Kiva

Web 3.0: Why cloudsourcing is cool

Let me tell you what the latest cool thing I like to watch on the Internet is (you’re forgiven for thinking all I do is watch YouTube videos and look for dumb stuff). Crowdsourcing. Or, Cloudsourcing. The basic idea, for those who came in late, is that you have a good idea, you need funds, so you throw it out there and see if the internet will help. It works for everything from charity to book publishing, from inventing new products, to new science projects.

And it’s cool. It takes the power of social networking, and the nature of the internet, and actually applies it to something.

Here are some crowdsourcing sites that I’ve found. I’m sure there are others out there.

Kiva.org – Kiva is a microfinancing site where you can provide loans to needy entrepeneurs from around the globe. I love it. I’ve funded a few coffee farmers. You can start groups and stuff – and the Christians and Atheists are battling it out for generosity supremacy.

Santos here is a coffee farmer. He’s trying to raise $350.

Kickstarter.com – Kickstarter is a hub for funding inventors, artists, and people who are creating new products that don’t fall into those categories. Funding a project normally buys you some share in its success (ie a version of whatever it is you’re funding). Here’s an example – a project called Etchpop – which will buy a company a laser cutter to make wooden block type stamps for people. $25 will get you a wooden stamp if they get funding.

RocketHub.com – RocketHub is just like Kickstarter, only its currently running a campaign to fund science projects. This Sea Turtle conservation project looks pretty cool.

Loudsauce.com – Loudsauce is perhaps my favourite. If you’re into a cause you can chip in to having advertisements produced and aired. All their campaigns are currently funded – but it’s worth keeping an eye on.

This FairTrade soccer balls campaign looked fun.

Unbound.co.uk – Unbound is a book publisher. But not just any sort of book publisher – a classy one… at the moment you can support one of my favourite blogs, Letters of Note, as they head towards publishing a book.

Fiverr.com – Fiverr is a bit different, and I’ve linked to it before, but it is so much fun. And so cheap. You can get Mario to make you a video for $5 (here’s my version). Bargain.

Warming to the debate

It’s probably time I addressed Amy’s second point.

2. Global pollution and/or global warming are going to have the strongest effect not on the ‘Western’ world but the poorest nations and peoples. I think we have not only an ethical but a moral duty to ensure that this planet can support everyone on it.

I completely agree with the second sentence. We do (and particularly Christians do) have a responsibility to look after those in need.

Spiderman’s uncle summed it up best: “With great power comes great responsibility”.

If climate change is going to cause issues (and increased unpredictability in terms of weather events, changing rain patterns etc do have markedly enhanced effects on these villages) then we need to be helping people in areas at risk develop resilience to these events.

While I don’t like the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) because I think it’s economically, politically and scientifically stupid – I’d be less opposed if the money was being spent on mitigating climate change globally.

Personally, I don’t think climate change or pollution has a massive bearing on the debate – there are other issues I believe need solving first. I think we should be looking at how the benefits of technology and research developed in the first world trickles down to the third, particularly medicine, and agronomy.

I also really like the idea of microfinancing as a way for individuals to directly help disadvantaged individuals. Kiva seems like a good example.

So, not to harp on the egg thing, here’s an equation.

If I buy 12 dozen cartons of eggs a year at $2.60 each, rather than paying $7 for free range, I save $52.80 – that’s $52.80 I can lend to these entrepreneurs – who, if successful, will pay me back so I can lend it again.

The loans are made in $25 chunks.

Just remember though – if participating in this scheme – that the following warning applies:

By participating in the Program or otherwise using this Website, you hereby acknowledge and agree that (a) Kiva makes no representation, warranty, covenant or guarantee that any funds you lend to a Borrower via the Website will be repaid and (b) loans made via the Website (each, a “Loan”) bear a high risk of non-repayment.

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