The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the UN’s annual meeting on climate change, and the upcoming one in December, to be held in Paris, will be the 21st such meeting. After 20 years of these meetings, worldwide CO2 emissions have doubled. Enough already, said a group of smartypants. Instead of Conference of Parties, they propose a Proof of Concept (POC).
POC21 is a 5-week camp that will gather together inventors, designers, and makers working on open source products and solutions for “sustainability”–fossil-fuel free, low-resource, and zero-waste. Examples include projects for renewable energy sources and low-energy and resource-efficient housing, food, and mobility projects.
Open-source sustainability projects share the following attributes:
- they share freely the blueprints and information required to make them, improve them, and distribute them, allowing for maximum diffusion, replicability and adaptability to local needs.
- they are long-lasting, robust, modular, easy to repair, upgrade or dismantle, with less consumption of raw materials.
With open source blueprints shared freely on the web, and the growing accessibility of makerspaces and fabrication labs all over the world (aka distributed manufacturing), it is theoretically possible for ordinary people everywhere to build and modify these products.
POC21 is selecting 12 such projects with great promise, bringing together the inventors and makers of these projects so they can: learn from each other; integrate their projects with one another (think of the industrial ecology model, where the waste of one product becomes the raw materials of the next product); learn how to scale and promote their products; share their story and solution with the world; and generally rock.
Their adventures and process will be documented; the products will be presented in a format appealing to mainstream consumers (think IKEA catalogue); and all of this will be presented during the COP21 meeting in Paris as an alternative that gives us despairing citizens something to do, while our Neros fiddle.