Six years ago, the green blogosphere was pretty much TreeHugger for the lite, Grist for the funny, but if you were serious, there was Worldchanging. And it was Worldchanging. Co-founder Jamais Cascio wrote on November 19, 2003:
We're under no illusions. The world is stumbling its way to hell, environmentally, politically, economically -- but whining about it isn't going to change it. What can give us hope is a combination of good ideas, novel tools, innovative technologies, unexpected collaboration, and a healthy doses of democracy and transparency. So that's what we talk about here.
And they never wavered from that position.
And now it is over. Alex Steffen explained the problem in a letter:
At the end of last year, we came to an inflection point. On the one hand, we were wrapping up one major set of efforts (including the editing of the new edition of the Worldchanging book -- out this spring-- and a series of major talks on what a carbon-neutral society might be like), and were ready to launch into some major new work,work for which I'd begun building partnerships. On the other hand, our revenue streams were unsustainable, since they essentially boiled down to me speaking, writing and consulting and giving Worldchanging the money, which meant in practice Worldchanging never having enough money and me never having enough time (I did over 400 gigs in the last five years). We needed to find a new way of funding new work.
Early this year a new board was brought on to reshape the organization and pursue a more traditional nonprofit development model (based more on grants, gifts and major fundraising drives), with many new board members recruited in just the last few months to help us re-imagine operations and launch these new plans. Unfortunately, despite everyone's best efforts (and a successful October event), funding ran out before such a transformation could happen. Given the financial realities we faced, the board and staff have agreed that it is time to bring Worldchanging to a close as gracefully as possible.
There are so many inspiring lessons to be learned from Worldchanging. My single favourite post ever was Alex's My Other Car is a Bright Green City, which he called "a rough draft of a long essay" that never seemed to appear. I think of it every time we show another Tesla or Volt or Leaf, of how Alex writes "The best car-related innovation we have is not to improve the car, but eliminate the need to drive it everywhere we go." I look back at the post in our Minus Oil series: My Other Car Is A Bright Green City: A Second Look
You can read a timeline of the history of Worldchanging here, and the Worldchanging team's picks of their best at Worldchanging 101. I hope that they that they can maintain this body of work online, it is too valuable to lose.
It is the end of an era.