In less than a month, the world will convene in Doha for the UN Climate Change Conference. Technology will of course be a central part of the discussions, with some believing technology can be the silver bullet in solving our climate challenges, while other arguing continued technological advancement is the root cause of our current environmental predicaments. Both arguments probably have some valid points, but neither is fundamentally correct. Technology may be part of the problem, but it most certainly can and should be part of the solution.
Too often people focus on the big technologies though when thinking about sustainability and the environment. While big solutions to problems such as industrial pollution would be wonderful, sometimes it is the seemingly simple, small-scale solutions that have the greatest impact. One such initiative is Open Source Ecology and their Global Village Construction Set. Yes, open course is far more than just software!
Launched just two years ago, Open Source Ecology is a not-for-profit association of farmers, engineers and supporters that have created open source, low-cost and high-performance technological platforms that allow individuals and small communities to build their own sustainable industrial machines for farming and building. These open-source designs remove many of the cost barriers to entry into these industries and allow communities to develop sustainable, eco-friendly models of self-sufficiency. Yes, it’s fantastic for the trendy urban farmer or hipster, but far more importantly, these tools can be used in the parts of the rural developing world.
Open Source Ecology was started by Marcin Jakubowski, who holds a Ph.D. in fusion physics, so there are some clear brains behind the initiative. His Ted Talk explains his motivation for starting the project and his commitment to using open source information to build sustainable societies. It’s definitely worth a watch. Also check a video from a farmer who built her own Keyline plow using the Global Village Construction Set. The potential is tremendous.
Do you know of any other great low-cost, high impact technological solutions to environmental challenges? Share them with us!