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Worldchanging Canada Update

Here's a look back over 2007 as it looked through the eyes of Worldchanging Canada. Amidst many reports of vehicles becoming more efficient, ZENN cars, the Canadian electric car maker, became a cause célébre, and, after much fuss, are being allowed to sell their cars in Canada, with B.C. being the first province to approve them. The two major Canadian airlines made it easy to pay for your carbon offsets with your flight, and we told you about a company that was going carbon negative, a trend to watch in the year to come. We also told you about ways to neutralize your own CO2 emissions. The skate and bike way along the Rideau canal was declared a UN World Heritage Site (although for reasons having nothing to do with person-powered commuting!).

Social networking graphic A group of interested citizens got together, barcamp style, in Toronto, to think together about what more Open Cities might look like. We also told you about a conference in Montréal looking at sustainable Blueprints for Change.

We talked to Lester Brown on the importance of the media to social change. When the World Green Building Council moved its head office to Toronto, we talked to its Chair, Kevin Hydes, about shrinking Canada's energy usage. We talked to Peter Merholz on early blogging, electronic communities, and social activism, and Maggie Fox on the cutting edge of social networking.

We later told you about online networking tools you can use to network with other social entrepreneurs. We introduced you to some of the surprising ways that co-ops are being used as business models. greengascap.jpg We profiled a green delivery service that runs fuel-efficient trucks on biofuels, and charts the most fuel-efficient routes using GPS's. We looked in on a project to design open source sustainable hardware (REBEARTH™), where designers, engineers, and marketers can be rewarded for their contribution when the product goes to market.

verticalfarm.jpg And we highlighted emerging technologies with far-reaching potential. We covered designs for zero-net-energy vertical farms which could feed all of Canada locally from urban skyscrapers. We examined a commercial process called agrichar which replicates the terra preta "super soil" of the Amazon basin, offering a credible substitute for petroleum-based fertilizers.

These are only some of the great stories and ideas we brought you in the last year. Consider this an invitation to browse through our pieces from 2007.

It's also an invitation to look forward to the many great stories we'll cover in 2008. Some will be on familiar themes: bright green technologies, innovative organizations, social entrepreneurship, mass collaboration, democratization. Some will be breaking news, and some will be reports from the field. Some will be on new themes, that we're only just defining, or that will emerge out of the fabric of events as they unfold in 2008. Some, by definition, will be completely unpredictable. Not all of them will be on Canadian subjects, but they'll bring a uniquely Canadian perspective. And all will have that Worldchanging spirit: bright, bold, new ideas, models, and technologies that are already changing the world. Resources for all of us. As always, thanks for reading, and thanks for doing the things that you are already doing to make the world a brighter, greener place.

From all of us here at Worldchanging Canada, Jon Booren, Jason Diceman, Simon Donner, Rod Edwards, Jordy Gold, Sonia Mendes, Garry Peterson, Michael Pilling, Karl Schroeder, Peter ter Weeme, and Mark Tovey, a terrific 2008!

Front page photo credit: Copyright © 2007 Nicolas Raymond
Inside image 1: ZENN Motor Company
Inside Image 2: Jason Diceman
Inside Image 3: Sonia Mendes
Inside image 4: Vertical Farm Project

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