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Robin ChaseZipcar co-founder Robin Chase is worried about climate change. If countries don’t strictly follow climate-friendly initiatives, we could see the average temperature rise 7 degrees Celsius by 2060. And today’s solutions may not be enough.

“I had to go through this whole mourning process that my children may not live their full natural lives [because of climate change],” she said.

Robin Chase
Robin Chase

But with the power of an open-source approach, Chase believes we could achieve exponential improvements to current climate-change solutions.

Chase delivered these remarks during her keynote address at LinuxCon in Seattle today, where she talked about the value of open-source collaborations in reinventing capitalism and solving some of the world’s largest problems.

Many of Chase’s examples came from her book, Peers Inc, which examines how collaborations are addressing the economy’s growing problems. In her talk, she highlighted how Waze, Airbnb, Zipcar and other shared services show how excess capacity and technology can be combined to create solutions.

Airbnb, Chase noted, has more beds available that the world’s largest hotel group, InterContinental Hotel Group. And it achieved that position after just 4 years in business, while IHG took 65 years to get to its huge number of hotel rooms. That explosive growth is because Airbnb looked to existing infrastructure to build its business.

Chase thinks that this mindset can be put towards solving bigger problems than finding a bed to sleep in. By turning to open-source solutions and relying on collaboration between people and companies, problems like climate change and income inequality could be solved in time to avert disaster.

“You can’t solve exponential problems with linear solutions,” Chase said, quoting Stanford researcher Banny Banerjee. “People have been trying to address climate with these stupid linear solutions.”

Instead, Chase wants the collaborative, open-source community to tackle these problems. The power of large, disparate groups all working toward these goals could, Chase believes, lead to much faster solutions.

“This [peer collaboration] is the structure of our dynamic times,” Chase said. “This is the structure that allows you to experiment, iterate, evolve and adapt.”

The structure for these solutions are already in place. Licenses like GNU General Public License, Creative Commons and the block chain that build community-accessible resources are part of a future where more solutions are community-driven and can grow exponentially.

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