The Pop!Tech annual conference went live this morning in Camden, Maine with an interesting mix of thinkers and doers on stage (including my friends Carl Honoré and Chris Luebkeman) discussing "The Human Impact", this year's theme. You can watch the conference on a live videostream or follow it near-live on Ethan Zuckerman's blog. Pop!Tech will also be packed with extras, including one led by my futurist friend Michele Bowman (who also will be blogging from Camden): The Pop!Tech Carbon Initiative.
Pop!Tech went carbon-neutral last year already, first conference of its kind to do so. Personally, I've several reservations about the idea of "carbon offsets" and particularly the recent boom of carbon offset and carbon compensation schemes around the world, many of which have shown little transparency so far or have debatable practices. The Pop!Tech Initiative is a response to that skepticism: it is designed to enable individuals to offset their personal carbon emissions through the purchase of carbon credits from one of three carefully selected social development and conservation projects around the world -- "selected" being the key word. The Pop!Tech Carbon Initiative is listed on the eBay Giving Works marketplace. The three projects selected this year are:
- The Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), an organization that want to "light up Africa", in the words of his founder Bob Freling. SELF is bringing solar powered irrigation to Benin’s Kalale District in West Africa where over 80% of the villages do not have a source of surface water.
- Paso Pacífico, a non-profit organization seeking to build wildlife corridors along the Pacific slope of Central America by supporting private landowners and small-scale farmers in sustainable land use and conservation activities.
- Instituto Ecologica, which coordinates several socio-environmental programs including the Bandeira Switching Non-Renewable Biomass Project in the North of Brazil, addressing deforestation.