Dwindling land for farming? Meet the ‘freight farm’: a reused freight container that grows all sorts of veg in a tiny space. Or check out Mosaic, which hooks small-time investors to clean energy projects, a bit like a facebook for solar panels. Or Bina, where Big Data is put to work to find a cure for cancer.
A lot of these are crowd-funded, or germinated in an internetty-type environment. They beg the question: why the rise in world-saving? What's with all the online do-gooding?
Well, you could make a vague link between techno-altruism and the ascent of Silicon Valley, which always seemed to be at the nicer end of American capitalism (see, for example, Google’s famous ‘Don’t be Evil’ policy).
Or you could point out that the web is all about helping people link up with other people. Webby projects might just have a tendency to altruism built in to them if they're gestated in an amniotic soup of connectivity, rather than, say, warfare.
(Thoughts courtesy of Planning Placement newbie James.)