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Appropedia talk:Vision and mission

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Mission Statement Conversation[edit]

(This seemed more like a discussion topic. The Project Page can hold our best effort to date.)

What is the best way to go about creating our mission statement? It was always my intention that Appropedia be not just a repository of Appropriate Technology projects, but much more alive. I hope that our mission statement can meet that. The original mission statement/description, unfortunately too simple, stated: Appropedia is a living library of appropriate technology.

An expert facilitator has offered her services in cocreating a mission statement. See for some of her work. Any suggestions on some ways to develop this? A teleconference mixed with Appropedia editing? Just exchanging thoughts here? While we work on this, I think it is important to note that we can keep tweaking and changing our mission as Appropedia develops. I think it is an important part of appropriate technology, and an ability of wiki, that we change to meet the needs of our stakeholders. --Lonny 11:27, 1 October 2006 (PDT)

Great idea! I think we can make some good progress (already have) via postings, then when we get a little stuck, or even if we think we are there, we can engage with your expert and "put a bow on it". --Curtbeckmann 15:58, 1 October 2006 (PDT)
I believe she will be posting some questions here to help guide us. Look for them soon. --Lonny 18:45, 1 October 2006 (PDT)
I've made a stab at my version of answers to the questions at User:Curtbeckmann/Mission. Not much else has happened within the wiki (hopefully folks have been thinking about it offline), so perhaps this "posting" approach is not the right approach for us, and we should explore other options. I definitely want to continue this process because I want to have an inspiring message to help motivate folks who kind of want to help, but wonder what the point is. I would like Mission to be accessed from the nav bar.
One thought I've had is that, in addition to Mission, we should also have a vision. The vision is the larger picture beyond what Appropedia does. The Mission is essentially what Appropedia's role is within that vision; in that model, the vision really needs to precede the mission (or, alternatively, each Mission statement kind of presumes an implicit vision). Many of the questions below are vision-oriented. If we think in terms of the "build a cathedral" analogy, then I think the vision is what people can use the cathedral for, and how it helps the community grow and bond, etc. This story helps make "build a cathedral" that much more appealing.
We can puzzle over how to structure the pages. My recommendation would be that we have a Vision and Mission page, because they're pretty much inseparable.
To that end, I am going to go back to my Mission page and work on my personal versions of Vision and Mission. What are you going to do? :-) It's possible that my versions will be so compelling that everyone in the community will want to line up behind them. But don't count on it. These things work a lot better when every provides input. But I suppose the wiki way is to wait for someone to publish the page, then edit it. That works too.
Comments? --CurtB 21:09, 26 October 2006 (PDT)

Mission Statement 1[edit]

Appropedia seeks to facilitate successful and practical hands-on application of appropriate technology and processes in field or academic venues by all interested parties. We welcome content documenting field and academic projects world wide, including the technologies and processes (e.g. assessment efforts) used, plus the results and any potential pitfalls to avoid.

We've identified the following categories for contributions:

Mission Statement 2[edit]

Appropedia seeks to facilitate and support successful individuals, organizations, programs and applications of sustainable development, and appropriate technology and processes. We welcome all content from individuals and organizations working in these fields.

This content could be:

  • Documentation of field or academic projects world wide, including the technologies and processes (e.g. assessment efforts) used, plus the results and any potential pitfalls to avoid.
  • Organization or individual information, serving as a sustainability nexus.
  • Collaboration work serving as common working area (with benefits such as track and compare changes, and opening up the dialog to a much wider community).
  • How to instructions.
  • Lecture notes.
  • Common errors to avoid.
  • this is included just for an idea, it is obviously not fully developed and not part of a mission statement. In fact only the first sentence is really part of a mission statement.

QUESTIONS to consider as the mission is developed[edit]

APPROPEDIA MISSION KEY QUESTIONS: As you envision Appropedia 5 years into the future:

  • What are your highest hopes for Appropedia?
  • What do you see happening as a result of Appropedia: within your field, locally, nationally, globally?
  • Who is involved in Appropedia?
  • What has changed from the present state?
  • What are the greatest accomplishments?

=Reminder to consider the Mission Questions[edit]

I'll take this moment to encourage the active Appropedians (that is, those that check "Recent Changes") to spend a few minutes thinking through your answers to the Mission Questions! Thanks, --Curtbeckmann 16:20, 12 October 2006 (PDT)

My scheme was to create a subpage off of my user page, but seems it could more easily be done on one's user talk page. --Curtbeckmann 16:22, 12 October 2006 (PDT)


The mission seems to have lost a lot of information with the replacement. Would it be possible to leave the old version underneath the new version? This would allow people to continue to think about what the mission statement should be. I don't know much about appropedia yet, but I think it's important to allow diversity and change in the scope of any project (especially an appropriate technology project!), and having a simple one paragraph missions statement can seem very static and inflexible. --Naught101 23:08, 5 August 2007 (PDT)

Another attempt at describing our mission[edit]

Here's another approach to the question of mission. I'm meeting a politician tomorrow to talk about renewable energy, open content and related issues, which got me thinking about how to describe what we do here. It seems appropriate to this meeting, and may also be relevant to how we state our mission:

We are working on:

  • promoting sustainable technology, design and practice;
  • appropriate technology,
  • solutions to poverty; improved practices in development/aid work.
  • promoting health and quality of life, through better urban planning; better understanding of what quality of life consists of; and how to apply the best and most universal elements of "simple living" in a way that benefits all.
  • developing an information resource on all of these topics.
  • expanding open content (knowledge commons? information commons?) especially in these areas.
  • sharing and collaborating on new designs; promoting open source design (and developing the tools and methodology).
  • developing a community and network
  • promoting critical, fact-based and NPOV assessments of policies and technologies.

--Chriswaterguy · talk 06:42, 23 February 2008 (PST)

Shorter tagline[edit]

The current tagline is 7 words (in English):

Sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives.

I'd like to see it even sharter and clearer. A simple change makes it clearer, IMO:

Sharing knowledge for rich, sustainable lives.

How's that? Even shorter? --Chriswaterguy 08:39, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

How about just:
  • Sharing knowledge for sustainable lives.
I think the word "rich" is unnecessary because nearly everybody wants to be rich, or at least would not turn down a raise in pay, so they will naturally tend to direct their efforts to that end when they share information on Appropedia or do anything else. "Rich" is also a dangerously imprecise term, since most of mankind's currently quantifiable wealth results from burning fossil fuels, and almost everyone who gets richer in quantifiable (i.e. monetary) terms tends to increase their fossil fuel burn by consuming more goods and services e.g. motorized travel, larger and more luxurious homes, better food, etc. If we must include the word "rich" I suggest adding the qualifier "yet":
  • Sharing knowledge for rich yet sustainable lives.
just to drive home the vital point that most people's understanding of the word "rich" is not compatible with "sustainable." --Teratornis 14:50, 8 February 2011 (PST)
A late, late reply... As you say, it's an imprecise term - I'm not sure the mission statement captures that subtlety. It's implied by combining "rich" and "sustainable". I know that's not clear enough with the wishy-washy, fluffy green thinking that's common, but a single sentence can only ever be a starting point.
I think we can agree that we want the abundance that doesn't come through depletion of resources. Growing kale in your garden creates more than it consumes (especially if we assume you mulch and compost). Over the long run, riding your bike creates more value (health and mobility) than it consumes in resources - especially if the resources are recycled before and after its a bike, and the energy is renewable. Investing in community and taking space back from motor vehicles - these are things which can enrich us without burdening the ecosystem. So we need to explain that - and we can probably do that in a high profile way, visible from the front page. E.g. a page and/or blog post saying "What does a rich, sustainable life look like?"
I've come to think of the mission statement as something that we use for our own understanding - to describe Appropedia to others, it may or may not be a good starting point. It's all about appropriateness to the context of our explanation :-). But there's a time to rethink it, and maybe that time starts now... but these sort of conversations on Appropedia tend to happen in a slow, asynchronous wiki way. That could change as the community grows, especially if we get some big partnerships happening and keep raising awareness. --Chriswaterguy 01:06, 23 May 2012 (PDT)

Found another mission...[edit]

Different wording has been used e.g. here - good spiel. I'm guessing Curt put this up. --Chriswaterguy 14:50, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Link is broken, but through & Google, I figured out that the text came from User talk:Curtbeckmann/Appropedia growth coordination. --Chriswaterguy 01:42, 23 May 2012 (PDT)

Pushing everybody into the Goldemberg corner[edit]

This would be a technically correct slogan that neatly resolves the traditional contradiction between living better (as the result of consuming more material and energy) while trying to minimize the resulting destructive impact on self, others, and the environment. See the wikipedia:Preston curve (a plot of countries of the world by their average life expectancies vs. their per capita incomes) and variations on it, such as commons:File:Human welfare and ecological footprint sustainability.jpg which plots the countries of the world by their wikipedia:Human Development Index (a weighted combination of life expectancy, education, and income) vs. their per capita wikipedia:ecological footprints. The Goldemberg corner is that square in the upper left of the HDI vs. footprint graph, labeled as "Meets minimum requirements for sustainability". That is, if we want to preserve a habitable planet and give everybody a shot at a decent life, we need to push everybody into that upper left-hand corner as soon as possible (i.e. give everybody a high HDI and a low ecological footprint at the same time). As these concepts are not widely known I need to collect my notes into a user sub-page about the Goldemberg corner and its implications for sustainability and development, with references to the various papers I have found. One of the many implications seems to be the need to largely eliminate the aviation industry, since it is nearly impossible for a person to fly much and have a low ecological footprint. --Teratornis 14:33, 11 August 2012 (PDT)

If we had an article importance rating system here, I'd put this at high importance - it actually comes very close to capturing my own vision for Appropedia and how I explain it to people, but it's more concrete-sounding and the Goldberg corner provides a conceptual hook. So it gives me some much-needed inspiration for a presentation on Appropedia.
I'd encourage you to be bold and start the stub. If you prefer to do it in userspace first, that's okay, but the sooner it's in mainspace, the sooner we can work on engaging others around the page and the idea. (On the other hand, having a decent, grammatical, thought-provoking article complete with nice SVG diagrams is something that could make a bigger splash in green blogs and social media... but we could get there either by starting in mainspace or in userspace.)
I have a friend who talks about the "two tonne lifestyle" - defining what life looks like (with all its choices & possibilities) at 2t CO2 emissions per person per year. The number might vary, but that would be a good complementary page or set of pages.
Visualizations and models will be very helpful. E.g. people can quickly see: if I recycle all year and then fly to Europe, what's the relative impact on my carbon footprint? (A few shocks in store - which is good.)
Ideally the visualizations would be interactive - talking with someone from PaperCut, a green-oriented business in the Melbourne area, they said that schoolkids were very engaged with their simulation of paper usage, seeing how much printing per day equated to how many trees over a year. There's so much potential there, but I don't know how to do interactive models/visualizations within the wiki - A:Spreadsheets can be embedded, but they can't be edited within the wiki page. Having a bunch of examples is good, but having something interactive will be much more engaging. Guides like Getting There Greener - The Guide to Your Lower-Carbon Vacation give some info, but having something succinct is better for actually getting noticed (with all the detail available further down or in separate pages). --Chriswaterguy 19:01, 11 August 2012 (PDT)
The average American spews a weight of carbon dioxide each year larger than the weight of a Paraceratherium. Imagine how different things would be if people could see carbon dioxide. I'm not sure how succinct one can make the subject of carbon accounting, as it is more complex than financial planning for retirement. For the latter we tend to rely on trained human experts to advise us. They can earn a living giving such advice because of the importance people place on the subject. It's too bad few people care similarly about carbon planning. In the meantime, while we are waiting for cheap computers to get smart enough to match the skill of human advisors, another way to make the subject more engaging if not interactive is via the documentary film. I haven't found any good documentaries that focus specifically on green living yet, but there are a lot that do a pretty good job of explaining various environmental problems. That's another subpage I could make here, to transcribe my notes from my offline wiki. --Teratornis 13:50, 12 August 2012 (PDT)
I know you've done an enormous amount of thinking and writing about this online, and apparently on an offline wiki as well. I'm interested in what it would take to get a lot of that put into Appropedia pages. When in doubt, there's always the approach of starting userspace drafts.
That Paraceratherium is great for putting carbon dioxide in perspective. --Chriswaterguy 01:29, 30 August 2012 (PDT)