Article Insects, us & the future

Letter from the Editors

“Is crowdfunding just capitalism by another name?” This was a question posed at The Guardian’s Activate Summit event in London in July where Contributoria was a sponsor.

While a bit dismissive the question does warrant consideration. Haven’t people always used currency to conduct transactions which collectively fund a business?

But when you look at the role crowdfunding is playing in a wider shift toward collaborative production you start to see that something revolutionary is going on. From journalism, as we’re doing here at Contributoria, to watches to films to even real estate development, crowdfunding is providing the commercial fuel needed for a more fundamental change in the way things get made.

We’re witnessing a recalibration of resource management. Some call it sustainability. Others call it collaborative consumption. It won’t be long before an academic calls it “Preconstructionism” or something that addresses the change in emphasis.

Rather than the final output that people consume, in this new world buying power is being applied to the the process of cultivating something and to taking part in its creation.

Several writers for the August Issue wrote about interesting trends that demonstrate this kind of shift in thinking. Rich McEachran’s piece on insects-as-food and Dave Weatherall’s investigation of genetically modified mosquitoes demonstrate possibilities for turning things that disgust us or annoy us into resources that can solve world hunger and disease. Jen Wilton wrote about guerilla gardening, the act of illicitly planting urban spaces to reintroduce life into unwanted spaces.

Other writers explored the challenges people are facing under the weight of immovable systemic powers. Dom Aversano shares some insights on women who are changing the music industry, and Keph Sennett talks to women who are breaking stereotypes in sport. Some writers went after complicated issues such as the treatment of soldiers who go AWOL and the US laws that allow the state to seize property.

During the month of August, Contributoria members will be able to help more than 40 writers in the drafting process for the September issue which is themed ‘Independence’, a subject near and dear to our hearts. The community backed these stories with their Contributoria points, and now everyone has a chance to participate in the journalism process alongside these writers.

The result of collaborating on the commissioning and the editing process will be the next issue of Contributoria, developed entirely by the community with a little guidance from us here on staff.

Like crowdfunding and capitalism one could argue that the open journalism happening here is just publishing by another name, but we think cultivating community-powered journalism is the beginning of something much more interesting and exciting than that.

If you’re not already a member then join now and see for yourself. The future of journalism is already here. We just need your help to evenly distribute it.

Matt, Sarah and Dan

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