Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Future is Bright! The Future is Green: 20 ECOVATIONS

A very interesting article on the Guardian Newspaper website - "20 Big Green Ideas"

There are some very cool and exciting ideas listed in Lucy Siegels article and I included a couple of my favourites below:

8. The world community grid

In a nutshell: Your computer does ethical stuff in the background.

The clever bit: The considerable spare capacity of our home computers is used to make lighter work of some of humanity's most important calculations. The idea is simple: while you use a fraction of your machine's capacity to go about mundane stuff, IBM's World Community Grid runs calculations in the background pertaining to molecular mechanics in order to find the next generation of solar cells for Harvard University. Alone, it is estimated, it would take Harvard's department of chemistry and molecular biology computers some 22 years to do the necessary calculations for the Clean Energy Project, but using our spare computer capacity, researchers hope this can be reduced to a matter of two years. Already nearly half a million users have installed the simple software and signed up ( to perform calculations that their owners could never understand.

I love this next one, pure innovation, an power back in the hands of us, the public.

10. Carrotmobbing

In a nutshell: Don't boycott – procott instead.

The clever bit: "The problem is that businesses will do anything for money," says 27-year-old US environmentalist Brent Schulkin. "But what if that's also the solution?" In order to find out, Schulkin approached 23 liquor and grocery stores in his San Francisco neighbourhood and asked what percentage of a day's takings each was prepared to invest in energy-efficiency improvements in return for him organising a "mob" of shoppers to visit the store. The rather unprepossessing K&D Market won the bidding with 22%. Using the internet, Schulkin publicised the scheme, then nervously waited to see if any shoppers would turn up. They did. A huge K&D carrotmob spent about $9,000 in two hours, breathing life into the old corporate-social-responsibility adage that corporations with values can translate this into cold, hard cash. Schulkin appears to have hit on a form of activism that could have mass appeal. Ultimately he wants to create carrotmobs so big that they can negotiate with some of the globe's biggest corporations.

You can read the rest of the article here.