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Responding to Australia's water crisis: Idea Central, ground-breaking international online event for public and experts to have their say, find solutions

Submitted by: Circle of Blue

Categories: Environment, Research, Reports & Publications

Posted: Mar 18, 2009 – 01:00 PM EST


"Many of the bitter environmental lessons being learned
here in Australia will be important lessons for the whole of the human race."

Mar. 18 /CSRwire/ -

  • "Many of the bitter environmental lessons being learned
here in Australia will be important lessons for the whole of the human race."

  • Global call for public and experts to share best ideas, stories, experiences about international and Australia water crisis

  • Australia's epic drought, a warning of global water scarcity
LONDON - March 18, 2009 - Circle of Blue, the international multi-media online news organization, and Imaginatik, the London- and Boston-based collaborative software firm, today launched Circle of Blue Idea Central — a first of its kind online global survey event that captures ideas from people around the world to help solve the crisis of water scarcity in Australia's prime food-growing region, the Murray-Darling River Basin.

The innovation follows Circle of Blue's recently released report, "The Biggest Dry," a penetrating and provocative multi-media look at the consequences of the 12-year drought that is damaging the nation's ability to feed itself, imposing profound changes on the land, and pushing people out of their homes.

"As journalists we usually report the news and move on," said J. Carl Ganter, Circle of Blue director and co-founder. "In Australia our team reports the stories from the front lines with depth, clarity and context, but this time we've got a chance to reach beyond and illuminate the solutions."

"Idea Central is a novel and powerful way for people with all kinds of experiences and viewpoints to share their thoughts, suggestions, existing knowledge and solutions about the crisis in the Murray-Darling Basin," said Mark Turrell, president of Imaginatik.

Idea Central is an advanced online tool that allows users from students to scientists, farmers, engineers, and policy makers to submit and share ideas and stories in realtime and collaborate using other people’s insights.

Idea Central encourages thousands of online visitors from Australia and around the world to be part of a global discussion and generate solutions to the Murray-Darling Basin's water challenge. The ideas also will be valuable to people facing similar problems in other parts of the world.

"This is an era of enormous challenge and complexity," Ganter said. "It's also an era of ideas, intellect and collaboration. It has to be. The problems of the world are too big, too involved, too difficult for any one human institution to solve on its own."

Idea Central recognizes that no one person can solve the global fresh water crisis, which is scorching southeast Australia and the Murray-Darling Basin. But people working together, sharing ideas, and communicating them globally can make a difference.

"We tap into the power of many, effectively creating a human laser beam," Turrell said. "We face great challenges today in many parts of the world, but we have a rare opportunity to bring together the problem solvers and organize their ideas into invaluable responses that are relevant worldwide. Everyone has something to say, an idea to share, an important question to ask. That's the only way we can have a chance to respond quickly, fairly and smartly."

It’s easy to get involved in the Murray-Darling Idea Central. The online survey will generate great ideas and to use them as the starting point for a global discussion that will be seen and influence business, policy, and personal decisions in Australia and worldwide. What people think will be read and considered around the world.

Yet in spite of the odds against any individual making progress in this incredible global emergency, unprecedented new tools are connecting people and solutions around the world. Arguably, the online global conversations now happening about the collapsing economy, climate change, human rights, and environmental sustainability are the most important new social and policy trend on the planet. The reason: we have the capacity to quickly collect all ideas, sort through the best, and act on them.

The Idea Central online event opens today and will close on April 18. People from all walks of life, from all disciplines, from all parts of the world are invited. Participants can see their contributions and read those from others. They can disseminate them online to Web site and blogs, front offices and newsrooms. They can send ideas to business executives and government leaders at every level — and invite them to participate.

All contributions will be read by a panel of experts. Circle of Blue will produce a special report later this year informing policy makers around the world, and that helps guide further reporting on the global fresh water crisis.

Participate in Idea Central here:

Images and Footage

Photographs and high-resolution video available to media.

About Circle of Blue

Circle of Blue is the international, nonpartisan network of leading journalists, scientists and communications design experts that reports and presents the information necessary to respond to the global fresh water crisis. It is a nonprofit affiliate of the international water, climate and policy think tank, the Pacific Institute, and publishes WaterNews, the daily go-to source for global water news and data. Circle of Blue has presented at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Aspen Environment Forum, and the World Economic Forum. Circle of Blue adheres to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. It received initial development funding from the Ford Foundation.

Circle of Blue is also co-founder of Designing Water's Future, the international contest that challenges cross-disciplinary student teams from colleges and universities around the world to develop communications design solutions focused on the water crisis.

Circle of Blue's reporting is only possible through the generous financial support of individuals, foundations and companies. Contribute online. For sponsorship opportunities, contact

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About Imaginatik

Imaginatik is the leading provider of innovation and collaborative problem solving software and process to the world's leading companies. More than 100 clients rely on Imaginatik's software, consulting and research to enable their most productive innovation activities. Named as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, Imaginatik's software and services have helped companies and organizations discover new ideas and innovations used to solve complex problems.

For more information, please contact:

J. Carl Ganter Circle of Blue
Phone: 202.351-6870
Peter Propp Imaginatik
Phone: 203.434-4234


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