This is our 500th post, and we'd like to ask your advice.
Over the last six months we've been gratified and amazed by the response we've gotten to worldchanging. We never expected, when we set out, to meet so many cool, smart, committed, and, well, worldchanging people. You guys have made this fun, exciting and deeply rewarding. Thank you.
Now we'd like to take things to the next level. We started this site with the premise that the tools, models and ideas for creating a sustainable, democratic and prosperous were out there, but they weren't getting the attention they deserved. That building a sustainable world means moving forward, not looking backward. That people are doing phenomenal work all around the planet, but many of them -- most of them, even -- don't know about each other, don't realize that this proliferation of good ideas and solutions may yet combine into something globally transformative.
Examples, it turns out, haven't been hard to find. From Sao Paulo to Mumbai, Jo'berg to Amsterdam, remarkable people are remaking the world in a shape we couldn't have imagined a decade ago, and we're beginning to see the outlines of a world not only more sustainable than the one in which we now live, but fairer, and richer, more stable and more beautiful. We may still have a very long way to go, but we've come far already, and we're still gaining momentum. These days, the widening gap between what's conceivable and what we're doing sometimes discourages, but the narrowing gap between what's conceivable and what's possible electrifies. We will continue to do our best to blog the newly achievable, and to try to anticipate the possible.
However, that first gap -- between the future we can conceive and the future we're actually building -- is hard to ignore, especially when you consider that the clock's ticking. We need to begin to close that gap, and soon.
How can we help?
That's not a rhetorical question. We need your input. We want this site to be not only interesting, but useful. We have no delusions of grandeur, but we do have aspirations of utility and excellence. You guys know better than us where we're succeeding and failing. So, please, tell us what you think.
What can we do to make this site itself a better tool? What features would you like to see on this site? Would you like more opportunities for discussion? A chance to post your own entries, like over at Kos? A chance to meet other worldchangers face-to-face?
How do you like the way the site looks, is organized, is written? What topics would you like to see more (or less) of? What blogsite tools do you wish we used?
What do you think of our editorial choices? What would you like to hear more about from us? What books, sites, films , tools, reports, people and projects have we missed? Who are our mutual allies? Where else do they hang out online?
Finally, what were your favorite (or least favorite) posts of the last 500?
Here's a list of some of ours:
Clouds on Tap
Lula and the Brazilian Third Way
Indicators are Reality
Remote Village Tech in Laos
Uganda Digital Bookmobile
LEDs - cool, bright and green
Open the Future
Land Mine Detecting Flowers
Redistributing the Future
Estonia's Tiger Leap
Indian Media Ecologies
Solar Power Leapfrogging
Knowing Nature Through Technology
ThinkCycle Collaborative Design
The Transcommercial Enterprise
Circular mills and emergent failures
Titanic or Shuttle?
Greens in Space
The Tech Bloom
Reinventing the Wheel
The Rosetta Project
Watch the Skies
Getting Smarter About Security
while I consider myself a "mutual ally" my site is more wide-ranging than yours. but I can think of a few other bloggers who should definitely be on your radar:
matt at earth-info.net http://earth-info-net.blogspot.com/
garrett at dangerousmeta http://www.dangerousmeta.com/ and
your planet earth http://www.yourplanetearth.com/ are all good resources for environmental news.
and these two weblogs that are designed to promote conversation between groups that have been historically opposed:
dialog now http://www.dialognow.org/ and
slugger o'toole http://www.sluggerotoole.com/
I'd like to see more community through the message base which would include the ability to post links and an easier to read format and user profiles.
I've been trying to develop mass market solar devices for the last couple of years but can't find people to do some of the technical work needed even though for pay at market rates. From that, I believe a real need is for a way to connect those with ideas with those who have the expertise to make those ideas into real products.
The mass market solar devices I have in mind are solar bike lights, solar/dynamo generator for low voltage electricity, and a one window solar electric system for day to day and emergency uses.
All in all I think you have been doing an excellent job. It's refreshing to see a site proposing ideas about what CAN be done, not just what is wrong.
I'd like to see more in the way of projections and potentials though; perhaps something like a scenario based on what COULD happen vis a vis each contrib post? A full scenario for each would of course be prohibitive amounts of work, but maybe a vignette or a short start of a scenario as a seed for discussion.
You already do a fair amount of this; perhaps make it a structured part of each contribution you publish?
I want to start off by expressing my appreciation for this site. Im new to the internet, and it is nice to have a site about both the things that are wrong, and also the cool things that are happening all over the world.
I especially enjoy those entries that spark discussion. I constantly look back through the categories on the right (of the screen) to see which ones seem to have a lively debate going. I would enjoy this to be a stronger element to worldchanging. Also if there was a place for people to post descriptions/bios of themselves that way we all knew who was saying what, and what their experience with the topic was.
Lastly, Im not sure, but I feel like there are a lot of populations of society that dont seem to interact with the site, at least I havent seen them, in particular youth. It would really cool to interact with people from all different experiences (including age) through this site, (the bios would help with this.)
Thanks for the resource worldchanging provides.
Changing the world is tiring; I think all of us who read and participate in WorldChanging - including the bloggers here - feel it at times. Be it the attitudes of those around you, or the obstacles faced... it's not easy.
For me, WorldChanging has given me something brighter to look at. It's actually a highlght of my day, showcasing the interesting, amazing and heartening things that happen on this planet. It's a beacon in the darkness - where someone else's way of solving a problem in one part of the world can be applied to a completely different problem elsewhere.
WorldChanging is an inspiration. When the chips are down, and I'm dead tired, I come here and see what others are doing and have done. It's a wonderful thing.
I don't know exactly how to improve things here - there is always room for improvement; it's what most (if not all of us) strive for. But I will ask that in whatever changes are done, please do not lose that inspiration that I look for. And I would not think for a second that I am the only one who feels this way.
Great job, everyone involved. Please keep it up. :)
I't found your sight for the first time over an hour ago. I love it. To see such a big pile of honesty, foresight and solution based ideas is such a good thing.
I have this to add. It's from my favorite astrologer, Rob Brezny.
pronoia - the opposite of paranoia...i.e. the sneaking suspicion that the universe is conspiring to shower you with blessings and rowdy joy.
Love the site. Been lurking around since the start.
It is a little frustrating to see "gee golly this looks neat but who knows really" type posts. Having a heads up on what's coming is great, but I am living today. Right now is the best time and place to make change.
I'd like to see more nitty gritty practical stuff we can do right now. More on how to take steps to integrate what techniques and technologies are already possible and available into our daily lives. Someone has to go first. I'd like to hear about people's experiences in moving towards sustainability, in changing their personal world in positive directions, in adapting their thinking and lifestyles to the new environment. Basically help in filling the mysterious gap between desire and action with advice from those who have had the experience. This may be beyond the scope of this particular site, I dunno.
The ability to meet, communicate and liase with people interested in this stuff would also be cool.
I am pretty new to this site-- but WOW what a difference context makes. I never really wanted my internet to be a shouting match between equally sinister cynics (no matter what side they're on). Hard to find anything but that, though.
The positive perspective of Worldchanging is one of the greatest strengths.
Well that and all of the posts seem to be well thought out and of a good length. Bravo!
If I could suggest any improvements-- it would maybe be just taking the next step--which is ??? Maybe a companion site that is a little more messageboard based for some collaborate work and more detailed examination of issues raised.
I don't know what the stats for the current site look like-- but just based on comments, I'm really getting a very warm and strong feeling on the community barometer.
Worldchanging came from off my radar to become my new home on the web in a matter of weeks. Keep it up! Boost the impact!
Here's a simple one -- how about highlights from comments. I'm one of those who has been following the Trees and Green Futurism debate, and you're right, it's compelling, and people might not be finding it. Pull-quotes from comments?
Here's an old-fashioned proposal in the era of the blog, too...email subscriptions. Maybe just digests? Call me a 90s guy, but the words "email" "killer" and "app" still want to roll off my tongue.
Glossary/Reference guide: Pull really fundamental posts out into a static reference on these issues that people can turn to. It could be a glossary of terms/concepts, or, to seize on an earlier post about the need for practical/actionable items, it could be a "how to" guide for people who want to make changes in their own lives, or otherwise get engaged with sustainability. With everybody posting here working on their own book (;-)), can't we come together for a collaborative reference as broad in focus as this site is?
General idea: I really like the notion above about connecting the ideas people floating around sites like this with the engineers and entrepreneurs who execute on the ideas. How about a "Marketplace" section where these connections could happen? Message boards, links to companies/organizations doing good work, tips on funding/recruiting/volunteering/job-seeking/conferences whatever. Besides the utility to people like gmoke above, consider all the people who find idea hubs like this encouraging, enlightening and inspiring, but wouldn't have the first idea of how to make them a part of their everyday, bread-on-the-table lives.
Please do keep this site moving forward! The chance to fulfill one's potential, indeed. And if you ever need help executing your next ideas, call on your readers, I for one would be happy to help!
I've been tremendously happy to see a 'blog from not-so-wide-eyed not-so-futurist futurists.
I also like the idea of 'knowing it for the first time,' even if you already know it. You're doing that little bumpersticker-sized nugget of philoskophy a disservice by attaching it only to the environmental section of your site. After all, that's kind of the whole point of the site: To look at what's here, hopefully in a new light. To know it again for the first time.
Stay cool, and stay positive.
We love your site so much it is the featured newsfeed on our page. We feel the positive, foreward thinking that goes into researching and developing your stories is exactly the kind of new media that needs to be propagated right now. I think your site has been able to provide such a high quality of information because you focus directly on the content your editors believe to be relevant to how the world is changing right now.
I believe our common goal of embracing the solutions is a driving force in allowing a new thrivable model to emerge.
Please check out our website at http://www.imaginify.org
Keep the faith,
I am somewhat new to this site, but I'd like to second billy and jesse black's ideas.
People everywhere need to be aware of what's going on in the world, both good and bad. But they also need to know things that they can do in their own lives to change the world. It can be a very daunting struggle; directly linking successful dogooders in the clouds to struggling dogooders here on earth might improve matters greatly. Profiles and community forums (perhaps borrowing some methods from sites such as idealist.org and even, hey, dating sites) sound like great ways to do this.
Also, I personally find the layout less readable than it could be. So many articles are shown in full, and then the recent entries and links are so small--plus creative titles (with no explanations underneath) make it hard to understand what they're about. Since the small text is unclear and there's so much big text, it requires a lot of scrolling, and unlike a newspaper you can't glance over the whole thing to find a headline that really catches your eye, cause you can only see a certain amount at a time. (Some sites that have a layout that I find easier are http://www.onion.com and http://www.newyorker.com.) Without a doubt, it's basically readable, but not quite as welcoming for me at least.
I think WorldChanging should have an associated Wiki, so that more in-depth knowledge and resources can be gathered in a more stable format than news-and-discussion.
Also, I think a database of people using WorldChanging, their areas of interest and expertise, and some way of contacting people would be really useful - the ability to say "I need twenty minutes of input from somebody who really knows something about South American Farming" and then find somebody who has that expertise would be really amazingly handy - a networking/exchange component. Often we can waste days trying to find out something that an expert in the field can answer off the top of their head, and a creative resource pool could speed all of our projects up immensely.
Other stuff off the top of my head... http://thinkcycle.org/ is a great resource, although it seems to lack either critical mass or an easy entry-point or something... I'm supposed to be coordinating their outreach efforts, and I'm making a lousy job of it (walking pneumonia most of a year will do that for you) but it's a great shot in that direction.
Oh, one other thing. Interviews. I think it would be **really** great to copy the SlashDot interview style - tell everybody on the blog you're going to be interviewing somebody, collect good questions, then conduct the interview by email. I think that would be a great regular feature.
Can't think of anything else right now, keep up the good work folks!
A very useful and inspiring work you are doing!
Mmmm, maybe an archive by categories? And I would like to read more innovations about governance and democracy/human rights... For instance, Latin America is debating a lot now about women and sexual minorities rights... Rio Grande do Sud (Brazil) and Buenos Aires have passes civil unions laws, and Mexico have changed in many ways to to have gender quotas at all the elections now, but these news from the South are non existent on the blog. I hope you can look at other emerging issues too.
I support the idea about an space about the readers of Worldchanging too.
Felicidades a todos!
Somewhere there should be a dashboard for Spaceship Earth. People have been talking about it for decades but I haven't seen a good one yet.
I want something to read the way that the jet stream maps and world moisture maps read. Something I can check daily and maybe customize to my own uses. What's the ozone hole like today or the rainforest or the ocean? How many wars and insurrections and where this week? Any famines, floods, storms of major notice?
World changing should work with Recyclopedia more. The ideas are very related, and those guys need the publicity if the project is going to work.
For those that don't know, recyclopedia is a kind of "field guide" to ecological living, activism, etc.
I've been cheking out your site for a few week now and i must say that your doing great work.
The thing i like best is its cleaness, try not to make a pizza site out of it.
The thing i'd like to see added is something like an evolving plan of the world we could build given all the innovations -material or organisationnnal- that are posted here. It could take the form of a virtual village that could be "visited" trough an imagemap...
Anyway don't try to add too much directly in here or at the same time it would kill the dynamic of the actual site.
gmoke: "Somewhere there should be a dashboard for Spaceship Earth."
maybe something between a customizable 'dataface' like econmagic and a visual monitoring system like macroknow?
as for a wiki, maybe check out united diversity's?
i dunno :D
Thanks, everyone, for all the support and a great set of suggestions!
Anything else we ought to be thinking about? Other readers who have something to add?
I wish you guys had email updates so I don't have to remember to check the site to know what's new.
Jane, you should consider using RSS software (sometimes called a "newsreader"), which would let you subscribe to newsfeeds from many different sources, including WorldChanging. There's a good list of your options here:
Based on my examination of WorldChanging site logs, it appears that a majority of our readers do so through RSS software.