The climate crisis is here.
For a growing number of people, it can be difficult to maintain a sense of hope about solving it. While there is no single solution to the many environmental crises we collectively face, blockchain technology could provide a platform for accelerated coordination technologies and other much-needed solutions to help us solve Earth’s most pressing matters.
The climate crisis, or what I call “Earth System Failure,” is the result of human beings burning or releasing greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and others that are heating the planet at a rate that life cannot adjust to comfortably.
This excess heat is causing severe storms, droughts, floods, sea-level rise, and persistent and recurring heat waves. Those are not the only consequences. Our ability to grow food is being hampered, mass extinctions of insects, animals, corals, and plants are occurring, and our ability to secure clean air and water is becoming harder.
The climate crisis is especially difficult because virtually everything that we eat, use, and consume is helping cause it: driving a car, eating a steak, and drinking out of a single-use plastic bottle are all fossil fuel-intensive activities. On top of these behaviors, deforestation is a huge issue, in the Amazon in particular.
These irreplaceable rainforests, which sequester carbon and prevent Earth from warming too much, are being cut down, primarily to make grazing land for beef and planting soybeans. The Arctic, which reflects heat back to space while cooling the planet, is being drilled for more oil. These activities have to be stopped if we are going to make life habitable for our species. Thus, we will need to reimagine the way we treat Earth and how we use its resources. Blockchain technology might be able to help us do that.
This is thanks to blockchain’s ability to store transactions and data on a network (a chain) of computers (blocks). While banks, corporations, and governments are often hacked due to their reliance on a single point of entry into data systems (like a server or cloud), the blockchain keeps information secure by distributing it across a network. There’s a lot more to it than that, but the main point is that the blockchain offers more security and transparency than systems of the past.
RChain, currently in testnet 2, plans to build the fastest, most scalable, most secure, fully concurrent, proof-of-stake blockchain in the world. The goal of RChain is to build a more secure and robust platform that operates at Visa-level speeds. On most other blockchain networks currently in operation you have to wait for one transaction to process, then another, like waiting in line on the internet. That makes things really slow. RChain’s unique programming language, Rholang, will enable us to overcome these issues.
How can blockchain technology help solve the climate crisis? The video above summarizes key points, focusing on reducing waste through improved supply chain management, charity validation and transparency, and the use of crypto-based rewards programs that incentivize good behavior.
Most blockchain enthusiasts know this technology removes the need for middlemen in a multitude of applications and business scenarios. One example is the growing number of blockchain-based projects managing the sale of solar energy back to the grid in an effort to distribute it to areas that need it most.
Other projects monitor the catching, distribution, and sale of seafood in an effort to make sure that protected oceans remain protected. Consumers receive the fish they are advertised, which is a bigger problem than one may think. There are many supply chain management systems, especially in agriculture, badly in need of the kind of oversight, transparency, and accounting.
Furthermore, blockchain can offer “banking” solutions to climate refugees and other unbanked or financially destabilized people. The current financial system is simply not equipped to handle the mass migration of millions of people across international borders. In this way, the climate crisis generations will rely more and more on cryptocurrencies to survive.
Here are a few blockchain projects focused on helping solve the climate crisis. If you know of any other projects in this space, feel free to let us know in the comments below. Better yet, we’d be delighted if you attend one of our member meetings or become a member of RChain.
- WePower is a blockchain-based green energy trading platform
- Power Ledger makes it easy for people to invest in renewables using blockchain
- Nori is building a blockchain-based carbon removal marketplace
- Fishcoin is a seafood traceability company that runs on the blockchain
- Foodshed.io aims to reduce food waste and carbon pollution using the blockchain
Why does RChain care about the climate crisis?
In the words of RChain President, Greg Meredith,
“I have been thinking about delivering the technical tools associated with RChain to humanity for a quarter of a century. As a part of becoming someone who could deliver these tools, I had to grow. That meant learning a lot more about what service is, what coordination is, what technology is, what play is, and who I am.
During that process, it became clear to me that there are layers of ‘technology’ that need to be available to us to make our way toward a regenerative culture. It’s not just hardware, wires, circuits, chips, satellites, lasers, and the like. Nor is it just software, algorithms, or mathematical abstractions.
One layer is social technology. These are socially-accepted means by which the collective and the individual talk to each other. This includes forms like the scientific process, where behavior is normalized by consensual validation, as well as decision-making processes like voting. These have to become informed by a richer, more engaged and engaging self at the individual and collective level. For example, humans play. This is part of how we learn and how we live. Social technology must be playful or it won’t bring out our real selves, either our individual selves or our collective selves.
Another layer is sometimes seen as more esoteric, but it doesn’t have to be. If you dig deep into the spiritual traditions, be it Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Sufism or Islam, you will find several common practices related to the development of attention, the awakening of the mind, the opening of the heart, and the lightening of the body. In many ways, these practices help us to remember how to put ourselves in help’s way, rather than constantly dealing with how to get out of harm’s way. So much of this is creating pathways for access to conscience.
With access to conscience we often find that even though there are just as many unintended consequences to the execution of our best-laid plans, many of those consequences turn out better than we expected and better than we deserved. We need that now. We are facing an existential crisis that is demanding that we up our game. In my experience, there is a direct connection between the inner climate, what people experience internally, and the outer climate. As long as there is an inner climate that is at risk, the outer climate will also be at risk.”
What can we all do to help solve the climate crisis?
While it’s true that individual action alone cannot solve the issues our planet faces, each one of us can help inspire other people to take action and help them realize how serious this crisis is. It helps society evolve by leading by example and puts pressure on governments and corporations. Here is a list of things that every one of us can do to help solve the climate crisis:
- Eat less meat and fish
- Buy less stuff
- Plant trees or a garden
- Share your thoughts about the climate crisis on social media. The more people know, the more likely they are to act themselves, along with you! We have to get people to understand that humans cannot live without nature.
- Vote for politicians who care about the climate crisis and have a plan to solve it quickly and comprehensively. Bring your friends to vote with you!
- Support companies that run on clean energy
- Donate to a project that is preventing deforestation, coral reef destruction or focuses on another aspect of the climate crisis
- Pick up trash in your area, or join a beach clean-up. If we all take care of our local environments, then the whole Earth will be taken care of. This is the #GLOCAL mentality.
- Boycott any corporation that is not behaving in a way that you believe is correct. Every purchase you make is a vote. Tweet them, call them, email them, and let them know how to change their behavior if they want your business back.
- Buy and use less plastic
- Drive and fly less. Bike and walk more, and use more public transportation.
- Run for office yourself to help write legislation to make faster progress on climate change
- Help someone else run for office or volunteer for a candidate that you believe in who cares about the climate crisis and wants to save Earth now
- Start your own company, foundation, start-up or weekly meet-up group to tackle local climate crisis or environmental #GLOCAL issues
- Help RChain find new community members or potential partners who care about climate and the true goals of the RChain platform