Skip navigation
Share via:


Online, ongoing global brainstorm on local, practical solutions being implemented now and adaptable to different conditions around the world



100% success for all of humanity, from bare minimum (refugee camp) to bare maximum (holiday camping). Start with the poorest of the poor, providing them with zero emissions local production - food, energy, money, information and communication, health... within ecological design principles.  Open source, maker culture, collective intelligence using all media to build livable neighborhoods and villages the way social media was used to oppose Middle Eastern dictators.  Power directly to the people.  Global co-creation, a Lynux operating system for Spaceship Earth.


Operating Assumptions

1.  Emissions need to peak before 2015
"For example, to stabilize at between 445 and 490ppm [CO2e] (resulting in an estimate global temperature 2 to 2.4oC above the pre-industrial average) emissions would need to peak before 2015, with 50 to 85% reductions on 2000 levels by 2050.[37]"

^ "Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of Climate Change, Summary for Policymakers" (PDF). Working Group III, IPCC. 2007-05-04. pp. Table SPM.5, page 23. Archived from the original on 2007-05-18. Retrieved 2007-05-10.

CO2 is around 392.6 ppm now, add another 80 ppm for the other anthropogenic greenhouse gases (methane, nitrous oxides, CFCs, et alia) and we are around 480 ppm of CO2 equivalent, CO2e, now. (Incidentally, why don't we talk about CO2e rather than CO2 or tons of carbon or any other measure?  This seems to me to be the single most understandable measurement.) 

2.  Peak oil happened in 2006
The November 2010 World Energy Outlook of the IEA:
Crude oil output reaches an undulating plateau of around 68-69 mb/d by 2020, but never regains its all time peak of 70 mb/d reached in 2006, while production of natural gas liquids (NGLs) and unconventional oil grows strongly.
3.  Two of the five Forbes' richest people in the world evidently perceive CO2 reduction as a threat to their interests.
[] Solar IS Civil Defense
Since we have already geoengineered the planet and at least a 2ºC temperature rise is pretty much ensured, let's get ready.  That is why we should start from a disaster preparedness perspective with Solar IS Civil Defense ( - an LED flashlight, radio, cell phone, and extra set of batteries, the basic electrical devices we are advised to have on hand in case of emergency, can be powered by a few square inches of solar panel.  Add a hand crank or bicycle powered generator and you have a reliable source of survival electricity, day or night, by sunlight or muscle power.  This is also entry level power for the 1.5 billion or so people who don't yet have access to reliable electrical sources.   You could even couple local civil defense here with local development there.
It avoids the whole argument about the theory of climate change and serves a useful purpose whenever an emergency or a disaster strikes.  Climate change is moot. (
If we start from a bare minimum - disaster preparedness, refugee camps and emergency housing - we will be more nearly ready for whatever comes our way.  We can also use that as the bare minimum standard of living around the world and build from there. 
I consider this triage preparation for the inevitable emergencies and disasters ahead.  If we do it well, it can become the basis for a more resilient and less consumptive way of life.
That's the first step and the first focus of the online global brainstorm, which is already ongoing as in this Movement Camp conference on November 14, 2010
( and the fact that all of these proposals in the current Climate CoLab contest advocate open source/crowdsource mechanisms to speed response to climate change, at least as I read them.  It seems we each have different parts of the puzzle and should consider collaborating whatever the outcome of the contest:
International level
Internalize Economy in Earth Ecosystem by vishal
Open Source Information Age Economyby tedschulman
Intellectual Property Exchange,2009 ©.by boris-lagutin
Systems of Collective Intelligence by dsweeney
Platform for mutual development to reduce resource consumption by haller
Fix the system - get a global 'circular economy'by blindspotter
Environmental Balance Index: ecosystem internalized money. So collective aspiration to procure, prosper and evolve economyby taras.bebeshko
National level
Passion Leverage by pljom
Throw these ideas open to the world to add to.  Open source coding for living a green life from the ground up, where everyone who wants to can be a local producer, at least enough for most of their own needs.  As the ethicist Milt Raymond used to say, "For the betterment of all who will allow the benefit of all."  Let's barnraise our own future.
Climbing the learning curve
Crisis camps
When Haitian earthquake happened, there were crisis camps ( ) set up in response all around the world.  Pecha-kuchas ( ), short design talks using only 20 slides with only 20 seconds allowed for each slide, devoted to helping Haiti occurred on one night in cities on almost every continent.  Resources were brought to bear in an ad hoc way that are currently being institutionalized.  It seemed to me that people had begun to learn from the experience of the Asian tsunami, New Orleans and Katrina, and now Haiti how to respond in a way that is more effective.  I think the same kind of thing could happen with the long emergency of climate, especially if it were focused on building security and developing a better standard of living.
Maker culture - hardware hacking and community invention
When the Fukushima reactors started burning, an ad hoc group assembled to start a citizens' monitoring network (, Safecast which now works in conjunction with Keio University.  This came out of a new maker culture where people are actively hacking hardware as well as software.  Tokyo Hackerspace was involved in beginning Safecast.  This response will continue and probably grow in the near future.  It is already activated for monitoring and data collection.
Amy Smith and the Design Lab at MIT, among many others, are also fostering an international network of community invention through the International Design Development Summit.
The next step up from emergency/disaster, survival and refugee camp bare minimum is backpacking and camping as a sport.  This is already a path that some products are taking like this waterproof backpack bed which was originally designed for the homeless (
From a solar civil defense, we can move to Personal Power Production:  Solar from Civil Defense to Swadeshi (
Swadeshi is a concept from Gandhian economics.  It means "local production" and fits neatly within ecological design principles.  A very basic introduction is at Gandhian economics (  We will have to expand and extend some of Gandhi's to fit the 21st century.  Gandhi was thinking in terms of rural villages but we also have to think in terms of urban neighborhoods and different scales:  individual, family, group, camp, neighborhood, district, region....
The way social media was used in Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, and other countries might be used to amplify the message of emergency preparedness through solar energy and local production (swadeshi).  My ambition is to see the encampments we saw in Barcelona and Tahrir Square become examples of zero emissions campgrounds ( with training on green jobs through weatherization and solar barnraisings.  Cambridge, MA has been doing monthly weatherization barnraisings ( since the summer of 2008. Since then, at least 20 other nearby and distant communities ( have begun their own weatherization parties. Still other groups are doing solar barnraisings in at least four states, that I know of:
Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative ( in NH
Seacoast Area Renewable Energy Initiative ( in the Piscataqua region on Maine and NH
Coop Power ( in Western MA
Grid Alternatives ( in CA


HEET has a guidebook that any interested group can use to start their own barnraisings:

During the last energy crisis in the 1970s, there were groups that did solar barnraisings too. Some of those solar devices are still working (  This is public education through demonstration and a positive protest against business as usual (BAU).


Following in the footsteps of Khan Academy, all I know about simple solar is online I've produced a number of solar PSAs and videos:

Others have done the same thing.  Distribute and disseminate the best of them to all those who can use the information.  The solar bottle lamp for daylighting has migrated from one town in Brazil to over 10,000 homes and businesses in the Philippines

Also see USA national plan How to Change US Energy In One Growing Season for an approach at grassroots public education.


[]  Zero Emissions Within Ecological Design Principles

All activities in and out of the GNP should strive for zero emissions as a goal as DuPont does with zero emissions, zero defects, zero injuries as a goal.   Ecological systems design based on zero emissions, 100% recycling, mass balance and throughput analysis high exergetic efficiencies in energy and resource use, complex cogeneration and systems design for zero waste.  General principles which can be adapted and will have to be adapted to local conditions.  Bioregional, biome, and ecotope scales and systems. 
Sidestepping the impasse: zero emissions to ecological design 

2009 Energy Use in the USA was about 100 quadrillion btu nearly 58% of which was "rejected energy," waste heat, primarily, and other forms of energy which did not useful work (  Thomas Casten of Recycled Energy believes we can recapture a great deal of that waste for a "Zero Cost Solution to Energy and Climate Change" (  


Ecological design 

Basic ecological design principles of architect William McDonough:

waste equals food

use only available solar income

respect diversity

love all the children

John Todd, one of the founders of New Alchemy Institute, winner of the first Buckminster Fuller Challenge, an ecological designer and teacher focusing on biological remediation and waste treatment, has twelve fundamental principles of ecological design:

•  Geological and mineral diversity must be present to evolve the biological responsiveness of rich soils.
•  Nutrient reservoirs are essential to keep such essentials as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium available for the plants.
•  Steep gradients between subcomponents must be engineered into the system to enable the biological elements to evolve rapidly to assist in the breakdown of toxic materials.
•  High rates of exchange must be created by maximizing surface areas that house the bacteria that determine the metabolism of the system and facilitate treatment.
• Periodic and random pulsed exchanges improve performance.  Just as random perturbations foster resilience in nature, in living technologies altering water flow creates self-organization in the system.
•  Cellular design is the structural model as it is in nature where cells are the organizing unit.  Expansion of the system should also use a cellular model, as in increasing the number of tanks.
•  A law of the minimum must be incorporated.  At least three ecosystems such as a marsh, a pond, and a terrestrial area are needed to perform the assigned function and maintain overall stability.
• Microbial communities must be introduced periodically from the natural world to maintain diversity and facilitate evolutionary processes.
•  Photosynthetic foundations are essential as oxygen-producing plants foster ecosystems that require less energy, aeration, and chemical management.
•  Phylogenetic diversity must be encouraged as a range of aquatic animals from the unicellular to snails to fish are as essential to the evolution and self-maintenance of the system as the plants.
•  Sequenced and repeated seedings are part of maintenance as a self-contained system cannot be isolated but must be interlinked through gaseous, nutrient, mineral, and biological pathways to the external environment.
•  Ecological design should reflect the macrocosmos in the microcosmos, representing the natural world miniaturized and reflecting its proportions, as in terrestrial to oceanic and aquatic areas.
from A Safe and Sustainable World:  The Promise of Ecological Design by Nancy Jack Todd
Washington:  Island Press, 2005
ISBN 1-55963-778-1

"You can fix all the world's problems in a garden" - permaculture as a local and bioregional growth and remediation strategy:

Conference to Build Our Northeast Food System - rebuilding local and regional agriculture and economic systems


Urban ecological Systems (The shareable future of cities  With green infrastructure, cities today capture rainwater, runoff, and waste liquids, filter, clean them to grow urban street trees.  We can design urban permacultures for food, fiber, and materials production (


[]  Ecological and Bioregional Atmospheric Remediation
All activities in and out of the GNP should strive for zero emissions as a goal but even zero emissions is not enough.  We need to do remediation of the atmosphere as well.  That remediation should, as much as possible, be done through ecological systems, be bioremediation, geoengineering with instead of against ecological design principles.  Do we really want to make the sky white with sulfur injections or block out the moon and the stars with solar mirrors and sun shields instead?
The winners of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge point the way to ecological systems design for bioregional mitigation that should be more seriously considered at geoengineering options.  
John Todd's Buckminster Fuller 2008 Challenge winning proposal to rehabilitate coal ravaged lands and replace coal mining with wind and biomass production: 
Alan Savory's 2010 winning proposal reversing desertification of the world’s savannas and grasslands:
Blue Venture's work with local communities to conserve threatened marine environments:
Fast(er) Fixes

source and

Black Carbon 

More than 50% of the accelerated global warming in the Arctic is due to Black Carbon but it only stays in the atmosphere a few weeks

Replace all three stone cooking with more efficient systems with ancillary health and time benefits 

Concentrate in areas near glaciers to reduce local warming effect of black carbon on snow and ice


Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves:

List of improved cook stoves:

Robert Lange ( ) is working in Tanzania with the Maasai developing a more efficient cookstove and building solar LED lighting systems.  He has field tested his design and Tanzanian women have started a factory building parts.  Other people are installing and repairing stoves on the local level as well as installing solar LED lighting systems.


Methane is at least 72 times more potent than C02 over a 20 year period but takes only 12 years to cycle out of atmosphere.

It can be addressed through agriculture, stoves, biogas and methane management.  Cows, feedlots versus grass (with additional health and taste advantages)  Alan Savory's work has direct relevance here.

Constructive Programme - latrines - Gandhian economics once again

ionization to take out of atmosphere?  Methane management is important especially in the possibility of large natural releases due to increased warming in the polar regions.

Towards Zero Emissions:  The Methane Cycle

Methane Cycle:  Climate Change
Methane cycle: gas production and gas release


Methane and N02 help to create ground level ozone contributes to smog and is resident in the atmosphere for a few days.

smog - mass transit, zero emissions culture and practice

The great advantage and opportunity is that these forces all cycle out of the atmosphere quickly and can slow global warming just as quickly to buy us the time necessary to reduce C02 long-term.

"We need a short term and a long term solution.  The long term is cutting back on C02 emissions.   The short term is rapid reduction of Black Carbon, Methane and Ground Level Ozone."

Livestock production is a significant contribution to all of the short term climate forces.   

Individuals and/or organizations that played a key role in developing this proposal and their respective contributions.

Global scale systems simulations:

Global scale vision, infographics, & animations::,-Infographics-Animations


Examples of possible repositories for open source resources



Open Source Ecology


Coalition of the Willing

Global System for Sustainable Development

"MiiU is a collection of all the resources and places that make personal, family, and community resilience possible. Resilience isn't only about surviving global failures, it's about building a better life for you and everyone around you."

ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability

Solar Cooking Archive -


Vision of the future under this proposal


Careful but intensive agriculture
in the great alluvial valleys,
deserts left wild for those
who would live there by skill. 

Computer technicians who run
the plant part of the year
and walk
along with the Elk
in their migrations
during the rest.
Gary Snyder, "Four Changes"  1969
In 1988 I visited China.
One evening, I walked out of the White Crane Hotel
on Shamian Island and crossed the bridge
into the city of Guangzhou.
There was a line of men
standing behind small folding tables
in closed shop doorways.

Coming closer, I saw that they were
rebuilding and reselling
plastic "disposable" lighters.

I want a solar rechargeable reading light
just as cheap, adaptable, and readily available
as a disposable cigarette lighter.

We need to make it possible
for every child around the world
to read in bed
and dream.