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Dated: Apr. 22, 2011

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Technological Advances

Open Source Ecology is a network of farmers, engineers, and supporters that for the last two years has been creating the Global Village Construction Set, an open source, low-cost, high performance technological platform that allows for the easy, DIY fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a sustainable civilization with modern comforts. The GVCS lowers the barriers to entry into farming, building, and manufacturing and can be seen as a life-size lego-like set of modular tools that can create entire economies, whether in rural Missouri, where the project was founded, in urban redevelopment, or in the developing world.

Project Founder

Marcin came to the U.S. from Poland as a child. He graduated with honors from Princeton and earned his Ph.D. in fusion physics from the University of Wisconsin. Frustrated with the lack of relevance to pressing world issues in his education, he founded Open Source Ecology in 2003 in order to make closed-loop manufacturing a reality. Marcin has been the lead fabricator, designer, blogger, and technical curator for OSE’s prototyping thus far. His main interest is evolving to freedom by eliminating resource scarcity as the main force behind human relations - with the wise use of modern technology adapted for human service. He lives and works at OSE’s land-based facility, Factor e Farm in rural Missouri. Marcin wakes up early, practices yoga, cooks indian food, and he’s very ambitious. He has been selected as a TED 2011 Fellow. See his TED Talk on the Global Village Construction Set.

Why This Project?

Declaring that, "We can lead self-sustaining lives without sacrificing our standard of living," Marcin Jakubowski believes that only by opening the means of production can we achieve abundance for all. Though he has a Ph.D. in fusion physics, he became dissatisfied with its remoteness, and turned back to the earth as a farmer and social innovator.

Marcin Jakubowski: Open-Sourced Blueprints for Civilization

Click Here to Watch Hi-Res Version.

Hi, my name is Marcin -- farmer, technologist. I was born in Poland, now in the U.S. I started a group called Open Source Ecology. We've identified the 50 most important machines that we think it takes for modern life to exist -- things from tractors, bread ovens, circuit makers. Then we set out to create an open source, DIY, do it yourself version that anyone can build and maintain at a fraction of the cost. We call this the Global Village Construction Set.

So let me tell you a story. So I finished my 20s with a Ph.D. in fusion energy, and I discovered I was useless. I had no practical skills. The world presented me with options, and I took them. I guess you can call it the consumer lifestyle. So I started a farm in Missouri and learned about the economics of farming. I bought a tractor -- then it broke. I paid to get it repaired -- then it broke again. Then pretty soon I was broke too.

I realized that the truly appropriate, low-cost tools that I needed to start a sustainable farm and settlement just didn't exist yet. I needed tools that were robust, modular, highly efficient and optimized, low-cost, made from local and recycled materials that would last a lifetime, not designed for obsolescence. I found that I would have to build them myself. So I did just that. And I tested them. And I found that industrial productivity can be achieved on a small scale.

So then I published the 3D designs, schematics, instructional videos and budgets on a wiki. Then contributors from all over the world began showing up, prototyping new machines during dedicated project visits. So far, we have prototyped eight of the 50 machines. And now the project is beginning to grow on its own.

We know that open source has succeeded with tools for managing knowledge and creativity. And the same is starting to happen with hardware too. We're focusing on hardware because it is hardware that can change people's lives in such tangible material ways. If we can lower the barriers to farming, building, manufacturing, then we can unleash just massive amounts of human potential.

That's not only in the developing world. Our tools are being made for the American farmer, builder, entrepreneur, maker. We've seen lots of excitement from these people, who can now start a construction business, parts manufacturing, organic CSA or just selling power back to the grid. Our goal is a repository of published designs so clear, so complete, that a single burned DVD is effectively a civilization starter kit.

I've planted a hundred trees in a day. I've pressed 5,000 bricks in one day from the dirt beneath my feet and built a tractor in six days. From what I've seen, this is only the beginning.

If this idea is truly sound, then the implications are significant. A greater distribution of the means of production, environmentally sound supply chains, and a newly-relevant DIY maker culture can hope to transcend artificial scarcity. We're exploring the limits of what we all can do to make a better world with open hardware technology.

Open Source Ecology

Now that you've gotten free know-how on this topic, try to grow your skills even faster with online video training. Then finally, put these skills to the test and make a name for yourself by offering these skills to others by becoming a freelancer. There are literally 2000+ new projects that are posted every single freakin' day, no lie!

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