Worldchanging.com founder Alex Steffen argues that reducing humanity's ecological footprint is especially vital now, as the western consumer lifestyle spreads to developing countries.
Steffen mentions Mapnificent and Google Walking Maps as tools for “augmented urbanism,” because they facilitate people’s use of public transit, bicycles, and pedestrian routes. Bing, Apple, and Mapquest also offer walking maps. Test one or more of these tools in your own community. How well do they work? What improvements would you suggest? Share your experience and your recommendations in a communication to the company.
Steffen cites the home power drill as a perfect example of what he calls our “surplus capacities.” In dozens of cities across the U.S., tool-lending libraries allow residents to forego an individual stockpile of home improvement equipment. What other kinds of materials or belongings might be well-suited for this kind of collective access? With classmates, brainstorm a list of possibilities. Then take an informal survey of community members to gauge which if your ideas is the most popular. How could you make it happen?