- Countryside in Crisis?
- The Energy Water Food Stress Nexus
- Unsustainable Fishing
- Keeping pace with a digital revolution
- Global health in the 21st Century
- Adapting to an urban future
- Educating for tomorrow
- Digital technology in Africa
- Persistent poverty in Britain
- Can the UK ever be sustainable?
- Plastic pollution in the oceans
- Natural disasters: how to improve?
- Not In My Back Yard
- Digital Divide in the UK?
- Importing goods, exporting drought?
- Britain’s ageing population
- Engineering our climate
- The future shape of Capitalism
- Migration: skills and the job market
- Razing the Rainforest
- London under water
- Concreting the countryside
- Future of low carbon energy
- Africa in the 21st Century
- Tim Brown »
- Professor Kevin Noone »
- Jeremy Bentham »
- Panel Discussion and Q&A »
- Infographics: How much fish do we all eat? »
Alex Steffen - Founder of WorldChanging.com
ALEX STEFFEN is cofounder and executive editor of WorldChanging.com. Part blog and part eco-activist street team, WorldChanging.com serves as a clearinghouse of information and inspiration dedicated to increasing sustainability and livability into the 21st century, emphasizing solutions over problems.
Steffen was an environmental journalist in Seattle when he realized that the tools and methods for improving society's ecological profile by and large already exist -- they just need better PR. Steffen and friend Jamais Cascio co-founded WorldChanging.com to provide that PR, linking to and posting stories by dozens of contributors around the world on everything from consumer activism and sustainable farming to alternative energy and green building projects, to technology, globalization, and human rights. World Changing, a sprawling 600-page collection of content from the website combined with new material, was published in 2006 to wide acclaim. Since then, cities across the globe have been exposed to new ideas for a more sustainable existence; in early 2010, following a series of talks by Steffen, Seattle adopted the official goal of transforming itself into the first carbon-neutral city by 2030.
Introduction - What is the focus of WorldChanging.com?
"WorldChanging is a website that does solutions-based journalism about the planets most pressing problems."
Can western society ever be sustainable?
"We know there are several pathways that we can follow that can lead us towards a more sustainable definition of prosperity. These include clean energy, green buildings and green transport. But there are also parts of our economy that we really don't have any working solutions for yet like our food production and manufacturing. We really need to rethink."
What challenges do we face if developing countries adopt the same model of consumption as the west?
"There is absolutley a spread of a developed world model of prosperity to the developing world, which in itself is not a bad thing. We want everyone to have prosperity, happiness, social stability and growing economies."
"What really is the challenge is that is developing countries pursue the model the developing countries have pursued, we will find ourselves in an even less tenable situation on a planetary scale."
"Already the prosperity that people in Europe enjoy is delivered in means that used several times a fair share of the resources and biological capacities that the world has to offer. In US and Australia this is even worse than that."
How can people be encouraged to lead more sustainable lives?
"The challenge of trying to help people live more sustainable lives is a profound one. Mostly this is because most of the things people are capable of doing quickly and easily within their own immediate private spheres of influence are not actually very effective."
How are we affected by being so disconected from the process of creating the things that we consume?
"I think it is almost part of the definition of the problem with modernity and sustainability that we are disconnected from the sources of things and the actual labour that went into them. In fact it's been a major part of advertising to simply gloss over or distract us from the origin of things"
"The 20th century was about the story of things, a narrative of buying a specific product. I think a big part of the 21st century is going to be about the backstory of the things in our lives, where the materials come from, how it was manufactured, how it got to us etc. This is currently not a subject many companies are eager to engage with."