Open Source Ecology and the Re-Maker Society

Opportunities for UW Makers, Designers, Artists and Engineers

Welcome to UW’s Open Source Ecology project (OSE@UW). Following Marcin Jakubowski’s successful WICI talk in May 2014, OSE@Waterloo has developed a portal to coordinate internship opportunities, open hardware design competitions and Coop placements associated with the Open Source Ecology project in Missouri.


Echoing the University’s renewed commitment to experiential education, OSE@Waterloo is looking to create collaborative making, designing and fabricating opportunities for students from across the University. More specifically, OSE@Waterloo has emerged from a growing commitment within the Department of Environment and Resource Studies (ERS) to innovative courses designed around project-based, kinaesthetic and experiential learning (see the ERS Experiential Learning Group). At the same time the project draws on the enthusiasm and expertise of a diverse team of faculty members drawn from ERS, Knowledge Integration, Engineering and English (not least the Critical Media Lab).

Research on Open Source Fabrication and the reMaker Society

OSE@Waterloo is also part of a wider research project on the problem of economic growth. Humanity is caught in a growth trap. Ending poverty, enhancing and expanding the culture of liberal democracy, sustaining the amazing pace of scientific discovery and technical innovation – all of these cherished goals depend upon continuing economic growth. But growth – i.e. the escalating throughput of energy and materials flowing through human systems – is necessarily achieved at the expense of natural ecological systems and the consumption of finite resources. And although mainstream economics presumes a never-ending cycle of expansion, there are clearly material and ecological limits to growth: nothing can expand indefinitely (at least not without breaking the laws of physics). Every schoolchild knows that rampant consumerism is devastating planetary ecology. But impending resource constraints are likely also to place an unbearable strain on the social and political institutions of liberal societies, and to create geopolitical disorder on an unimaginable scale. Our room for manoeuvre is thus circumscribed – by the maximum scale of economy compatible with the ecological integrity of the biosphere and the minimum scale required in order to sustain a globally-connected, technologically progressive, science-based, liberal-cosmopolitan society. What seems certain is that this leaves no room for rampant consumer capitalism.

Please join us in creating new opportunities for teaching, learning and researching open source hardware, community-based fabrication and a political economy for the post-consumer society.

Contributing to the work of both the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation (WICI) and the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR), the Metcalf Foundation funded project on the reMaker Society explores the possible relevance of community-based fabrication to a post-consumer society. Our idea is that the habit of actually making things may challenge logic of passive consumption whilst engendering a new kind of community-based economy. Although there is a compelling case for low/no growth economics (e.g. Jackson 2009; Victor 2008), this vision has not been demonstrated ‘on the ground’. The convergence of (i) new communication and organizational [open source, P2P] technologies associated with the Internet, with (ii) emerging micro fabrication technologies (e.g. 3d printing) is creating as yet untapped possibilities for small-scale, community-based economy which combines artisanal craftsmanship with both technical innovation and a much more integrated recycling, reuse and repair of material objects. This project tests the capacity of community-based hacking spaces and Maker projects to engage ordinary people, unpick the psycho-cultural attractions of consumerism, change behaviour and transform local economies.

Stephen QuilleyProject Leader:  Dr Stephen Quilley, Associate Professor, Environment and Resource Studies, Director of Development, Waterloo Institute of Complexity and Innovation and interim Co-Director, Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience.

Katie KishProject support: Katie Kish, PhD Candidate, Environment and Resource Studies.

Paul FieguthProject affiliates: Visit our affiliates page to see a full list of our associated faculty, staff and students.

Upcoming Events

In our most recent workshop we built 3 power cubes!


We're finally using our Life Trac designed and built by Open Source Ecology.

#modular #DIY #opensource
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3 days ago

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Our first Open Building Institute webinar of 2017 is happening this Friday, Jan 20, at 11 AM CST. The webinar will include 45 minutes of presentation followed by 15 minutes of Q&A.

We will be covering the off-grid utility systems of the Seed Eco-Home - which is 100% off grid on water and electricity, and we intend to go 100% off-grid on cooking gas and food production in the future. For now, we will cover: water from pond and roof catchment to potable; our 3kW PV system; the open source hydronic stove that can be built for $500 in materials instead of $5k for the cheapest commercial option; the bio-digester for producing cooking gas; heat exchanger for tapping greenhouse heat for space heating; superefficient refrigerator and lighting; separating toilet; and thermoelectric generator.

We are currently still installing the systems, and look forward to publishing the OBI building book e-book - with all this and more documented in a functioning form.

To register for the webinar and to see the schedule, see
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4 days ago

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You have a fascinating mission! Are you familiar with the benefits of corrugated cardboard pallets? Pallets may not sound like a splashy green priority, but they have a bigger impact than one might think and Green Ox is at the forefront of innovation. Made from recycled material, 100& recyclable, all while reducing CO2 emissions while in use. Cost benefits to business and environmental benefits for the planet. Check out our new case study video and let us know what you think! ... See MoreSee Less

5 days ago

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I don't support the troops or the police. ... See MoreSee Less

6 days ago

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3 HONKS for 100MPG!

Did you know the average gas mileage for a passenger vehicle has been 23- 26 MPG for the last 15 years?

Meanwhile, The price of gas has increased over 100% in the last 15 years.

Cars have gotten fancier but MPG’s have remained steady.

We promote transportation that gets higher gas mileage.
Here are some ways to join the 100MPG Club, or at least get closer to it:

Gas bike 120 MPG $300 and up

Sondors Ebike bike $600 and up

DIY Tips


WIKISPEED - Open source car that strives to get 100MPG.

Open Source Ecology -

OSVehicle -

Sondors Electric Car Company - around $10,000

Elio Motors - under $9,000

Urbee Car - ?
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1 week ago

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