Opencallaboration for the Environment

Since 2000, internet penetration growth rate hit an impressive high of 835% through out the globe, bringing approximately 3,366,261,156 people together on one grand platform [1]. Wow, right? You and I are part of that large number and we have surely benefited in some way or another!

The rise of internet users led to the expansion of an existing phenomenon called crowdsourcing; a movement that utilizes the power of crowds. Now with the internet as a grand stage with more than 3 billion audiences, crowdsourcing is no longer restricted to towns or nations but can be performed beyond geographical and cultural barriers.

Crowdsourcing, a combination of two words: Crowd and sourcing.

– Crowd: Every individual online is never alone. Whether you are doing research or actively talking to people (e.g. gaming), an individual is always interacting with the work of another. These minds combine to form a diverse and magnificent resource pool that is filled with great potential.

– Sourcing: We could see this as resourcing and outsourcing. Unlike the usual informative sites that provide us with resources (e.g. our amazing Wikipedia), crowdsourcing is much more intentional and have specific goals. Crowdsourcing involves taking “functions once performed by employees” and “outsourcing them to undefined network of people in form of an open call” [2]. There are many types of crowdsourcing techniques that I will cover in greater detail next week. These crowdsourcing techniques are: crowdcontests, crowdfunding, self-organized crowds, microwork and macrowork [3].

Anyone can crowdsource for almost any task online today. Some tasks are for-profit and, others, for specific causes. Opencallaborate hopes to see how crowdsourcing has evolved the involvement of communities and individuals in making the environment more sustainable. 

Environmental sustainability has been a buzzword this century.

Sustainability development: We can find many definitions according to different organizations, corporations and individuals but these are some definitions I find defines it best:

  • “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (World Commission on Environment and Development’s (the Brundtland Commission)) [4]
  • “A process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are made consistent with the future as well as present needs” [5]

Colder winters, hotter summers, unexpected hurricanes and hails and blankets of haze are but a few of the many tangible effects we face today. Individuals, corporations, communities and governments have been trying to figure out how to make the environment sustainable. Crowdsourcing online has paved a way for new environmental sustainability ideas and initiatives.

However, you may be a skeptic like myself who questions the effectiveness of such initiatives and projects. It is one thing to talk about environmental sustainable acts and it is another to get people to act upon it. As such, Opencallaborate was born not only for the purpose of meeting the requirements of my class assignment but, also, to explore and assess the current crowdsourcing efforts that serve the environment. Hopefully, crowdsourcing for environmental sustainability is as revolutionary and effective as it portrayed. And, who knows? I may toss my skepticism out of the window and participate in this new way of protecting the environment at the end of it all.

Fun Fact: Crowdsourcing existed even in 1930s when Toyota was still called Toyoda and it crowdsourced for their first logo design. [6] toyoda_loom_first_logo

[1] Internet World Stats: Usage and Population Statistics. Retrieved January 16, 2016, from http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

[2] Howe, J. (2006). Crowdsourcing: Crowdsourcing: A Definition. Crowdsourcing.com. Retrieved January 16, 2016, from http://crowdsourcing.typepad.com/cs/2006/06/crowdsourcing_a.html

[3] Grier, D. A. Understanding the Five Types of Crowdsourcing. Retrieved January 16, 2016 from http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/understanding-the-five-types-of-crowdsourcing.html

[4] World Commission on Environment and Development’s (the Brundtland Commission). Retrieved January 16, 2016 from http://www.worldbank.org/depweb/english/sd.html

[5] World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) Retrieved January 16, 2016 from http://www.census.gov/population/international/

[6] Sabin, J. (2015) Quirky facts you did not know about crowdsourcing. Retrieved January 16, 2016 from http://www.crowdsourcing.org/editorial/quirky-facts-you-didnt-know-about-crowdsourcing/36209 

Featured image credit:http://gr8stays.com/photos/tom.costtel.com/livebookings/gr8_city/e4983.jpg

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