in 17 countries of Europe. He was Director of the Permaculture Institute of Europe until 1989.

Between 1985 and 1986, Margrit was a guest professor in Urban Ecology at the Department of Landscape and Town Planning, University of Kassel. From 1991 to 2002 she continued teaching as a Professor and Chair of Resource Saving Construction at the Department of Architecture, University of Hannover.  As she had already discovered at IBA in Berlin, creating environmentally sustainable solutions was accepted more and more, but did not alter the ever-increasing problems of worldwide environmental destruction.  She began to realize that the real problem lay in the monetary

system and saw the necessity for change within the financial industry. As a result, from 1986 and over the succeeding thirteen years, she and Declan organized conferences on the subject of money at Lebensgarten Ecovillage in Steyerberg. Between 1982 and 2011 she committed herself, first part-time and then full-time, for a total of eighteen years, to the subjects of monetary reform and the introduction of complementary currencies.

In 1988, Margrit published her first book on the subject "Interest and Inflation Free Money - How to Create an Exchange Medium that Works for Everybody" (Permaculture Publications, Steyerberg). This book became a bestseller and was translated into 22 languages. In 1991 it was published in German by Goldmann, Munich (8th updated edition 2006).  Together with Bernard Lietaer she then wrote the book "Regional Currencies - New Approaches to Sustainable Prosperity," published by Riemann, Munich in 2004.