Alex Steffen

writer and foresight consultant, WorldChanging
26 minutes, 12.1mb, recorded 2004-10-22
"We're screwed," Alex begins. We need 4.5 planet Earths just to meet the current consumption of resources, and it's only getting worse. But there's hope, and Alex gives his favorite examples of cool ideas of innovation, particularly in the developing world. It's amazing what necessity can breed. (How about a flower that turns from white to red in the proximity of a landmine?!)

Alex’s work has taken him around the world as an environmental journalist on four continents (where he wrote about everything from Japan's fast breeder reactor program to the UN "Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro); has led him to provide strategic consultation to over 50 different environmental groups (on issues ranging from the fate of endangered species to the future of "smart growth") and foresight projects (anticipating paths for a Pacific Northwest transition to sustainability, what green neighborhoods of the future might look like, and how to prevent the next use of nuclear weapons).

Alex has also been the president of the board of Allied Arts (the venerable Seattle urban design advocacy group), a co-founder of the Livable Communities Coalition and the Fuse Foundation, and has served on boards or steering committees of twenty other NGOs and campaigns. He's been a newspaper columnist (for Seattle's the Stranger), a radio producer and guest host (for Seattle's NPR affiliate, KUOW) and an on-air television news analyst. His graduate work was completed at the University of Washington's Jackson School of International Studies.

Alex has written or commented for the New York Times, USA Today, the LA Times, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle Weekly, Fast Company, Red Herring, Blue: the Magazine of Adventure Travel, NPR's All Things Considered and Morning Edition, Marketplace and elsewhere.

His essays have been widely reprinted, translated into German, Japanese and Spanish, and anthologized in the 2050 Project's book Choosing our Future. He’s currently finishing a book on the future of environmental sustainability (forthcoming from Chelsea Green press).

Facilitation graphics by Peter Durand of Alphachimp Studio
Renee Blodgett's blog
David Weinberger's blog

This presentation is one of many from the IT Conversations archives of Pop!Tech 2004 held in Camden, Maine, October 21-23, 2004.

This free podcast is from our Pop!Tech series.