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ivili.org - sharing eco solutions

Posted: June 15 2009

ivili.org pulls together short films on practical sustainable solutions, such as this one on growing your own:
here is the founder's statement:
One day early last year I came across a brilliant, innovative way of heating water for showers in a lodge in South Africa. it was cheap, lo-tech, easily replicable and it worked. But, after visiting 25 more countries, and nearly 150 more lodges, I never saw one again. Elsewhere, I had similar experiences, where people had clearly worked hard, expending time and money to develop a locally appropriate solution, and then got on with the million other things they had to do.
Likewise throughout my time at and after the Ecologist magazine, I have often found myself in conversations with people from NGOs where they would tell me about what they were doing, and I would reply 'Oh, like those people in the Andes (or wherever)' and yet they'd never have heard of the group doing something very similar to them. People working at the grassroots level put all their time and money and energy into what they are doing, and rarely have time to look around, and as a result may be unaware of similar projects happening two valleys along, in a neighbouring country, or on the other side of the world. And so they run the risk of wasting valuable time, energy and money reinventing the wheel.
It got me thinking - what if there was a way of sharing these environmentally friendly solutions, of helping one another across a global network, of learning from each other's mistakes and so on?
And so, on May 1st 2009, Ivili was born (it's a Xhosa word 'i vili', meaning the wheel). This site aims to be a network to put all these good people together. What i am trying to create is what might be described as a 'socially networked video magazine.' It aims to combine the immediacy of videoblogging, the archivability and browsability of a magazine with the reach and network capacity of a social network. And it aims to be of practical real use in the real world. By focussing on video rather than text, it surmounts the language barrier that limits sites focussing on text, as even if someone can't understand what is being said, they can watch the images.
The plan is for an evergrowing and easily searchable database of these video clips (like on youtube) profiling success stories from all over the world. These could be easily searched by anyone looking for a solution in their walk of life, and once they have seen the many suitable options, contact the developers, and customise and adapt it for themselves. Because it would be a global social network, they would have access to minds and experiences from all over the planet as well as contacting developers of the projects in videos they have watched, they could join groups focussing on their issues, or pose questions to the group for help solving. This ability to gather people around shared interests and aptitudes is the remarkable strength of social networks. Trouble is most of them are used to waste time, not save it.
Already, anyone with a simple video camera, or even a video camera on their phone, can upload short clips of projects they unearth or are involved in. The site can be developed to be accessible through a mobile phone, making it potentially easier for people in remote rural areas to access relevant videos without needing access to a computer / the internet. In Africa, for example, mobile phone coverage is spreading rapidly and cheaply. Internet and TV take up is far slower, mainly due to the cost of equipment and laying cables to remote and sparsely populated areas.
And it aims to be of practical use in the real world. This is not a way to waste time in your lunch break, but to find answers to your real world problems and then go back out and solve them. Of course, if you had the time, and knew where to look or were willing to search, you could find individual pieces of information elsewhere. There are also more technical sites out there (look in the links pages). Ivili aims to augment them, not to compete.
It aims to do this by gathering the most inspiring stories and most helpful advice into one place, and by collecting this information while at the same time gathering the people from all over the world who are developing and using it together, to provide a meeting place where you can harness your collective minds to help one another, and save everyone time, and energy.
After that, well it's up to everyone who joins. Tell us what we should do. What do you think? I really believe in this project, and hope, if you are patient over these early stages, so will you. There will undoubtedly be cock-ups and backward steps and changes in the middle of the night (and middle of the day), but I am a great believer in just starting and improving along the way, hopefully with yours and others help. Please explore the site, start asking and answering people's questions, and join in creating the site along with me. Join a group or two and leave a comment or three in the discussions.
Let me know what you think.
Thanks and welcome,
Jeremy Smith, Founder,


Films, Resources