POC21 : Accelerating Open Source Sustainability

POC21: Open Sourcing Sustainability

Facing the urgency of climate and resource crises, can Open Source help to mainstream sustainable lifestyles? Enter POC21: an accelerator for open hardware sustainability, ahead of the COP21 conference in Paris.

The frustration following the 20th United Nations conference on climate change that just ended in Lima reminds us how little has changed since the “Copenhagen failure”. Political leaders are still going in circles; corporations are still in a “business as usual” mindset; and the civil society is still protesting. The People’s Climate March was successful, but in 2015, we need to move from protests to prototypes.

Our world today is upside-down: we manage scarce resources as if they were abundant, and we put artificial scarcity on what actually is abundant: knowledge, creativity, and innovation.
— Michel Bauwens

Today, we are excited to introduce you to POC21 (Proof Of Concept 21) : an accelerator for open source sustainability, co-produced with Open State, a laboratory for sustainable living based in Berlin.

During a 5-week acceleration camp next summer, we will build the most functional and replicable cell of a sustainable society. Then spread a new narrative of hope ahead of the 21st edition of U.N. climate change conference (COP21), taking place in December 2015 in Paris.

The Power of Open Source for Sustainable Production

The open source model maximizes diffusion, replicability, adaptability and cost efficiency. Initially born in the software industry, it has now spread to physical products and converged with the Maker Movement.

Now, almost anyone can easily make physical goods, thanks to the sharing of designs, the democratization of tools such as easy-to-use electronics and digital fabrication (3D printing, laser cutting, CNC milling, etc.) and the development of shared machine shops such as Fab Labs and makerspaces.

Now, imagine people and communities producing their own energy, food, goods or housing. Using local resources and open source blueprints, connected to each other locally and across the globe.

If the Internet teaches us anything, it is that great value comes from leaving core resources in a commons, where they’re free for people to build upon as they see fit. — Lawrence Lessig

Open Source (Hardware) For Sustainable Living

Many pioneers from the open hardware community have already started building this future. P2P Food Lab develops small urban greenhouses equipped with low-cost sensors to monitor and share environmental data. The Piggott wind turbine can provide enough power for personal or small community use. The Wikihouse open source construction system enables anyone to “print” their high-performance, low-energy house, which can be tracked using the Open Energy Monitor platform.

The inspiring Valldaura Self-Sufficient Lab in Barcelona hosts the Green Fab Lab which specializes in projects such as bio-architecture made out of growing materials based on mushrooms, bio-batteries made from algae, bio-solar panels that produce electricity with moss, and the iconic Open Source Beehives.

Bio-solar panel from the Valldaura Green Fab Lab in Barcelona. Picture by Makery.

Bio-solar panel from the Valldaura Green Fab Lab in Barcelona. Picture by Makery.

These are only a few of the projects we feel inspired by. We know there are many more out there – under the radar – that we would like to support, accelerate and bring under the spotlight. The role of POC21 is to catalyze the scale, impact and widespread adoption of open source projects for sustainable living.

5 Weeks To Prototype The Future

The core of POC21 is a 5-week acceleration camp which will be held next summer at the stunning Millemont Castle in the Yvelines area (45 minutes from Paris in public transport).

During this camp, 50 participants from 12 high-potential open source projects will come together with world-class experts in energy, construction, food, water, waste, digital fabrication, business models, strategic design, communication … and combine their energies in a unique prototyping and co-living experience.

The POC21 venue: the stunning Millemont Castle, located in the Yvelines area, 40 minutes from Paris.

The POC21 venue: the stunning Millemont Castle, located in the Yvelines area, 45 minutes from Paris.

After the Camp, we plan a massive communication campaign ahead of the U.N. climate conference, reaching out to mainstream media, policymakers, investors, academia, and through social movements such as Alternatiba to spread the word about the power of open source sustainability. Using a mainstream catalog for open source sustainable lifestyles, as ubiquitous as IKEA’s.

A New Milestone for OuiShare & Open State

After two OuiShare Fests and a third one right on track for next spring, we felt it was the right time for us to step into tangible solutions.

We are excited to organize POC21 with our Open State friends, combining our respective networks and expertise, together with their strategic design skills and experience in facilitating innovation camps, such as Palomar5 in 2009, the first event of its kind.

Our call for projects will be launched in early 2015. In the meantime, we are now building academic partnerships and fundraising the event from foundations, public institutions and forward-thinking companies. If you believe in our vision and would like become a sponsor, please get in touch through the POC21 website!

Justyna Swat & Benjamin Tincq