First, give five minutes of your time to listen to Martin Hiller (above), who is Director General of the Austrian organisation Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP).
At the World Sustainable Development Summit in Delhi in February 2013, Martin Miller talked about two new information-flow developments in the field of green energy and green economy:
1) Open Government Data
A global movement for getting governments to open up their data according to the general principle: ‘What has been produced with public money should be available to the public’. It is a way of encouraging governments to voluntary engage in a global, digital development for the greater good, and over 50 governments have signed up til now.
In an environmental perspective this could be relevant for you. For instance, if you live in Victoria in Australia, you’s want to check the Victorian Government Data Directory’s data on the environment.
“It’s about people empowering themselves to be better able to make decisions about their own lives based on information that wasn’t available before”
Ton Zijlstra, advisor to the Dutch government
2) The Clean Energy Portal
reegle.info is allegedly the biggest portal for facts and figures in databases on clean/green energy, allowing hyper-linking from within databases and in-between the databases world-wide. Run by Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership, the portal provides “content-rich information from thousands of trusted sources and making sense of it all with clear, concise presentation.” All datasets are available for re-use by others. The portal draws more than 220,000 visitors per month.
But where is the green info ‘killer app’?
Information about carbon emissions and solutions to the problem is a topic which, in my opinion, need some very serious, extra attention. Here is why:
In the two weeks which have passed since I started this blog, I have been searching high and low for that crucial, global ‘meeting point’ and knowledge-base which would introduce me to all the important, good ideas which can enable each and everyone of us to lower our carbon-emissions.
So far, I have found two types of sites.
On one hand, the very, very serious and scientific, technical kind of database-sites, among which are those two mentioned above on this page – as well as a few more which I listed on my initial post about this topic, information and knowledge sharing.
On the other hand, I have come across a whole myriad of websites which, just like my own little blog here, are compiled by individuals or NGOs in a specific country, and which highlight a certain, but somehow random, number of good ideas or good links.
NOWHERE, however, have I found a global, unifying resource, created for ordinary people, users like you and me, which makes things easily understandable and accessible, and which has ALL the information in ONE place.
Organisations like WWF and the United Nations have done a lot in the field, and run some very engaging platforms and initiatives, for sure — but they have NOT (yet) managed to create that ‘Killer App’ or ‘Booster Rocket’ Platform which the world so badly needs when it comes to communicating the best and most qualified information and innovation that will enable us to tackle the problems.
Where is that powerful and popular ‘Facebook’ or the ‘Google Search’ of the global climate crisis?
With so many hundred of thousands of smart, young IT-developers out there, why haven’t anyone of them bothered, yet anyway, to start developing that global ‘Killer-App’ which will be able to attract all of us into the ‘game’ of being carbon-conscious?
As a comment to Martin Hiller’s conference speech: Yes, there certainly is a great need for freeing up the information flow. In the quest to solve our global challenges concerning climate change and finding ways to quickly reduce carbon emissions, we need to step up now, collectively. We need to stop holding back the information flow because of copyright concerns. Move into the field of ‘Open Source’ and ‘Creative Commons’.
But the problem of our time is really not “information”. Rather, the problem is “information-overflow”. We don’t really need that global “river” of green information. We need one single, smart and central surveillance platform which can keep us in the loop with what is important, and what is currently topping the ‘charts’ of great innovation in the field.
SOS! Humanity and the planet needs it. Badly – and quickly!
IT-developers, Google-staff, Facebook-staff, Apple-staff… and all of you out there who have revolutionised our digital lives in the last decade. Where are you, now that the entire planet needs you to act and come up with the right tool?