Welcome

Southern Innovator - - FRONT PAGE - Cos­mas Gitta Editor-in-chief South­ern In­no­va­tor www.south­ernin­no­va­tor.org

to the fifth is­sue of South­ern In­no­va­tor (SI) mag­a­zine. Our fourth is­sue, on the theme of cities and ur­ban­iza­tion, was launched in Oc­to­ber 2013 at the Global South-south De­vel­op­ment Expo in Nairobi, Kenya. It was a joy to meet so many in­no­va­tors at the Expo, hear their sto­ries and re­ceive feed­back on the mag­a­zine.

This fifth is­sue tack­les the dilemma of how to con­tinue to im­prove hu­man de­vel­op­ment on a planet head­ing for a pop­u­la­tion of more than 9 bil­lion by 2050 and with a fi­nite quan­tity of phys­i­cal re­sources. To achieve this, a rad­i­cal new per­spec­tive is re­quired; one that val­ues all re­sources and sees ways to turn waste into wealth and to trans­form the way that things are made.

One so­lu­tion gain­ing more ad­vo­cates is the “cra­dle-to-cra­dle” phi­los­o­phy. It goes be­yond the “re­duce, re­use and re­cy­cle” ap­proach, in­stead call­ing for a revo­lu­tion in how goods are made. It seeks to elim­i­nate all waste in the life cy­cle of a prod­uct and to erad­i­cate for­ever the idea that items can just be thrown away when they are used up, only to then pol­lute the planet with toxic waste.

Another dis­cov­ery made while re­search­ing this is­sue is that it is pos­si­ble to meet all the world’s energy needs us­ing clean tech­nolo­gies and re­new­able re­sources. Tap­ping the geo­ther­mal re­sources bub­bling and hiss­ing un­der the ground could sup­ply vast amounts of energy. One eco-city in China is get­ting 20 per cent of its energy from re­new­able sources and is us­ing so­lar pan­els stretch­ing 6 kilo­me­tres as a power source, along with wind tur­bines and ground heat energy. In short, energy does not have to be dirty and poi­son­ing.

One of the vex­ing is­sues in cre­at­ing a sus­tain­able, new green econ­omy is how to make it eco­nom­i­cally vi­able. Many try and fail, give up, and go back to do­ing things the con­ven­tional way. But, as the in­no­va­tors in this is­sue show, it is pos­si­ble to suc­ceed by do­ing things dif­fer­ently, be­ing per­sis­tent and plac­ing good de­sign at the cen­tre of green so­lu­tions.

Buck­min­ster Fuller, the twen­ti­eth-cen­tury fu­tur­ist, ar­chi­tect, engi­neer and in­ven­tor, who be­lieved in rad­i­cal change through a de­sign revo­lu­tion, once said: “You never change things by fight­ing the ex­ist­ing re­al­ity. To change some­thing, build a new model that makes the ex­ist­ing model ob­so­lete.” And this is what the in­no­va­tors fea­tured in this is­sue are do­ing.

In each is­sue of South­ern In­no­va­tor, you will find con­tact in­for­ma­tion for fur­ther fol­low-up. We have at­tempted to pro­vide the most cur­rent in­for­ma­tion, but given the quick pace of change in the global South, this is not al­ways pos­si­ble. We apol­o­gize in ad­vance for any out-of-date in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing In­ter­net links. We hope that this mag­a­zine makes a use­ful con­tri­bu­tion to your work and helps to in­spire all to act!

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