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Worldchanging's Search for Solutions
Alex Steffen, 15 Feb 06

At Worldchanging, we work every day to discover, share and celebrate new solutions. Our international team of authors scans the frontlines of environmental, humanitarian and social innovation – reporting from conferences and meetings, reading weblogs and academic journals, interviewing innovators and designers -- to bring you insight into the best new solutions for the world’s most pressing problems.

We’ve quite an amazing community of readers already. To reach an even wider audience, we are putting our ideas on the printed page, with a book designed by Stefan Sagmeister (who won this year’s National Design Award) and published by Harry N. Abrams in January, 2007. Worldchanging: A User’s Guide to the 21st Century will showcase the best solutions we’ve found in our first two years, with practical advice on how we all can make a difference.

We now face a challenge, though. Some of the best new worldchanging ideas are emerging in places where there are few journalists to find them. If we want a global conversation about the best ideas for tackling huge problems, we need to listen to more people.

By adding to our outstanding pool of contributors more of correspondents from the Global South, we can ensure that these solutions get the attention they deserve.

By launching new Worldchanging sites in (we hope) Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese (Swedish and Italian versions have been proposed as well), we can bridge the gap between regional conversations, add ideas missed by the English-language press to the global conversation and bring Worldchanging’s top-notch content to new audiences.

Finally, we are embarking on a unparalleled effort to find new ideas in the field, called “Around the Future in 80 days.” For 80 days, we will blanket the planet with great writers, seeking out innovation, touring villages, visiting workshops and testing innovations, interviewing with the most brilliant emerging minds out there, wherever they may be found. We will find the best new tools, models and ideas of which the world has yet to hear and tell the stories of the people making them.

In short, we're on a worldwide Search for Solutions and we want you to be part of it.

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Most people on the planet live in rural communities, many without internet access. Last night, rereading Small is Beautiful, Fritz Schumacher reminded me how important it is to create a middle way for technology to enhance rural development in the United States as well as abroad. Artisanal cottage industries allow many country folk to create a living, enhancing their own communities and contributing to their continued cultural development. The US has as deep a need for this recognition as anywhere else. I hope you will consider the essential nature of crafts, both in rural USA and in developing nations, as an essential piece of the puzzle. Artisan guilds and help creating viable business models, markets and tools can contribute to the vital role of artisan economies, everywhere.
Thank you for your incredibe work. It takes a village!

Posted by: Mary Anne Davis on 16 Feb 06

We've got four or five solutions that I keep plugging here: Potters for Peace Filtron water purifiers, wood gassification stoves etc. Proven, good studies from real scientists, MIT etc.

These are solutions. We've found them. Now what do we do? Publicise them? Find money to fund them? What's the next move?

Posted by: vinay on 16 Feb 06

do let us know about those international sites! french would be a great way to hear more from africa. i'm french and would love to give a hand with worldchanging this planet.

Posted by: mamato on 17 Feb 06

$150 K is a lot for what I'm seeing here. Could you substantiate it better?

Posted by: Taran on 17 Feb 06

Vinay, please provide links - we want them for our wiki so we may use them in globalvillages and other similar "projects".

I feel people at are starting to want them too. This could be come an industry of sorts, maybe.

I'm glad your hexayurt is in the public domain - so is !

Posted by: Lucas Gonzalez on 17 Feb 06

Vinay, more precisely, your ideas might go here: Thanks!

Posted by: Lucas Gonzalez on 17 Feb 06

please look at:

Choice. Partnership. Community. Those are the guiding principles behind Haiti Innovation, an NGO launched by four returned Peace Corps volunteers with a common interest in furthering Haiti’s development. Despite continued instability (Peace Corps withdrew its volunteers again in 2005), Haiti Innovation plans to fund and promote small, but promising, community-based projects in Haiti.

Today, there are a number of successful, community-based organizations working throughout Haiti. These organizations are often smaller and limited in the amount of fundraising they can accomplish due to a lack of resources. Haiti Innovation acts as a fundraising tool for these organizations, providing them with additional resources to help reach their funding goals. With Haiti Innovation, a relief organization providing HIV treatment in rural Haiti can be partnered with a community group in Cleveland, Ohio wanting to contribute to Haiti’s development. Haiti Innovation serves as the bridge that brings groups and organizations together, all with the common goal of providing a better future for Haiti.

Posted by: dan simon on 18 Feb 06

Lucas, that link has URLs. I'm looking over your wiki now.

Posted by: vinay on 18 Feb 06

All seems interseting, but surely $100k's enough to get you going & ethical banners could fund the rest? Interested in helping tho, good luck.

Posted by: okay-dokey on 20 Feb 06

You may be searching for solutions but you don't seem to post many on this site! I scour a half-dozen sites every day for "solutions" and I find fewer here than at some others. Perhaps you spend too much time on self-promotion?

Posted by: Timetrvlr on 20 Feb 06

Thank you for checking us out, Timetrvir, and I suspect that both sticking with us and checking back through the archives -- we have posted around 4,000 items in just over two years -- should satisfy your need for tools.

We do have more than the usual amount of material up about the WorldChanging organization, but as other readers could tell you, this is an unusual moment.

Posted by: Jamais Cascio on 21 Feb 06

You guys are doing great work, but would you please comment on this story: Is it real? They're claiming a revolutionary solar cell breakthrough...

Here's a few graphs:

In a scientific breakthrough that has stunned the world, a team of South African scientists has developed a revolutionary new, highly efficient solar power technology that will enable homes to obtain all their electricity from the sun.

This means high electricity bills and frequent power failures could soon be a thing of the past.

The unique South African-developed solar panels will make it possible for houses to become completely self-sufficient for energy supplies.

The panels are able to generate enough energy to run stoves, geysers, lights, TVs, fridges, computers - in short all the mod-cons of the modern house.

Posted by: Philip Shropshire on 24 Feb 06



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