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Help Design the Worldchanging Tour!

So, after a little delay, all can be told: Worldchanging is hitting the road.

We are going to be launching a North American tour in conjunction with the release of our book, Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century this November and December.

But this is book tour 2.0. Instead of doing a conventional book tour -- author flies into town, does as many interviews as possible, reads from the same passage from the book at a couple different bookstores, flies on to the next city -- we wanted to make the tour itself an avenue for finding and spotlighting and connecting worldchangers and worldchanging things.

In each city we visit, we'll be hosting a big fun event for worldchanging people, where we will share twenty of the coolest worldchanging tools we wrote about in the book and showcase twenty local organizations, networks or institutions that are doing worldchanging work.

We will also be blogging live from the road, talking to the people involved, doing site visits and lab visits and generally giving you the news from the ground. Finally, we'll be helping to create tools for people to use to stay connected after we're gone.

We want to create, in each city, a unique opportunity for expression of how the community is innovating and planning and acting to build a bright green future. We also hope the events themselves will be a blast: lots of smart people from different fields and communities and disciplines and backgrounds, coming together to celebrate a shared belief in making change happen. We're working on securing a number of really cool venues, lining up some tour sponsors to help us be good hosts, and talking with friends and allies who know how to make smart and fun work together.

Here are the cities on our list, as it stands now:
New York
San Francisco
Los Angeles
Washington DC
Vancouver, BC
Portland, OR

And we need your help! Specific calls for volunteers will be going out for each of the cities we're visiting over the next couple weeks. If you have the time and inclination to help create what we hope will be a set of zeitgeist-bending events, we'd love to hear from you.

We need people to help with the events themselves (and we're still hiring an event planner if you or someone you know is in Seattle and would be a good fit).

We need your suggestions about what local groups do you think deserve the attention philanthropy of being spotlighted? Who does good work?

We need your help getting good folks there. We're looking for not just a big crowd, but a worldchanging crowd: people who have interesting thoughts, a lot of energy, passionate ideals, innovative answers, or some combination of all of those. We want to bring them together, and we want to introduce them to each other, and we would love you help spreading the word to the people you know.

And more than anything, we would really, really love your endorsement. The folks who read this blog are amazing people. You have influence and audiences. We desperately want to spread the kind of solutions we write about here and in the book. You can help by writing about us on your blogs, emailing your friends links, asking your local bookstore if they're planning to carry the book, talking us up in class or in staff meetings, recommending us to your book club, and generally helping us get the word out every way we can.

We are a tiny nonprofit, with a very large network of friends. It's time to introduce them to one another, and to another world of ideas. We hope you'll help us do that.

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I think you should include Pittsburgh on your list, it has undergone a green transformation, even the convention center is green - see for more details. World Changing like minded organizations would include: the Green Building Alliance (GBA), Carnegie Mellon’s Intelligent Workplace, the Construction Junction and many others.

Posted by: Thom Worlledge on 22 Aug 06

The people you ought to talk to in Chicago is Foresight Design ( Peter and his team run Chicago Green Drinks and lots of other green/sustainability initiatives.

Posted by: greg e on 22 Aug 06

And if you are looking for groups that need "attention philanthropy" then I suggest the workers in the Chicago Couriers Union, a project of the Municipal Transportation Workers Industrial Union 540 of the IWW. They have been organizing in the bike messenger industry in Chicago for several years and are currently working on a campaign to rid the city of a corrupt "pay to work" scheme called the "National Independent Contractors Association". Contact info: and at

Posted by: greg e (again) on 22 Aug 06

Thanks for getting a listing of cities posted. Now I will hopefully find some time or client work in one of those cities during the tour.

Posted by: Chad Weinman on 22 Aug 06

You guys should come to St. Louis. We have tons of LEED buildings going up and already certified and a strong chapter of the US Green Building Council, among other things. Would love to see you come through.


Vihar Sheth

Posted by: Vihar Sheth on 22 Aug 06

The WorldChanging tour seems like a great idea...I hope it will be a success.

However, what I would like to know is, how do you plan to get around on this tour? Will it be the most environmentally-friendly way possible?

Posted by: Ben Miller on 22 Aug 06

Well, if you are going to be in Minneapolis you might as well come to Winnipeg.

How large of a group do you want to come out for your events?

Winnipeg Groups that might take an interest in your event may include but not limited to:

Posted by: Dale on 22 Aug 06

For the Denver stop i suggest you talk to they're a big brewery about an hour north that makes some very well known beers (such as fat tire), and they run the whole operation off of wind power and promote alternative transport.

Posted by: Andrew on 22 Aug 06

well, i have to say your city list disappoints me. it looks as though you have decided to go to big places where the green vibe is already high in at least some part of the community (i.e. "preach to the choir"), rather than step out of the box and see what would happen in places with less pre-awareness or pre-existing support networks for Worldchangers. And I see you have completely ignored the Southeast. What, nothing Worldchanging is happening in NOLA, Atlanta, Miami, Carolina?

I suppose the purpose of a book tour is always primarily to sell books, so I suppose I can't completely fault your logic, but if your goals do really include networking worldchanging-type folks that aren't ALREADY networked and don't ALREADY have access to tools and information, then perhaps some re-thinking of that list might be in order. Or at least, development of a "round-two" list: "places to go back to once we've made some money."

Posted by: kat on 22 Aug 06

Wonderful idea for your book launch -- we're taking notes on how you are rolling this out! Ecotrust in Portland, Oregon, could be a great venue for your pass through Portland. We're in the throws of celebrating the 5th anniversary of the first LEED gold restored building in the country (the Natural Capital Center) and the Portland Center Stage is about to throw open its doors on the first platinum restoration in the country. Please let us know how we can help!

Posted by: Lauren Johnson on 22 Aug 06

I second Kat's comments. Why are you guys neglecting Houston, home to the world's largest energy companies and four million people? Houston may not have the greenest reputation, but the fact that so many "environmentalists" and their organizations consistently write this city off is a huge part of the problem.

I lived and worked in Houston last year as REI's community outreach specialist and I know lots of people, more than enough to fill a lecture hall, trying hard to green Houston in spite of the condescending disdain their city receives from the holy blue states. I still have a few dozen contacts down there and would be pleased to pass them along to you- Houstonians are hospitable and hard-working, and they'll show you a good time.

Throw 'em a bone, will you? Houston - the entire American south, for that matter - is too big and too powerful for the environmental movement to ignore.

Posted by: Cneal on 22 Aug 06

I would love to help you guys out in NYC. I run a small neighborhood environmental organization on the Upper East Side - called Upper Green Side. I know most of the folks involved in environmental issues around the city. Just let me know how I can help you.

Posted by: Glenn on 22 Aug 06

May I suggest a European stop? Though we may be a little out of the way, there are communities ready for your nourishment. Thanks, and all the best!

Posted by: Joshua on 22 Aug 06

Not that radical, but you might want to consider checking out Energy Consensus (hosted right now, in part of its work, at This is a group that is trying to foster an interagency / interorganizational discussion re energy issues in DC to try to foster change toward a sustainable energy environment.

Work in the group, for example, helped foster a recent request from the US Marine Corps in Iraq for deployment of renewable energy systems (solar / wind) to reduce fossil fuel requirements and, similarly, a forthcoming request for proposals from the Army to test renewable energy systems in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

If desired, would likely be able to foster your speaking to the group (either in a group meeting or, depending on timing, to a larger audience).

Posted by: Adam on 22 Aug 06

I agree with Kat and Cneal you can't just go the cool hip cities. You should come to Cincinnati. Cincinnati is the opposite of being green, Cincinnati is Which means you have the potential to make the biggest impact here.

Posted by: jim moore on 22 Aug 06

How about visiting - in real life - some of the places that are included in your book's photographs. Small towns and large.

Grand Rapids, Michigan has 32 LEED rated buildings - more per capita than anywhere else in the US. Here's the top ten LEED building list (as of September 2005) as recently reported by the USGBC's Government Committee.

1 Seattle 58

2 Portland 56

3 Chicago 44

4 Los Angeles 36

5 Grand Rapids 32

6 San Francisco 27

7 Washington 27

8 Pittsburgh 24

9 Houston 23

10 Atlanta 23

West Michigan sustainable companies include office furniture giants Herman Miller and Steelcase. Activists include corporate leaders, the Grand Rapids Mayor, and the Sustainable Business Forum a volunteer business group that's an offshoot of the West Michigan Environmental Action Council.

It's an example of cities small and large that are working to positivley change our world.

Posted by: Trisha Spaulding on 23 Aug 06

Whohoo! Toronto. The only problem there is that I might no longer be living here by then. :-( Oh well, I'll make sure that I advertise your visit here however I can, although my connections aren't that deep.

Posted by: CleverGirl on 23 Aug 06

P.S. I know some of your authors etc. are from Toronto, I wonder if you've approached Pages Books & Magazines? They run this GREAT series called This is Not a Reading Series (TINARS) which would be a great way to get recognition in TO, IMHO.

Posted by: CleverGirl on 23 Aug 06

Please consider visiting NOLA. It's ripe for reinvention and the current power vaccum provides an opportunity to field new and innovative ideas. The green community here is tight and eager to support new avenues for applying ideas. Besides, what other city in the country faces the challenges and possibilities that New Orleans does this year? Not to mention the good time you would all have...

Posted by: Amy Clipp on 23 Aug 06

Look forward to seeing you all in the Twin Cities. Drop me an email if you have any questions or need some help.

Posted by: Joseph Willemssen on 23 Aug 06

And here's another for the Twin Cities.

Posted by: Stephen A. Fuqua on 24 Aug 06

Please make contact with live|work in New York. That is me in New York at the moment if you would like to hear about our vision for service innovation and green growth. And to see the work in domestic energy consumption we are pioneering in Sweden and the UK.

We are connected with Sputnik Inc here, cultural trend analysts, who are responsible for inflencing business behaviour at a level beyond us. With 600+ archived interviews they have been tracking worldchaning issues for circa 8 years and influencing business. Also possibly a good connection for you.

Both are 'connectors' in the city.

And if you want to influence the marketing and innovation industry I can connect you to a number of key people or agencies and possibly pull together a round table.

I hope you will engage with those who need informing, influencing and empowering as well as those already working to make social/environmental changes. And by that I mean, target the people who aren't doing worldchanging stuff yet.

Let me know if/what I can do anything from New York.


Posted by: Tamara Giltsoff on 25 Aug 06

I realise you can't go everywhere, but I thought I'd propose a city in eastern Canada: Halifax. I do not live there, but I'm sure many readers do...and I know that those of us in the Maritimes are used to traveling to attend a worthwhile event....and this definitly qualifies.

Regardless of your tour's path, I look forward to more great articles. Thanks for all that you've done.

Posted by: Hazel on 30 Aug 06

The Gaia Institute would be honored to help out for the New York World Changing Tour event(s).

We are a 501(c)3 ecological engineering and restoration organization working on restoring and ecological re-engineering of natural systems to protect and enhance environmental quality.

An intrinsic goal of the Gaia Institute is to work beyond the worthy aim of minimizing environmental damage and harm. We choose to explore - through research and development, design and construction - how human activities and waste products can be treated to increase environmental quality, biodiversity, ecological productivity, and economic well being.

Our recent projects have included constructing a stormwater capture parkland in El Jardin del Paraiso community garden on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and installing a native meadow Green Roof using ultra-light weight, highly water-retentive GaiaSoil for Green Roofs on St. Simon Stock Elementary School in The Bronx.

The Gaia Institute has also been exteremely involved in many Bronx River Watershed Restoration projects including a Green Corridor at Lafayette Avenue/Edgewater Road, a Green Wall at Hugo Neu Metals Recycling Facility, and Salt Marsh Keystone Species Research.

Please contact dan.simon -at- to get us involved.

Posted by: Daniel B Simon on 30 Aug 06


I've been following your blog since early 2005. I'm always recommending it as my antidepressant of choice.

Here are some suggestions for organisations/projects to feature in Toronto

OSEA - Ontario Sustainable Energy Association - A non profit group set up to help communities organise their own sustainable energy projects to take advantage of the province of Ontario's progressive policies on community organised sustainable energy.

Food Share - This long running Toronto organisation has many programs that seek to improve the food environment for Toronto citizens. They organise food baskets, kitchen incubators for fledgling caterers, local markets for new immigrants, community gardens,

UT Centre for Environment - This recently formed Centre at the University of Toronto was set up to be a hub of environment oriented research at the University. It seeks to bring to together a broad range of disciplines that would otherwise not be communicating with each other. It acknowledges the importance of interdisciplinary communication in the development of a sustainable future. They organise the Natural City, an annual conference on sustainable urbanism.

Spacing Magazine - This is a volunteer run magazine devoted to addressing public space issues in Toronto. Over the past two years they have led a wave of public interest in civic issues to the point where local corporate media is taking notice and issues of public space have become regular features in the city papers.

Toronto Public Space Committee - This is the activist group that operates in tandem with Spacing magazine.

Ann Clark - Is the only professor of organic farming in Canada. She teaches at the University of Guelph. I saw her speak at the Natural City conference earlier this year. She had some fascinating anecdotes about the many grassroots farming solutions she has encountered in her research. It was quite inspiring.

Active 18 - This group was formed as response to unchecked gentrification in the west end neighbourhood of Parkdale. It is a citizens group that has successfully opened up the real estate development process to the local residents of the community.

Bruce Mau is based in Toronto. His people put together the Massive Change exhibit and book. It was a good overview of the power of design to change the world. The exhibit was ambitious and had some great features. However the book was actually the stronger production (IMHO) -more relevant information in a more accessible package. His institute without Boundaries has a very interesting cross disciplinary mandate. He is an international design "personality" whom some folk worship and others consider pompous. He would be a definitely draw for the general public.

The Province of Ontario Growth Plan - the province has an ambitious plan to curb the suburban sprawl, maintain key tracts of greenspace and farmland. I know it sounds kind of dull but in fact the presentation at Natural City this year by Jason Thorn who works for the Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure Renewal was really dense and informative. It certainly felt like a worldchanging paradigm being invoked at a high level of political power.

District Six Music - is a fair trade record label based in Toronto. It is a very youthful organisation with musical development projects in South Africa. They are connected to the thriving local DIY hip hop scene.

As for accomodations and event venue I'd recommend the Gladstone Hotel. It's a recently renovated Victorian Hotel and the management is extremely artist/activist friendly. They currently are hosting a series of local/organic food events - dinners and tastings - etc.

The Gladstone could also work as a venue. It is an amazing event space. A beautifully restored old Ballroom and exhibition rooms upstairs. I don't work for them - in case you are wondering - I did help organize a giant zine fair there two years in a row and the management was very professional and easy to deal with.

These are the suggestions I can make off the top of my head. Let me know if you would like more suggestions or help finding contact information for the above.

I'd love to help out but I'm moving out west to Vancouver in a matter of weeks.

all the best


Posted by: Marc Ngui on 1 Sep 06



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