How to contribute to Appropedia


Our partners, Engineers Without Borders Australia, put us in touch with RDIC, a development organization doing great work with water filters and other development projects in Cambodia.

They asked about contributing to Appropedia, and I responded… then realized that the response would apply to any such organization. So here it is:

Don’t worry too much about processes and protocols – please add what you like to Appropedia. [Note that they are a reputable organization, and was sure that “what you like” would not include irresponsible and unscientific content such as water powered cars or curing malaria by fasting.] I’ve made some notes for you, which you have the option of reading, if you find them helpful.

The main issues are:

  • Appropedia is solution-oriented, not activist or political. (Discussion of policy is fine, but we seek to be apolitical. Promotion the use of sustainable and appropriate solutions is fine, but the main focus is on the solutions themselves.)
  • Share anything as long as you are willing to let other people use it as they wish. We use an open license, allowing any use including commercial, without additional approval, as this is the most effective way to ensure the information is used.
  • Share about your information, but please share more: consider sharing designs, solutions that have worked for you, checklists that workers use in the field, project write-ups, how-tos, and/or successes as well as failures.  Don’t limit yourself – if it’s useful to you, it’s probably useful to someone in Thailand, and Uganda, and quite likely parts of Australia as well.
  • You don’t have to login, but it’s nicer if you do. Also, register your email under preferences,  and choose “E-mail me when my user talk page is changed” – this helps people get in touch with you. Connecting with like-minded people is a great benefit here.
  • There’s a format bar above the edit box – play with it, but don’t worry too much.
  • Errors are easily reverted – so be bold!

You asked how to start a new page – see Help:Creating a page for simple instructions.

Open Sustainability Network Camp


The days to OSNCamp are counting down. In full, it’s the first “Open Sustainability Network Camp,” October 18-19, happening in San Francisco and online. Here’s a bit of an explanation of what OSNCamp is about:

Why “Open Sustainability”? Because when we build our own resource banks and keep them closed, we limit our impact, our potential. “Open Sustainability” is about opening up our silos of knowledge, sharing and making links, for a better world. (This is a big topic – watch for future posts on this.)

And… what exactly do we mean by “Sustainability”? It’s a “just sustainability” – a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, living creatively and constructively with the ecosystems that sustain us.

What’s this “Network“? It’s a vision. You don’t have to be a member to come. It’s a new network that organizations committed to knowledge-sharing are joining, and this is the first gathering.

It’s not yet another program or site to commit to – we use existing resources within the network where possible (which is why Appropedia is being used as the wiki for this event).

It’s a… “Camp”? No, you don’t need to bring a tent. This is a BarCamp-style event: attendance is free, everyone is a participant (no spectators) and we decide the talks on the day. (Presentation ideas are welcomed beforehand of course.) You know how in all the conferences you’ve been to, the best parts have been over tea and coffee or in hallways, and the conversations between one talk and the next? We’ll have lots more of that, plus you get a say in what talks, forums and activities happen.

Now, being a BarCamp, there’s still a lot to do in the weeks leading up to the event. You, the participant, can play a part to ensure this is not just a great meeting with interesting people, but an awesome event where fantastic synergy and cooperation emerge: You can:

  • Volunteer
  • Work on the wiki pages.
  • Help setup OSNCamp Online.
  • Bring a switch and/or wireless bridge on Sunday, so that we’ll have better wifi access on the second day (and follow other such matters on the mailing list).
  • Sponsor the conference and the network – financially, or by promoting the event to your networks. (When you blog, please use the tag osncamp2008.)
  • Look around on the wiki – there are plenty more suggestions.
  • Do that thing that none of us have thought of yet.

A great bunch of people have already signed up (scroll down to the Attendee List to see them). Hope to see you there, or online!

What does “Peace One Day” mean to me? Today it means OSN


Last year in late September, I came across the Peace One Day campaign. I missed the day (September 21), but saved the link as an email to myself, thinking that the value in an annual “Peace” day is to remind us with some regularity, so that we do stuff other days of the year. My thought was that in a few weeks I would blog on it and tie it to whatever Appropedia (or LeapingStone, or Village Hope) stuff I was working on. That’s not random… My motivation for joining Appropedia was to do something that felt “real” toward improving lives, helping to bridge cultural gaps, and sustain the environment.

Well, today while trying to squeeze the inbox back down below 20 or so (almost manageable), I noticed the Peace One Day link at the bottom of the email. And it’s 3 days away. Well, the good news is that having that link hanging around was a good reminder all year. And so why not write a blog tying it to something I’m working on?

The biggest thing, and easiest to tie to Peace, is the Open Sustainability Network unconference, or OSNCamp. That’s coming on October 18-19 in San Francisco. It’s the first coming together of a large community of supportive people and organizations that are seeking to expand the impact of open sharing of solutions and collaborative problem solving in sustainability. (We at Appropedia include poverty reduction and international development in that picture.)

If you’re reading this post, maybe you think Peace One Day is a good idea. Maybe you think that openly sharing sustainable solutions can help. If so, why not come join us? There will be options for remote attendence, if travel is an issue, and the conference is free, except for your time. Is Peace One Day worth some of your time?