July 20, 2012 - 11:58:59 PM
What Cheryl Dahle, Founder and Executive Director of Future of Fish (FoF), is solving:
Of the 145 million metric tons of fish harvested annually worldwide, nearly 80 million metric tons come from the oceans. Today, marine fish populations are in serious trouble due to overfishing, ecosystem degradation, and inept fisheries management. Unless significant changes are made to how we harvest and consume seafood, many popular fish species could be commercially extinct by mid-century (FAO, 2010).
According to leading marine fisheries researchers, upward of 85 percent of the world’s wild fisheries either are being fished at the maximum rate that would allow for replenishment, or are already overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion (FAO, 2010).
The FAO suggests that “peak fish”—the maximum wild capture fisheries potential from the world’s oceans—was reached in 1996. In short, there are too many boats on the water and too many people going after the same fish. Some estimates place the worldwide fishing fleet at 200-300 percent of current ocean capacity. This overcapacity is difficult to resolve simply, as removing subsidies and revoking fishing rights can result in vast numbers of unemployed fishers with little ability (or local economic opportunities) to switch careers (World Bank, 2008).
Loss of Biodiversity
Overfishing, destructive fishing methods, coastal development, climate change (ocean warming and acidification), and pollution from agricultural and industrial run-off can severely impact ocean habitats and biodiversity. More than 100 species of fish are currently listed as threatened species. Ecosystems with higher naturally occurring biodiversity (i.e., species richness) are more stable and are less likely to experience collapses of commercially important fisheries (UNEP, 2010 [pdf]).
Non-selective fishing gear, like trawlers, gillnets, and some longlines, can result in huge amounts of bycatch—the harvest of untargeted species, including birds, dolphins, sea turtles, and other edible fish. Depending on how and where it is caught, harvesting one pound of shrimp, for example, can result in as much as 62 pounds of non-shrimp bycatch. Estimates of annual bycatch worldwide vary depending on the methodology, but are between 7 million and 38 million metric tons. Not only is this collateral damage a further threat to already vulnerable wild fish populations, but nearly all bycatch goes to waste (Marine Policy, 2009; FAO, 2005).
Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a significant environmental and economic problem. Especially on the high seas and in the developing world where regulation and enforcement are non-existent or where fisheries governance is weak and underfunded, IUU fishing threatens both the sustainable management of marine resources and the livelihoods of local fishing households. The true costs of these illicit practices are unknowable, but estimates are that between $10 billion and $24 billion worth of IUU fish are caught worldwide per year (FAO, 2010).
Cheryl Dahle's Breakthrough Approach and Strategy for Addressing this Crisis:
"The Future of Fish incubator has been operational for 15 months. We support 15 entrepreneurs and have six active projects that cover industry stuck points ranging from traceability technology to supply chain re-design using forward contracts and cost-plus pricing, strategies that bring stability to other commodity markets. Our work is informed by an analysis of the complex, systemic problem of overfishing that surfaced the "holes" in our collective efforts to solve it. That research included sending anthropologists into the supply chain to identify where change was getting stuck. We visited 8 sites on 4 continents, observing processing facilities in China, fish farms in Canada, and distribution centers in the United States.
Our insights led us to tackle the hurdles that prevent the middle of the supply chain from becoming part of the solution to overfishing, including a lack of perceived incentives to innovate, a culture that inhibits long-term vision, a value proposition that is at odds with the reality of seafood scarcity, and inadequate inventory tracking and warehousing technology that result in between 30 and 70 percent of fish being mislabeled in the marketplace. We believe that by launching and supporting a group of networked entrepreneurs whose ideas, technology and practices re-set standards for the supply chain, we can drive the market to adopt more responsible approaches to profitmaking. By connecting entrepreneurs at different levels of the supply chain, we foster a cooperative network whose ability to partner makes its impact more than the sum of its parts.
What the Buckminster Fuller Challenge Review Team said about this year's Runner Up:
Founded in 2010, Future of Fish (FoF) brings to light the power of combining rigorous design thinking with a comprehensive systems view of a given problem space. Cheryl Dahle, founder of FoF, is applying this approach to the massive crisis of overharvesting that threatens the world’s wild marine fisheries with collapse. She has developed pragmatic processes for understanding this complex system and is incubating innovative market based models that are designed to drive second order change in the sector.
The FoF team has broad experience working at the intersection of business and social change. Before launching FoF, Dahle was a director at Ashoka, where she distilled knowledge from the organization’s network of 2,500 fellows in order to provide strategic insight to foundations and corporations. Dahle spent more than a decade writing about social entrepreneurship. She founded and led Fast Company’s Social Capitalist awards, a competition to surface top social entrepreneurs. As the project manager, she helped design an evaluation methodology to measure compelling models for change.
FoF was born out of a research partnership led by Cheryl Dahle which included The David and Lucile Packard Foundation (currently FoF’s primary funder), Ashoka Change Makers, and Central, a design strategy firm. Through this process Dahle learned that over the last decade funding and policy change was directed, almost exclusively, toward two areas: adoption of sustainable fishing practices and reducing consumption of overharvested fish at the retail level. She also discovered that the middle of the supply chain, namely fish processing and distribution, was a largely ignored stuck point at the heart of the fisheries crisis.
So Dahle decided to put her extensive knowledge of social entrepreneurship to work by incubating a “cohort” of “co–entrepreneurs” consisting of industry pioneers and innovators, (16 so far with more on the waiting list), that were selected for their ability to transform this neglected part of the supply chain. Instead of just supporting each entrepreneur on an individual basis in growing their own business, as is typical in most incubators, FoF leads its cohort, representing all levels of the supply chain, through processes that amplify the success of others in the group. This gives FoF the ability to foster greater industry change than any one business could accomplish alone.
The clarity and strength of the FoF strategy, its pioneering quality, its counterintuitive, out-of-the- box insights, its holistic methodology, its applicability to other sectors, all adds up to FoF having the potential to be a critical trim tab in transforming the multi-billion dollar fishing industry and desitined to be an important model for 21st century social enterprise and impact investing.
Future of Fish Executive Summary
Future of Fish Full Report
The Buckminster Fuller Challenge
READ MORE »
November 17, 2011 - 10:00:49 PM
The Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) is an open technological platform that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a small civilization with modern comforts. (Website)
A modern, comfortable lifestyle relies on a variety of efficient Industrial Machines. If you eat bread, you rely on an Agricultural Combine. If you live in a wood house, you rely on a Sawmill. Each of these machines relies on other machines in order for it to exist. If you distill this complex web of interdependent machines into a reproduceable, simple, closed-loop system, you get these Key Features:
- Open Source - we freely publish our 3d designs, schematics, instructional videos, budgets, and product manuals on our open source wiki and we harness open collaboration with technical contributors.
- Low-Cost - The cost of making or buying our machines are, on average, 8x cheaper than buying from an Industrial Manufacturer, including an average labor cost of hour for a GVCS fabricator.
- Modular - Motors, parts, assemblies, and power units can interchange, where units can be grouped together to diversify the functionality that is achievable from a small set of units.
- User-Serviceable - Design-for-disassembly allows the user to take apart, maintain, and fix tools readily without the need to rely on expensive repairmen.
- DIY - (do-it-yourself) The user gains control of designing, producing, and modifying the GVCS tool set.
- Closed Loop Manufacturing - Metal is an essential component of advanced civilization, and our platform allows for recycling metal into virgin feedstock for producing further GVCS technologies - thereby allowing for cradle-to-cradle manufacturing cycles
- High Performance - Performance standards must match or exceed those of industrial counterparts for the GVCS to be viable.
- Flexible Fabrication - It has been demonstrated that the flexible use of generalized machinery in appropriate-scale production is a viable alternative to centralized production.
- Distributive Economics - We encourage the replication of enterprises that derive from the GVCS platform as a route to truly free enterprise - along the ideals of Jeffersonian democracy.
- Industrial Efficiency - In order to provide a viable choice for a resilient lifestyle, the GVCS platform matches or exceeds productivity standards of industrial counterparts.
November 17, 2011 - 08:54:25 PM
Video - Website
Blue Ventures (BV), led by Ashoka Fellow Alasdair Harris Ph.D, has developed a high-leverage scalable model that enables impoverished tropical fishing communities in the western Indian Ocean to quickly and dramatically raise their incomes while protecting the biodiversity of their coastal waters through the creation of community-run Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The approach integrates advanced marine conservation science with capacity-building and sound knowledge of fisheries economics in order to provide the necessary skills, incentives, and partnerships that can effect lasting change.
The core of the concept involves determining the recovery period for a fishery that is headed toward collapse, and convincing the fishers to stop fishing periodically to allow the target population to rebound, so that they can benefit from greatly increased fish catches on a sustainable basis. This translates to significantly higher income along the entire supply chain and the preservation of traditional coastal livelihoods as well as marine biodiversity. The recovery method has been scientifically verified and has been met with great local enthusiasm. Within 4 years the strategy has spread to dozens independent fishing villages, which have together created over 100 short term fisheries reserves along several hundred kilometres of Madagascar’s coastline. Management models have since diversified to create the largest community-managed MPA in the entire Indian Ocean.
As a social enterprise BV is imbued with an entrepreneurial community-led spirit that distinguishes it from most other conservation NGOs. Once established these MPAs stand on their economic merits rather than requiring continuous support from outside NGOs. Most of BV’s scientific research is funded by award-winning eco-tourism expeditions and supported by teams of volunteer researchers. As distinct from conventional ‘top down’ outsider approaches to conservation, community engagement and empowerment is the centerpiece of the BV strategy. This has resulted in local citizens taking control of the decisions that affect them and leading grassroots educational efforts that then help other villages replicate the model.
BV is also supporting a full range of community-based economic development initiatives. These include providing educational scholarships for illiterate children, building a reproductive health and family planning clinic now targeting communities in over 50 villages, developing water and sanitation programmes, pioneering alternative sources of income for women through sustainable aquaculture (such as commercial-scale community-managed sea-cucumber and seaweed farming) and developing an ambitious community-owned eco-tourism enterprise. These efforts extend far beyond the typical confines of science-based marine conservation but are critical to ensuring the long-term success and sustainability of BV’s strategy for grassroots conservation. BV’s comprehensive systems approach to conservation assumes that the survival of a natural habitat and the people whose lives depend on it are inseparable.
Already replicating its work in southeast Asia and the Caribbean, and advising governments and communities across several Indian Ocean countries, Blue Ventures’ innovative approach to coastal conservation and development is showing significant potential to improve the lives of millions of people throughout the coastal tropics who rely on threatened marine resources for their daily subsistence.
October 29, 2010 - 01:20:22 PM
Using the principles of biomimicry, the Groasis Waterboxx
enables plants to establish themselves and survive even in the most arid regions of the world, just the way nature does it. Pieter Hoff, founder of AquaPro
and inventor of the product, hopes to use the new device to combat hunger, desertification, and climate change.
Hoff has developed a round, 20-inch-wide container crafted from polypropylene that is placed over a two small seedlings. The container is a resevoir for enough water for a full year of micro-drip irrigation. The chamber, which is designed to prevent evaportation, collects rainwater but also maximizes the formation of dew droplets. In some climates dew may be the only frequent source of plant moisture. The Waterboxx design effectively capatures and tranfers condensation into the water reservoir. A wick goes into the ground beneath the box, slowly dripping 50 ml of water to the plant’s root system everyday.
As the plant grows, its roots reach deeper and deeper in the ground, eventually finding their own water source. If all goes well the box can be removed after one year.
Popular Science selected The Groasis Waterboxx as as one of the top 10 inventions of 2010.
These three videos explain how it works very well:
October 29, 2010 - 11:40:36 AM
The Winner of the 2010 Buckminster Fuler Challenge is Operation Hope, submitted by Allan Savory on Behlalf of the Africa Center for Holistic Management
"This project demonstrates how to reverse desertification of the world’s savannas and grasslands, thereby contributing enormously to mitigating climate change, biomass burning, drought, flood, drying of rivers and underground waters, disappearing wildlife, massive poverty, social breakdown, violence and genocide."
ENTRY APPLICATION: PDF
WEBSITE: Africa Center for Holistic Management
WEBSITE: Savory Institiute
VIDEO: Lecture at Trinity College,Dublin (1hr)
SLIDE SHOW: Project team in the field in Africa
Critical Need Being Addressed
"Viewed holistically biodiversity loss/desertification/climate change are one issue not three. Without reversing desertification, climate change cannot be adequately addressed. This project has demonstrated that livestock can reverse desertification, even during droughts, over the largest areas of the Earth’s land – the grasslands and savannas."
Description of Initiative
"Our work established a previously unsuspected cause of desertification – that humans of all ages and cultures make decisions using the same core decision framework. Flaws in this universal framework made world-wide desertification inevitable. Modifications, explained in "Holistic Management" A New Framework for Decision Making" Savory & Butterfield Second Edition 1999, Island Press, make reversing desertification possible."
"This work, begun in the early 60s gave erratic results. Since 1984 when the decision-making piece of the puzzle fell into place, as long as the process is followed results in restored grasslands have been consistent and can be guaranteed."
"In this particular project ACHM has demonstrated on 6500 acres of grasslands in Zimbabwe the process of reversing desertification. Livestock have increased 400% using holistic planned grazing and we now enjoy open water, water lilies and fish a kilometer above where water has been known before in the dry season. The livestock are integrated with Africa’s big game avoiding competition and wildlife are on the increase. Currently, we can barely keep pace with grass growth even in dry years. This is greatly influencing scientists, NGO’s and pastoralists from all over Africa." READ MORE »
October 29, 2010 - 10:07:41 AM
I don't think the reasons elucidated below by Kathi Sierra are limited to the United States. Her blog Creating Passionate Users is excellent! The Graphics are a riot. JA
Why does engineering/math/science education in the US suck?
If you studied math, science, or engineering at a four-year college in the US, much of what you learned is useless, forgotten, or obsolete. All that money, all that time, all that wasted talent. If all we lost were a few years, no big deal. But the really scary part is that we never learned what matters most to true experts in math, science, and engineering. We never really learned how to DO math, science, and engineering.
Toward the end of his life, legendary mathematician Jacques Hadamard asked 100 of the top scientists of his time how they did whatever it was that they did (math, physics, etc.) Hadamard's survey found a massive disconnect between how we teach math and science and how mathematicians and scientists actually work. The majority of his contemporaries apparently claimed that using the logical, left-brain symbols associated with their work was NOT how they did their work. These were simply the tools they used to communicate it. What they used to do the works was much... fuzzier. Intuition. Visualization. Sensation (Einstein talked of a kinesthetic element). Anthropomorphizing. Metaphors.
We are in sooooo much trouble.
What experts use to do their work are the things we don't teach. We focus almost exclusively on how to talk about the work. Obviously this doesn't mean nobody learns to do it... we have plenty of expert engineers, scientists, and mathematicians, who become great either in spite of faulty teaching or because they lucked out and had excellent, clueful instructors and mentors. But we also hear more and more teachers, experts, and employers railing against the sorry state of our advanced technical educations today. The problem is, many of these same teachers, experts, and employers have a tough time articulating what's wrong, let alone how to fix it.
And what do we do to try and improve things? We just do MORE of what's wrong. We redouble our efforts. We drill and test students even harder in facts and rote memorization. We work and test them even harder on using the tools for communication (e.g. code) rather than the tools for thought (e.g. intuition, visualization, etc.)
Our educational institutions--at every level--need drastic changes or we're all screwed. The generation of students we're turning out today need skills nobody really cared about 50, 40, even 20 years ago. Where we used to prepare students for a "job for life", now we must prepare students to be jobless. We must prepare them to think fast, learn faster, and unlearn even faster ("yes, that drug was the appropriate way to treat the XYZ disease, but that was so last week. THIS week we now realize it'll kill you.")
The Waterfall Model of education is failing like never before. We need Agile Learning.
Three of the many people who've been leading the charge on this are Roger Schank, Dan Pink (his "Whole New Mind" book is a must-read), and computing/learning guru Alan Kay. One of my favorite Alan Kay notions is something like this, "If you want to be a better programmer, take up the violin." He claims that the more time he spends playing music, the fresher and better his approaches to engineering become. He's an outspoken critic of engineering students focusing too early in their education, because he believes that with a more liberal arts education, you get metaphors and ways of thinking and seeing that are vital to your later engineering work.
I'll end this with two quotes:
From Jason Fried:
"Hire curious people. Even if they don't have the exact skill set you want, curious, passionate people can learn anything."
And from Jacques Hadamard:
" Logic merely sanctions the conquests of the intuition."
If intuition is the heart of what true experts do, then shouldn't we be trying to teach that? Or at the least, stop stifling and dissing it? And yes, I do believe that we can teach and inspire all those fuzzy things including intuition and even curiosity. But we are running out of time.
[UPDATE: Martin Polley brought up the TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson, and if you haven't seen it already--I urge you to check it out ASAP!
Mark Fowler was surprised that I didn't bring up the book What the Best College Teachers Do, and I can't believe I left it out of the post. I believe it is the single best book on helping someone learn. When we had our most recent author's bootcamp, it was the one book we gave to all attendees. Thanks Mark.
I highly recommend the comments to this post -- they're insightful on all sides, agreement and disagreement and all points in between. And before you tell me I'm advocating for throwing out fundamentals, memorization, facts, logic, etc... PLEASE look again at my venn diagram ; ) This is about brain balance, and addressing much more of the brain than just the narrow channels that are the parts of the brain that actually "talk." ]
Posted by Kathy on November 2, 2006