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    What If Anyone Could Build a Sustainable Civilization From Scratch?

    Written by

    Alec Liu

    What if you could enjoy the trappings of modern living while working only two hours a day? What if you could build that life using only easily accessible, off the shelf parts? What if the plans for creating this sustainable civilization were available to everyone, constantly being improved by contributors around the world? These are the goals of Open Source Ecology, TED Fellow Marcin Jakubowski's movement of farmers, engineers, and developers who are creating an open source blueprint for building a sustainable civilization with a starting cost of $10,000.

    "I finished my 20s with a PhD in fusion energy, and I discovered I was useless,” Jakubowski says. So he set off to start a sustainable farm. He failed miserably. What Jakubowski discovered is that the tools required were unavailable or simply too expensive to maintain. The beauty of open-source hardware is that now anyone can build their own tractor or harvester from scratch. For the past two years, Jakubowski has been leading an effort to build a Global Village Construction Set, "an open source, low-cost, high performance technological platform that allows for the easy, DIY fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a sustainable civilization with modern comforts." You could plant 50 trees in an afternoon, press 5,000 bricks or build a tractor in a week.

    After successfully funding a Kickstarter campaign in 2011, the project remains 100 percent crowdsourced. The resulting modular tools theoretically lowers the barriers of entry of farming, building and manufacturing -- and ultimately creating closed loop economies -- for everyone from rural Missouri to the developing world. If you're hungry for more OSE, check out Jakubowski's TED Talk.