Well, color me hopeful. In James Governor’s post, IBM Joins
Obama’s Coalition for a Smart Planet: Change!,
on exactly the right problems- the problems that Obama has also pledged to
make his own.”
As James mentions in his comparison, one priority we’re working
on is finding a solution for the lack of clean water for a fifth of the world’s
population. In the debate around this blog’s first post, the point is made:
"the economic structures do not exist in these regions to build the
necessary infrastructure making clean water delivery possible.”
But consider the Play Pump.
A handful of folks install a merry-go-round in sub-Saharan African countries. Kids spin this around as they play — which
apparently takes very little training — and energy from their play pumps water from the ground
for their community. The pump offers space
for advertising, which pays for the setup. It’s not complex. It’s not
technical. It’s just smart.
A friend who sits a few cubicles away from me at work, Matt
Berry, recently returned from a Corporate Service Corps trip to
where he spent a month helping install stairmaster-type machines that pump
water for the village. I’m assuming the
kids weren’t aware there was an option for playground equipment. See photo below from his trip. Matt is the guy on the far right. (more on his blog, registration required).
For sure, solving the problems Governor mentions like getting clean drinking water to those who need it will require the world’s top thinkers. Sharon Nunes is trying to figure out how to provide enough clean water
to support the nine billion people who will inhabit our planet by the year
2050. She’s studying systems in nature,
like the mechanisms the ocean uses today to cleanse itself of pollutants, and applying that knowledge to learn how we might remove heavy metals or
contaminants from water systems. I won’t
be able to bring much to the table on that one.
But a PhD, economic structures, elaborate infrastructures or a trip to Africa are not required for me to be able to contribute to solving one of these tough problems. I can become part of the solution by contacting an organization like AmeriCares, UNICEF, Save the Children, etc. Heck, we can all do something like that.
Can’t we ?