Just on time! I was lucky enough to come back to France for the final exhibition of POC21.
POC21, which stands for Proof of Concept 21, is an indie satellite event of COP21, major international climate change conference happening in a few days in Paris for governments to agree and take action to save the planet.
Many activists fear that COP21 will be mostly talks and not much action and decision-making.
A team of Germans and French open source enthusiasts led by Open State and OuiShare decided to make something happen on their own. They spend the year preparing POC21: gathering hundreds of makers in a castle near Paris for one month in order to build open source projects solving sustainability issues.
The month is now over, and no need to say it’s been quite a ride!
A total of 12 projects have been build. All of them respect the open source hardware definition. They are available for everyone that want to make and modify them. They use accessible and affordable materials and user-friendly building techniques.
And they offer concrete solution for sustainable living on a small and local scale.
Take for example OwnFood: the team created a full permaculture greenhouse and instruction set able to feed a family for years.
Or Faircap, a bottle cap featuring a natural filtering system so that you can drink any water.
ShowerLoop is another exciting project. The team managed to build a system to recycle water from your shower indefinitely. The water is also cleaned in real-time and heated. And it can be buildat a low cost with the help of a local fablab.
The Bicitractor is designed for small farm and farmers on a tight budget. This tractor can be build with a limited number of tools at a low cost, it doesn’t pollute and can be customized depending on the work needed in the fields.
And what about the $30 Wind Turbine that does in fact cost $30, can be build at home with a few easy tools, and generates current at 1 kW in a 60 km/h wind, and has been tested to absorb at least 105 km/h.
For extra permaculture inspiration, I also want to mention Aker, a full set of designs for gardening (outdoor and indoor) ready to download and CNC in a fablab or at home.
Participants said a few times that not only did they build 12 projects but they also discovered a surprised 13th one: a framework for community living.
The month at the POC21 castle was indeed a giant experiment for learning how to live and collaborate between hundreds of participants from many different countries.
I love how the team was able to analyse social situations and adapt the daily activities. And they also documented their discoveries.
Huge kudos to the Open State and OuiShare teams and the hundreds of makers, mentors, sponsors and visitors of POC21 for making it happen and inspiring us!
What seems at first like cardboard projects for dreamers took shape as an actual alternative living model. From transformational festivals giving birth to communities such as Boom in Portugal or Envision in Costa Rica, to the hundreds of sustainable communities popping up all over the globe, an initiative like POC21 truly helps growing our community, which is gaining an awesome momentum.
Next step for POC21, getting a permanent space in Europe for long-term experiment in sustainable living?