Since the most robust strategies for addressing a problem as complex as nitrogen pollution can not be developed by Packard alone, the Foundation has launched a public forum for collaboration. Everyone with an interest in reducing nitrogen pollution is invited to join and work together to create effective strategies for addressing this pressing problem.While foundations can lack transparency when choosing issues to support, this project brings together academics, non-profits, practitioners and the general public to find the most promising ways around the nitrogen problem. Walt Reid, Packard's Conservation and Science Program Director, tapped Worldchangers Jamais Cascio and Chris Coldeway to "garden" the wiki and recruit participants.
We will make the full product of this Wiki site available to the Foundation’s Trustees at its June Board meeting and the staff will use the product of the site in developing a recommended strategy for the Trustees to consider. We are documenting this process and will prepare a review of the experience and recommendations that could inform similar efforts in the future.Wikis are gaining popularity in the philanthropic sector, but in other endeavors the crowd is already large and the wisdom plentiful. As a recent Nature article describes, we're starting to see 'key biology databases go wiki' in order to add new research as it becomes available, making the resource richer for all. As the model gains acceptance, it may be only a matter of time before wikis start popping up in research areas where the transfer of ideas is most often accomplished through journals, a process that is anything but expeditious.
Great idea. It looks as if we're just beginning to see the potential for collaboration via the web. Feedback:
1. The emphasis is on nitrogen pollution. Phosphorus pollution is a similar problem, perhaps with some similar solutions.
2. A related aspect of the problem is the probability that fertilizers will become more expensive, as energy becomes more expensive, N being produced by the energy -intensive Haber-Bosch process.
3. Phosphorus has the additional problem that supplies are limited. Several sources say that mined phosphorous will "run out" in a few decades. An unpublished article maintains that we are close to "Peak Phosophorus," and that as a result production will be declining and costs will increase.
4. Some of the links don't seem to work. For example, the link to "wiki" at the end of the first paragraph, brings up this URL in my Firefox browser:
I'm eager to see more on the subject.