Thursday, October 2, 2008
As some of you may remember, The Idea Village was Planning for Good’s first client. One of the ideas coming out of that experience was engaging national corporations and organizations in driving innovation to New Orleans. The Idea Village is now proud to report that Worldwide Partners and two teams Google employees have joined them to help launch this competition.
Check out this YouTube video for more info and please help spread the word:
Don’t forget The Idea Village mantra: “Trust Your Crazy Ideas.”
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
After speaking with a friend and hearing her definition of volunteering, I thought about writing this post: to know your opinions. Chatting we realized that our associations with the word "volunteering", were quite different.
In the past I volunteered in Italy and in Ireland, to help and assist children. What really surprised me, in both cases, was the atmosphere. People living with other people, and sharing everything. Children were helping us (me and other volunteers) to think differently about life, adopting a different perspective. We were there to give them back their hopes.
Sharing (as well as helping) aspect of this attitude is completely eclipsed behind what seems to be just an economic issue. "Volunteers are people who are not paid for working", said my friend - expressing a common thought. If that is the normal assumption (in Italy I'm quite sure it is), social volunteering has a high obstacle to overcome, starting from its name.
What about your countries? Is there a name to indicate who helps other people just for the sake of it? Can you translate it in english? If not, may we find one?
They are "activists", but activism is probably a too aggressive concept... and not the most important one.
"Helpers" would sound better... but we loose the sharing side...
I'm thinking about firefighters ... for their generosity... social volunteering is probably fighting the bad fate...
Monday, June 2, 2008
Fitness may be a matter of attractiveness.
WiiFit is a great game/tool because through it incentive (gaming pleasure) takes over sacrifice (workout)
Nothing new, it's something similar to flavoured cough syrup for children.
Simple, effective, helpful.
"An incentive is a bullet, a lever, a key: an often tiny object with astonishing power to change a situation" (Levitt & Debner, Freakonomics)
We are planning for good, so I spen some time thinking of a different, often weaker target: older people.
For them attractiveness is no more an issue, video gaming is not a pleasure, but phisical exercise is a vital need. A good incentive might work on the emotional link with their grandchildren.
What about digitally recording (something like Nike+Ipod) the phisical exercise of theese people and link their performance with prizes?
No digital stuff? We can set up a more familiar dynamics: loyalty scheme through club card points
- Selection of itineraries (parks or pedestrian areas)
- Exercise tracking through coupons validation -start/check points/arrival marks
- Itineraries completion give you points for the club card
Prizes: free cinema tickets (Cartoons), free entrances to leisure parks, zoos...
Incentive and sacrifice, does it make sense?
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Edison, an italian energy company, launched a program called “
Producing and listening music means energy usage, therefore usually an heavy impact on the environment.
Edison - Change the Music is thought to inform artists, producers, fans, and all the rest of the world about music related energy saving.
The first step is represented by sustainable concerts.
There’s a Green Music Book , on the making, with suggestions from the community, like:
- Daylight concerts to avoid use of artificial lights
- Reserved (and nearer) parking areas for car pooling
- Planning concerts near train stations, metro, bus station or other easy reachable areas
(If you have some interesting suggestion to share I’ll do my best to translate and add them to the list)
Here is their MySpace page with a contest for new bands and musicians.
(thanks to Davide)
Friday, March 14, 2008
A group of influential green professionals are pushing for activism to go viral.
Keeping themselves deliberately incognito and going by the name of "The Alarmists" they are proposing to make some serious noise about Global Warming. Not just at one event, but at 11 am on the 11th of every month for one minute.
They say, "This is a state of global emergency. According to the IPCC, we must cut emissions within eight years, to avoid catastrophic global warming. There is nowhere near enough action yet to make that happen. We need to set off the world's alarms. Join in. It could be the alarm on your phone, in your home, in your car. You could gather some friends to make some noise. Organise a flash mob. Schedule a company fire drill. Borrow a vintage air raid siren... Be creative. Raise the alarm."
Check it out here: www.alarmism.org
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
I am thinking of ways PFG should be doing something on this and welcome suggestions.
It is much worse than we thought (MUCH worse)
Yesterday I saw the end of the world.
More specifically at Tomrrow's Company I saw a repeat of this presentation (originally given to a cross party working group on climate change in the UK parliament), plus a presentation by a Cambridge professor of theoretical physics on 2006/07 data on the arctic sheet, where exactly this sort of first and second order feedback and acceleration are now starting to be seen. In scientific terms this is paradigm-shifting new knowledge discovery work of the first order. If it wasnt so terrifying it would almost be exciting. If you read one thing on the environment this year, I would recommend you read this report.
The result in the case of the arctic is that ice melting has reached a level which the linear models behind IPCC, Stern Report and so on didnt predict until the 2080s.
The potential result for the planet overall is a catastrophe beyond anything that's been considered so far; a potential mass extinction event which would take out according to the speakers "5/6 of the world's biota".
the non-linear effects are basically the acceleration which comes about when a set of processes have a tendency to reinforce themselves individually (first order) or each other (second order). A couple of examples:
- as atmospheric CO2 increases the sea gets hotter which means it absorbs less CO2, which increases atmospheric CO2 which leads to further heating
- as permofrost in Siberia melts it releases trapped methane, which is one of the most powerful greenhouse gases, which leads to further heating... (apparently this was observed this year, to the extent of huge "flumes" of escaping methane)
There are many positive feedback loops (acceleration) and no known naturally occuring major negative ones (damping). It still needs us forcing it along at this stage though. If it was just a one off event like a supervolcano eruption, radiation from a hotter atmosphere would cool the world down.
Think of it as like us pushing at a tree trunk which we have also been whittling away at - at some point the thing is simply going to fall over whether you keep pushing and whittling or not. That is the critical threshhold talked about in this paper. I studied the physics of non linear change at college, so I find it quite intuitive and easy to take on board, you might need to read this paper a couple of times although maybe not? - I think it does a masterful job.
This is not a new fringe theory. It is seen as the new central thrust of climate change science. It is the main thing which Al Gore now talks about. But it is new news compared to all the models driving current policy.
The important chart is the last one.
Think of our learning process in recent years as a sliding scale of worse and worse worst cases:
1. the loss of biodiversity, continuing the process of people ruining nature by chopping it down, desertifying it etc.
2. a shift in average temperature affecting global agriculture, especially in the hard to feed poor regions with rapid population growth such as sub saharan africa; a continuation of the 1980s recognition of humanitarian disaster
3. a shift in average temperature producing extremes of weather, a rate of Hurricane Katrina style global disasters which could bankrupt the global economy within 60 years according to one source
4. a raised sea level due to melting greenland icesheet, peak oil, cities and infrastructure in meltdown, a global emergency and significant social, economic and ecological collapse
5. global pandemics hit an environmentally stressed and overpopulated world (this is what is driving many amphibian species to extinction and a new theory says may be what actually did for the dinosaurs)
6. world war three fought over water; eg drought struck China invades Russia for Siberian water
7. non-linear effects, the critical threshold point, a potential new hot planet steady state, mass extinction
The difference between 1-6 and 7 is the recovery time. It jumps from a few thousand years, to NEVER.
There is a view that the disasters in 1-6 are actually going to be the negative feedback systems needed to stop all of this at the brink. A catastrophic collapse in human societies would stop the global forcing of climate change. But firstly we dont even know that's true (if it's enough at this stage). And secondly to go into those scenarios 1-6. knowingly would be an act of inhumanity unprecedented in the history of the most evil dictators and religious wars.
The implications for action are the same only more so. The Kyoto scenario takes us straight over the edge, because it was based on climate change models that took no account of feedback and acceleration. The survival pathway in these new models requires not just slamming on the brakes, but driving into reverse to back away from an oncoming threat.
I know many reading this will want to assume its not true, that there must be a catch. If it's that bad already, why was it possible to go around our daily routines as usual today? Why doesnt it LOOK like the end of days? Well if you watch the news, it is starting to look a bit like it. If it rained frogs in London tomorrow due to some freak weather event, would you really be as surprised as you should be?
One further point to bear in mind which I hadnt realised until yesterday although its pretty obvious when you think about it is that there is a 40-50 year lag between warming events and the planet actually getting hotter. It takes a long time to heat up oceans and landmasses. The global instability in weather and so on we are experiencing now is only the result of emissions and events in the 1950s-70s. Its clearly already extreme and has proved catastrophic in places, but everything has already accelerated greatly since that point and actually in terms of changes we are heading into under the business as usual scenario, this is actually very mild change.
The implications for culture are immense. This is THE apocalypse. Actually its even worse than that, in the apocalypse there is some sort of continuity of human culture in an afterlife, even if via a great battle etc. etc. This is ERADICATION - a 'we might as well never have existed' event. Legacy is all we have as any hedge against mortality, individually and collectively.
There have been times when individual civilisations have faced eradication and the destruction of their entire system of meaning, of any notion of legacy. It's a fate worse than individual or collective death, the prospect of discontinuity. The end. And faced with this prospect there have been some remarkble returns from the brink, for instance the Roman Empire in the 3rd Century (under Dioclitian/Constantine). Human societies do have an extraordinary ability to respond to catastrophic emergency. One speaker yesterday compared it to the ability of a shoal to respond in unison to threats.
I'm now working on a the beginnings of a scheme to help people 'get' on a mass scale what I heard yesterday. We dont have another decade for this to sink in. It's the only response I can think of where I can personally do something constructive beyond my current activities. Updates to follow when it's properly thought through. If anyone wants to help do drop me a line.
If you want to get the full briefing on all this there is a collection of papers prepared as a briefing for the Bali conference which you can order here
Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings. My own view is that I'd rather know now than find out later when i could have done more. In fact I am slightly peeved that politicians have known all this for 7 months before we got to see this.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
The revelation comes days after the country's second-biggest paper company, Nippon Paper Group, admitted it had made similarly false claims.
In one case Oji Paper said the amount of recycled paper in its copy and printing paper was as high as 50% when the real figure was between 5% and 10%.
The firm's envelopes contained, at most, 30% of recycled paper, although consumers had been led to believe it was as high as 70%. Some products contained no recycled material at all.
"We had let the ratio of recycled paper fall amid rising shipments while the amount of recycled paper did not grow," Oji Paper's president, Kazuhisa Shinoda, told reporters in Tokyo."
The Guardian- http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/jan/18/greenbusiness.recycling
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Italy has been the sources of some really clever advertising meant to promote global warming awareness.
Copy reads: Global warming is bringing us closer to a catastrophe of biblical proportions. Let’s make sure history doesn’t repeat itself.
Advertised brand: Global warming Effects
Advert title: Ark Instructions
Advertising Agency: Unbranded Communication, Milan, Italy
Creative Director: Gianluca Ghezzi
Art Director: Manuela Valtolina
Copywriter: Elia Canteri
Illustrator: Manuela Valtolina
Thursday, January 10, 2008