Technical Creativity Needs Nurturing at the Grassroots Level

Technical Creativity Needs Nurturing at the Grassroots Level

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Efforts to promote sustainable development must tap into technologies developed locally, driven by community needs and priorities. The products of modern science and technology (S&T), from chemical pesticides to carbon-emitting combustion engines, are frequently blamed — with some justification — for the unsustainable use of the planet’s resources.

At the same time S&T offers a variety of tools for sustainable development — from forms of pest control that work with, rather than against, natural ecosystems, to cost-effective devices for producing renewable energy. This creates a dilemma. We cannot reject technological tools in the quest for a sustainable future. But equally, without a radical transformation of how society defines and uses S&T, current patterns of growth and use of resources are unlikely to change. Providing greater support for grassroots innovation in the developing world could be an important part of such a transformation: it encourages technological development from the ground up, and nurtures the creative and technical skills of communities.

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