The honors visionary thinking that seeks to “solve humanity’s most pressing problems in the shortest possible time while enhancing the Earth’s ecological integrity.” Starting this year, a $100,000 prize will be awarded in support of development and implementation of solutions that have the potential to transform the world. Setting a high precedent for the future, Dr. John Todd has won the First Annual Buckminster Fuller Challenge for his proposal Comprehensive Design for a Carbon Neutral World: The Challenge of Appalachia, which lays out a strategy for transforming one and a half million acres of strip-mined lands in Appalachia into a harmonious self-sustaining community.

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We’ve written about Dr. John Todd before here. Todd is perhaps best known for his design of Eco Machines (formally called ‘Living Machines’) – closed loop, self-sustaining systems of waste water filtration based on real world ecological models. The jury of the Buckminster Fuller competition stated that “Dr. John Todd’s comprehensive design strategy to bring about a carbon neutral world best embodies the bold, visionary approach to large-scale societal transformation pioneered by Buckminster Fuller.” The was established to promote design science solutions that follow the idea that small amounts of energy and resources provide the maximum amount of results, ideals that Dr. Todd’s proposal upholds.

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The proposal sets a strategy for healing the desecrated environments of the Appalachian region, and is based on the idea that the soils in the region can be restored. Under careful management, Dr. John Todd believes that the natural capacity of sequestering carbon by the soils can be increased. This will result in both a natural way to reduce the carbon in the atmosphere and in the restoration of the environment in the region.

Todd’s proposal has far reaching implications. The idea and management behind this process is not site specific and can be used all throughout the world. It is a massive undertaking, the sort that requires not only solid scientific principles, but a change in how land is operated and managed. For more details, visit the Buckminster Fuller Challenge website.