More prospects for 2007 via worldchanging.com, a site founded on the idea that ‘real solutions already exist for building the future we want. It’s just a matter of grabbing hold and getting moving’.
Now with a few years of promoting sustainable solutions online, the Worldchanging.com crew recently compiled some of their best into a mammoth print compendium of innovative, pragmatic and up-beat projects being put into practice the world over. It’s a near giddy read with an avalanche of enthusiasts the world over, bringing a welcome respite to daily news onslaughts of climate change and eco-disasters.
From ideas to reduce energy use in your house and easy to assemble low-cost housing from cheap recycled materials to zero energy homes, from rooftop gardens & ‘elevated wetlands’ to buddhist monks with solar panels, from compostable computer parts to bioplastics, from handmade saunas to greening skyscrapers, from collaborative designing and carbon sniffing robots to land-mine detecting flowers, this is a book that beams : There is much we can do, there is much being done, and there are many people doing it, small steps at a time.
Noting that this year we need awareness translated into action on many levels – personal, corporate, governmental – worldchanging asked their writers “What do u see happening in 2007?”
Below some highlights, much much more on their site, as well as details for ordering the World Changing book.
Dave Roberts : 2007 is the year of execution. Three factors are coming together:
1. Public interest in energy and climate issues is at an historic high.
2. The U.S. Congress has just gone through the biggest shake-up in over 20 years.
3. The global business community has anticipated our energy-constrained future and is responding aggressively.
David Bornstein : To change the world, people have to overcome their inhibitions about repeating themselves. The easiest way to generate excitement is to continually look for new ideas. The hardest thing to do is to stick with things that work, and to keep doing them better and better, and to keep saying what needs to be said, over and over again. I would like to reiterate two old ideas, that have proven themselves to be extremely effective at alleviating poverty and bringing positive change in many of the poorest parts of the globe: extending micro-credit for self employment and eliminating school fees, especially for girls.
Emily Gertz : more being done on climate change from a governmental level – it was proposed just this week to list the polar bear, native to the Arctic north, as threatened on the endangered species list. Although the full listing process will take about a year, the result will be the first-ever species acknowledged as endangered by global climate disruption.
Serge de Gheldere : Mobility, food, and building sectors cause 70 to 80% of the total environmental impacts in society. Working solutions for these problems do exist, yet somehow have failed to enter the mainstream. So, maybe 2007 should be about carefully choosing our battles, choosing the best places to intervene.
Katie Kurtz : “I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum,” – Claes Oldenburg. We need more artwork that uses minimal resources, includes a component of environmental reclamation or restoration, and encourages people to think differently about how they live in the world. Considering the rapidly encroaching effects of global warming, it’s becoming harder and harder to not view art â€“ both its production and consumption â€“ as a luxury. What happens when an artist approaches their material â€“ whether it’s a jar of paint or their own body â€“ as a precious commodity, to be used sparingly? What if the work harnessed sunlight in order to power itself? What if art gave back rather than took from? How might art’s wealth be shared sustainably?
Phillip Torrone : We’ve seen an explosive growth in blogs, RSS, wikis and video sharing, the next challenge is making it “useful” for learning and manufacturing in developing countries. Projects like the OLPC (one laptop per child) are just one of many physical hardware solutions to information distribution, not *the* solution, just one of them. I also think we’ll see open source hardware and open hardware projects provide a lot of opportunities to build physical things and share back the skills and iterations.
Jason Kottke : Wealth.. comes from the ground, human effort, the flesh of animals, the sun, and the atom. The global economy is driven by nature, and yet it’s not usually found on the accountant’s balance sheet. Perhaps it should be – a True Cost number or rating, like the nutritional information on a cereal box or the Energy Star rating on a refrigerator. When True Cost is factored in, conflict diamonds become a morally expensive choice to make when they’re fueling turmoil in the world. Likewise clothing made in sweatshops. Organic tomatoes flown in from Chile may be less expensive at the register, but how much carbon dioxide was released into the atmosphere flying/driving them to your table? What’s the energy cost of living in the suburbs compared to living downtown? Do the people who made the clock hanging on my wall get paid a fair wage and receive healthcare? Just how bad for the environment is the laptop on which I’m typing?