How has the world changed in the five years since you published the first edition of Worldchanging
? Alex Steffen:
The biggest change is that sustainability and the awareness of the need for sustainability are mainstream in ways they’re weren’t five years ago. Then, outside of specialized conversations, it was hard to find many ideas about sustainable design or green buildings. In the intervening years, we have not only seen a lot of really dire news that convinced many mainstream, credible people that these were important issues that deserved attention, but also social and cultural movements that have really taken off: the food movement, the trend towards walkable neighborhoods. Green building has rapidly moved from a hot topic to the way things are done.
There’s nothing undemocratic about sexual violence in South Africa, where rape is a crime that crosses class, race, and gender. “It is estimated that a woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read,” states Rape Survivor Journey
, a website that provides victim resources and statistics.
Delivered in installments by phone, and later collected on a website, Yoza stories are directed to African youth who are book-poor yet mobile-rich.
What's the most irritating preconception we in the North have about Africa? Mugendi M’Rithaa:
It would be the assumption that problems that occur in one place in Africa are typical of life for the rest of the continent. Pascal Eze coined the acronym PIDIC to describe such stereotypes: it stands for poverty, political instability, disease, illiteracy, and corruption. A group of us started Design With Africa as a counterweight to PIDIC attitudes. We want to facilitate a more informed and progressive dialogue. Africa is a far more dynamic and optimistic place than it is given credit for!
The people who gathered at the New York Art Directors Club on a Thursday morning in January were nothing like a wedding party — and yet they appeared to be obsessed with marriage.