Inhabitat has written a lot about the One Laptop Per Child Project over the past few years, and now we’re excited to see the OLPC back and better than ever in cahoots with Amazon.com. Big box retailers are generally seen as the scourge of the Earth by environmentally minded folk. Their carbon menace ranks high, (right up there with SUV manufacturing and coal mining), yet sometimes there’s a tiny heart hidden in that tough, boxy, cardboard exterior, and Amazon’s XO program is one such example.


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The XO is a laptop designed especially for children. It’s compact and colorful, durable and dandy. Because the laptop is ultra-low power using, it easily charges from alternative power sources such as solar power. But best of all, it comes jam packed with “software designed for children to encourage exploration, creativity, and collaboration.”

And just who are these children? Well, it could be the one currently standing next to you desperately jabbing a chubby finger at the keyboard as you read, or it could be a child a thousand miles away who would never see a computer if it wasn’t for you. Or, most practically, it could be for both!

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The XO (which features a brilliant fold-flat design) is the only product sold by One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), which was founded in 2005 in an effort, “to create educational opportunities for the world’s poorest children by providing each and every one with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning.”

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For $399 (no, that is not a typo) you can purchase one of these wonderful laptops for your child, and OLPC will ship another to a child in a far away country. If your child is not ready for her own PC, a $199 donation purchases a laptop to be stocked in the OLPC inventory. You can also participate in the Give100 or Give1000 program and make a difference to an entire school or community. Or, if like founder Nicholas Negraponte, you are equal parts humanitarian and tech-geek, you can sign-up to participate.

All of this is made extremely expeditious by the geniuses over at Amazon – who most likely have programs such as these in order to balance out all of their bad (carbon) karma… But it’s hard to deny that championing such a program is worthy of even the staunchest envirocritic’s support.

+Amazon XO
+One Laptop per Child
+OLPC on Inhabitat
+OLPC Video from Greener Gadgets (for engineering nerds!)