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What's Next: L. Hunter Lovins
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Development as if the World Mattered*

The world desperately needs a new model of development. Most of the world’s people are stuck in poverty, and all major ecosystems are in decline. Spending more money, however, will not by itself solve the problems. The answer must include fundamentally rethinking international development so that it implements world best practice in sustainable development technologies in ways that promote the creation of locally controlled, viable businesses.

But unless there are changes in how development money is spent, and how development is done, merely increasing aid will not decrease poverty. Around the world, aid money creates perverse versions of a welfare society, benefiting big western contractors and foreign NGO’s. When the money runs out and westerners leave, the people are often in greater poverty. Each “crisis du jour? repeats the process – money pours in to help afflicted people, but winds up in the pockets of developing country contractors.

Real development starts its business planning from the bottom up. It asks how much does a farmer have to spend? Will a product increase an urban dweller’s income? Natural Capitalism and a growing array of other books prove how this can be done in ways that build local capacity, businesses and jobs.

In India, SELCO is delivering solar electricity without subsidies to poor families. In China “Eco-machines? of living plants are cleaning the water in polluted canals, while creating habitat and beautiful community parkways. SEKEM, in Egypt, is using private enterprise to lift thousands of people out of poverty, deliver quality organic food, and now, create a University.

Sustainability practices like efficient and renewable energy supplies, green building technologies, efficient water treatment systems, and sustainable approaches to providing food and health care do better to meet development needs than last century’s technologies offered by the western consulting firms development agencies typically hire.

Our tax dollars fund the current system of “development done wrong.? We deserve better, and the rest of the world desperately needs it.

L. Hunter Lovins, Time Magazine’s 2000 Hero for the Planet, and author of Natural Capitalism, has recently co-authored LASER, Local Action for Economic Renewal, available for free at She works in such countries as Afghanistan, where she is an advisor to the Energy Minister.

*A full paper by this title can be downloaded here.


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Sensitizing and awareness is one job!

providing practical ways! starting work in another!
what need is more money in promote! GREEN investments!
can we started such initiatives!would world changing start some acutal work!

NGO community is already sensitized and work on grants, but if they want to start working based on
soft loans and start running sustainable enterprises!

We can start with a list of credible interested grassroot NGOs start off! unless regular money is diverted! we are going no where main stream!

Posted by: krishna kumar on 31 Dec 06

I tend to agree that the current system is broken. Furthermore, you are looking in the right direction when questioning whether the current money-based model is really working when it comes to development in the South.

In my view, the next step is to fully recognize that the South has unrecognized or underappreciated levels of skill sets and aboriginal knowledge to offer. We need a workable alternative that does this effectively without the need for financing from the North and its associated risk of greed at all levels of administration.

In response, I am in the middle of refining a new grass roots movement called !dea Soup that replaces the entire IMF/World Bank backed philanthropic model with one based upon shared risks for shared benefits at the local level. Most critically, it will involve all stakeholders in a fair and empowering manner.

Posted by: Tom Kruer on 2 Jan 07

I have patented a chip which absorbs background heat while producing electricity. A feasibility testing prototype showed promise. Other people should conduct similar tests and more appropriate prototypes should be fabricated. If it works, individual appliances like small self fueled stoves, freestanding and quiet refrigerators, wireless light panels, truly portable cell phones could smoothly accumulate anywhere. Re: U.S. Patent 3890161


Charles M. Brown

Posted by: Charles M. Brown on 10 Jan 07



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