2008 BFI Statement
The Buckminster Fuller Institute is pleased to announce that “Comprehensive Design for a Carbon Neutral World: The Challenge of Appalachia”, submitted by Dr. John Todd, has been selected as the winner of the 2008 Buckminster Fuller Challenge.
Statement from The Buckminster Fuller Institute:
This much we know: nothing short of complete societal transformation will suffice if humanity is going to “pass its final exam.” Such a transformation requires a revolution in imagination, thinking, values and design aligned with a vision of the future we hope to see. Buckminster Fuller dedicated his life to demonstrating that humanity’s option for success or failure, “utopia or oblivion,” hinges on the integrity of individual initiative to design a world that works for 100% of humanity. A self-described comprehensive anticipatory design scientist, Buckminster Fuller approached humanity’s most critical problems as an evolutionary strategist. His major proposals factored in human trends and needs that reached out decades ahead. The breakthrough artifacts he is most commonly identified with (the geodesic dome, the Dymaxion house, car, and map) were rendered as part of a comprehensive re-visioning of complex industrial systems such as shelter and transportation.
John Todd’s project magnificently embodies the essence of Fuller’s evolutionary strategic approach to solving problems. He lays out a completely integrated vision, from a new theory of ecological design to the technological breakthroughs necessary to achieve it. The Comprehensive Design for a Carbon Neutral World project sets forth a revolutionary concept for the design of an entirely new economic model for a region that has been despoiled by extractive industries. Dr. Todd’s vision is inextricably bound to a set of highly advanced ecological design principles that he developed. Appropriately, they reflect not only deep understanding of biological systems, but also the best creative intelligence and cultural wisdom spanning the centuries. These principles are the fruit of Dr. Todd’s decades-long practice developing technologies around the world that build healthy symbiotic relationships between nature’s living systems and modern human needs.
The project’s methodology fully recognizes that transformation requires reconceiving virtually every aspect of how we go about valuing and meeting our life support needs. Accordingly, Todd’s design strategy takes on regionally specific interactions within and between the biosphere, the economy, the local community, the concept of ‘right livelihood’, the development of new technology, and education. Its overarching goal is to model a post-industrial economy that mirrors the diverse abundance, cyclic patterns and structural resilience of nature. Buckminster Fuller often pointed out that, “one of the most important facts about spaceship earth is that it didn’t come with an operating manual.” Dr. Todd’s pioneering work and vision represents an essential chapter of the operating manual humans must urgently complete. His profound understanding of biological systems will revolutionize the way we think about our place on the planet and our connection to the land and its resources.
The prize-winning proposal; Comprehensive Design for a Carbon Neutral World, is the kind of bold initiative that truly aspires to the approach Fuller suggested when he said, “we begin by eschewing the role of specialists who deal only with parts. Becoming deliberately expansive instead of contractive, we ask, ‘how do we think in terms of wholes?’ If it is true that the bigger the thinking becomes the more lastingly effective it is, we must ask, ‘how big can we think?” We are thrilled to be able to support the further development of Dr, John Todd’s vision by awarding him the first Buckminster Fuller Challenge Prize.