Oct 12th, 2007 by Clark Humphrey

…Nobel Peace Prize, here’s a lucid and elequent congratulatory essay by local-boy-made-good (and done good) Alex Steffen.

I first knew Steffen when he ran Steelhead, one of the most intelligent and handsome local zines this burg has ever produced.

Since then, he’s traveled much of the world, written a lot of important things, and in 2003 guest-edited the last, never-printed, issue of Whole Earth magazine, the last descendant of Stewart Brand’s old Whole Earth Catalog.

book coverYou’ll find vast acreage of smart prose by Steffen and compatriots at WorldChanging.com, his site dedicated to “bright green” eco-solutions.

I’m currently halfway through the huge (600-plus pages) WorldChanging book, edited by Steffen and written by himself and several dozen appropriate-tech experts. (Gore contributed a short introduction.)

WorldChanging’s shtick has been described as an update of the Whole Earth “Access to Tools” shtick, adapted for a generation of bloggers and a post-WTO sensibility.

Unlike a lot of the gloom-n’-doom nihilism preached by eco-leftists, Steffen and his team concentrate on solutions to the planet’s big and small problems. The book covers everything from urban planning and refugee camps to renewable energy and adequate water supplies. The emphasis throughout is on Things We Can Really Do About It.

If Barack Obama bills himself as the politician of hope, Steffen is its scribe.

As Steffen writes in his Gore piece today:

“If we do our jobs right, life will get better. The systems we currently rely on don’t just destroy the environment, they limit our happiness. We do not live in the best of all possible worlds. We know it is possible to create lives which are not only profoundly more sustainable, but more prosperous, comfortable, stylish, healthy, safe and fun. If we do our jobs right, a bright green future will be downright sexy.”

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