Yale University to Host Web Site on Environmental Solutions

A data bank containing environmental case studies of proven or promising solutions to a wide range of problems, including global warming, will be available beginning this summer on a World Wide Web site hosted by Yale University.

The HORIZON “Solutions Site” will provide an opportunity to share the most successful environmental initiatives and innovations with millions of people worldwide via electronic mail, said Jo Yellis, HORIZON’s executive director. The case studies will be drawn from all parts of the world and from both high and low technologies.

“The information superhighway is a two-way street, and technology transfer can work in both directions,” Yellis said. “We in the industrialized North have much to learn from our neighbors in the developing South, and for every environmental solution that comes from a state-of-the-art research laboratory, another can be found in the slums of Cali or the cotton fields of Hubei.”

Multimedia and interactive components on the site will enable users to view photos and videos, provide feedback, propose new solutions and participate in discussion groups. HORIZON will document and disseminate ideas not only to encourage the replication of known solutions but also to inspire the development of new ones, Yellis said.

Typical environmental solutions to be shared on the site include towns lending unclaimed, stolen bicycles to city employees to reduce automobile use; malaria control with a bacterium that produces a toxin lethal to mosquito larvae; reforestation of a Kenya desert; solar villages near the Arctic Circle; a cryogenic seed bank to save endangered wildflowers; the use of spiders to control cotton pests in China; and a Belgian method for converting garbage into fuel.

The project is being developed and directed by HORIZON Communications, a nonprofit organization based at Yale. Other participants include Harvard University, the International Development Research Centre of Canada, UNICEF, and three other United Nations programs (the Environment Programme, the Development Programme and the Population Fund). Initial funding is being provided by the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE).

“We must act together to ameliorate and halt the mounting problems confronting the world today, and to share knowledge of successful answers as they emerge,” said HORIZON’s chairman and founder, Janine Selendy. “The Solutions Site will cross-pollinate the search for solutions with answers from all parts of the world, inspiring and helping others to seek new means of solving their own problems.”

Joanne Fox-Przeworski, regional director for North America of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said: “The case studies are examples of creative partnerships for a sustainable future, and many have potential for replication. We need to build on these successes and apply their lessons in other locations. We at UNEP hope to contribute to, and learn from, these proven solutions.”

Examples will be drawn from HORIZON’s existing Solutions Databank, the National Audubon Society, Yale’s Industrial Environmental Management Program, the Yale-UNDP Program on Public-private Partnerships for the Urban Environment, WorldWatch and the American Forest Congress Communities Committee. The web site will be illustrated with photos and clips from HORIZON’s extensive video archives and other sources.

The Solutions Site will be incorporated into HORIZON’s home page on the Yale web server at http://www.yale.edu/horizon. Inquiries may be directed to Yellis at (203) 432-6266 or yellis@pantheon.yale.edu.

HORIZON Communications is dedicated to disseminating solutions to environmental problems worldwide through several international communications programs. Foremost among them is the television series “One Second Before Sunrise: A Search for Solutions,” hosted and narrated by Lynn Redgrave, Sam Waterston and others. Programs in the series have aired nationwide on PBS and around the world.

Share this with Facebook Share this with Twitter Share this with LinkedIn Share this with Email Print this