Six years ago, a small team of academics and journalists launched the first issue of Solutions. The global economy was on a roller coaster, the Arab Spring uprisings were about to start, creating tens of millions of refugees, rising college tuitions drove students in Europe and South America onto the streets, and our ecological destruction continued—the Deepwater Horizon was spilling oil into the Gulf of Mexico, and the IPCC was under fire for suppressing emails supposedly ‘proving’ that climate change was a hoax. While the media covered the depth of the problems, solutions were in scant supply.
The media is a feedback mechanism for society. It provides society an opportunity to understand what is happening and potentially improve its behavior. However, presenting only the problems provides little advice or opportunity to discuss how to improve and develop. Society needs to know what can be done and how we can create a sustainable and desirable future together. People need to learn about what works in order to take effective action. They need to hear about solutions to be inspired, to build on what others are doing, and start implementing their own fixes.
Innovative ideas and solutions already exist and are being put into practice across the world. At the local, regional, national, and global levels, solutions are providing our society with the ideas and possibilities it needs to make a positive, transformative shift. We recognized that these solutions exist; they are just not widely known or distributed.
Over the past six years, Solutions has become a critical part of that distribution and ongoing conversation. Solutions has published well over a thousand articles about solutions on all scales from over 150 countries through the voices of thousands of authors from all walks of life. It has brought together stories of success to create a global integrated network of solutions and connected those needing help with new ideas and people. It has been in the hands of kings, princes, prime ministers, presidents, parliamentary members, Nobel Prize laureates, educators, and millions of others. It has influenced policy-makers and practitioners, helped to restructure curriculum, and changed how students view the world around them. Solutions has also promoted a growing awareness of the need for solutions journalism. Since the launching of Solutions, special issues of Scientific America on solutions were published, the New York Times launched a blog called ‘Fixes,’1 the Solutions Journalism Network was started with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,2 and many other initiatives have been created.
Solutions is now moving into the next stage of its development and we are planning several new initiatives, including:
- Launching a new website in early 2016, incorporating several design and usability improvements.
- A ‘Solutions Society’ that will allow more direct interaction with authors and content, making it easier to share and discuss solutions with friends and colleagues.
- Availability of articles in PDF format and mobile access to all articles.
- Access to entire current and archived issues.
- Solutions forums and conferences online and live that bring together society members and others to develop and implement creative, integrated solutions.
- A special issue on China and ongoing Chinese language versions of selected articles.
- Supporting and promoting new projects that have the potential to make a difference in the world. For example, we have started the Claim The Sky initiative that is calling for citizens and countries to create a global atmospheric trust to help implement the Paris agreement.3 Other projects will follow on a range of topics, including measuring societal well-being, implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, designing a new inclusive, prosperous, and sustainable economy, and many more.
The world needs Solutions now more than ever and we hope you will join us. We are growing in numbers and need everyone to help design a sustainable and desirable future. We cannot predict the future, but together we can create the best one possible.