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reconsidering the world around us

March 21, 2012

Here is some utopian and environmental reading to make us think.

Worldchanging is a ‘bright green’ collection of solutions to help us shape the best possible future for the earth and its inhabitants.  It brings awareness to issues like refugee aid, renewable energy and innovative solutions for improving building, transportation, communication and quality of life.  Worldchanging connects readers ready to change the world with the latest ideas on how to do it.  While the ideas on Worldchanging are often technological in focus, the blog also looks at the way societies work and breaks down and repackages ideas about education, economics, social capital and the arts.  Nothing is taken for granted as ‘just the way things are,’ every aspect of daily life is challanged in an attempt to locate a better future for us and our planet.

Another blog that can make us stop and take a new look at the world around us is BLDGblog – an online home for ‘architectural conjecture, urban speculation, and landscape futures’.  With a tighter focus than Worldchanging, this blog is mostly urban in focus, but looks at the secrets of the cities we live in, how we shelter and what changes to our environment we make in the process.  If you like architecture, or like thinking about the way the world might look in the future, you will love BLDGblog.  Both Worldchanging and BLDGblog now have accompanying books that would make the most stimulated and thought provoking coffee table reading.  If these blogs look interesting to you, you might also like the writing of Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs and Steel and Alan Wiseman’s The World Without Us

For a hit of mid 20th century utopian nostalgia, you might want to check out a precursor to today’s tech-fix environmental blogs like Worldchanging and the BLDG blog.  The Whole Earth Catalogue was a compendium of innovative ideas and different ways of thinking about our relationship with our environment that are still relevant today – the magazine explored different kinds of shelters, land uses, and new technologies.  It’s appeal was broad ranging as the ideas collected in it appealed to geeks, families, and countercultural dreamers.  A great website about the history of the Whole Earth Catalogue and its relationship to the the surrounding 1960s counterculture can be found at MOMA

These are some of the things that I like to read to get my imagination going, to really make me think about ways the world could be different.   What reading really makes you think?

Jenn

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