MAKE magazine, favorite publication of mad scientists, has handed out awards in its Tag Your Green contest for imaginative DIY green solutions. The grand prize winners get tickets to the Maker Faire, which is sort of a cross between a Science Olympiad and Burning Man; runners-up get magazines and books. Apparently that’s a sweet enough pot to attract some real (perhaps independently wealthy) innovators, though, because the winning projects are pretty badass.
A child could raise this village: The grand prize winner, a group called Open Source Ecology, is basically trying to fabricate — on the cheap — the Leatherman of resilient communities. They’re putting together a toolkit of 40 critical machines for building small self-sustaining villages, along with open-source instructions on how to build them cheaply. That makes housing and agriculture an achievable goal for more people around the world.
Someone to touch your junk: How many times have you thought “man, I could really do something with this pile of old calendars/game pieces/Venetian blinds/showgirl costumes/gold nuggets, if only I had more artistic skill?” (If you haven’t, don’t tell me; I don’t want to feel alone in my ineptitude.) The Upcycle Exchange is a St. Louis-based project that operates on the “one man’s trash” principle — it matches people who have a lot of crap with people who use crap as raw materials. We’d love to see this idea spread to other cities. Doesn’t “patron of the arts” have a better ring than “person who hasn’t taken her old sweaters to Goodwill yet”?
One dirty bike enters, one clean bike leaves: In the Mad Max post-apocalypse you are going to need three things: Great shoulderpads, a mute slab of man-muscle, and a motorcycle that doesn’t need gasoline. When your bike breaks down halfway to Bartertown, you’ll be glad you discovered the GomiCycle, a street-legal electric motorbike made out of a junked Honda Rebel.
You can read about the other winners, and the also-rans, over at MAKE.