Fighting Climate Change With Web3: Opportunities At Hand
Climate change is the most pressing challenge of our time, which threatens to claim the lives of billions of people and animals in the decades to come. According to various reports, the effects of climate change such as draughts, floods, extreme weather events, and rising sea levels have already affected, to varying degrees, 85% of the world population. NASA has already warned that the effects of human-caused climate change ‘are irreversible on the timescale of people alive today, and will only continue to worsen’.Despite the numerous climate summits and countries’ commitments to drastically reduce emissions by 2050, the transition to a greener economy will not be easy.
In the past few years, Web3 has positioned itself as a hub for regenerative finance or ReFi–a new economic paradigm that works to counteract the effects of climate change using blockchain technology. New projects and initiatives are proliferating the space putting forward innovative solutions to incentivize businesses and people to take care of the environment. In this article we will touch upon some of the most promising avenues of development and mention some of the initiatives that promise to have a positive impact in the fight against climate change.
Five Major Areas In Which Blockchain Can Make A Difference
Web3 and its underlying technology is increasingly becoming popular across different industries, the reason is simple–blockchain offers greater transparency, improves efficiency and speed of transactions, and allows for easier automation. These features have enabled the creation of new and improved business models that break free from some of the pitfalls associated with the Web2 economy. In turn, this has also opened up interesting opportunities to tackle climate change.
Transparency And Accountability For Supply Chains
When it comes to environmental preservation, the ability of consumers to access accurate and reliable data on the products they purchase plays a fundamental role in creating awareness and promoting accountability. By creating an audit trail that documents the journey of an asset on an immutable and public chain, consumers can verify the veracity of a company’s claim and gather the necessary information they need for an informed choice on its purchase.
Tracing The Impact Of Recycling
Recycling plays an important role in the preservation of our environment. Thanks to recycling we are able to limit the damage to our environment and make our lives more sustainable. However, the current recycling industry suffers from major pitfalls that makes recycling highly inefficient.
First of all, it is extremely difficult to track the impact of recycling and gathering reliable data on the trash cycles. Various reports have pointed to the fact that for the majority of products recycling turns out not only to be less sustainable but even more polluting compared to burning our trash altogether. At the same time, even when recycling does make sense there is little incentive for people to care about it.
In the same way the journey of products can be accurately tracked on blockchain, the cycle of our trash could similarly be monitored and followed so that people can develop better awareness of the limits of recycling as well as its positive impact. Moreover, in countries like Italy, where there is little transparency to where garbage is dumped, the implementation of this technology could help prevent illegal activities and corruption related to waste disposal.
Creating Better Incentives
Web3 offers the possibility to create incentives for people to take better care of their environment and also, get access to the resources they need in order to do it. There are now a large number of projects that put forward innovative solutions to incentivise people to recycle, plant trees, and more.
Making Environmental Treaties Binding
One of the major aspects that make environmental treaties highly inefficacious is that they are non-binding and there are no consequences for governments that do not respect their commitments. Implementing smart contracts when it comes to treaties and commitments signed by countries would be a way to introduce accountability and push governments to do their part. Smart contracts can be written in such a way to automatically enforce the consequences of not abiding to a commitment taken thus deterring negligence and inaction.
Making NGOs More Transparent
There are many NGOs focused on protecting the environment and fighting climate change. However, distrust towards NGOs has been settling in in the past years for their inability to be transparent. Web3 can help NGOs regain their trustworthiness and attract more donors for their causes as well as improve their governance structure through the adoption of on-chain governance.
Top ReFi Projects Currently Building On NEAR
Being a carbon neutral chain, NEAR is attracting several interesting ReFi projects and initiatives to its ecosystem.
Open Forest Protocol
OFP is an open-source protocol built on NEAR that draws on blockchain technology to solve the problem of providing transparency in the measuring, reporting, and verifying of forestation projects around the world. Forestation projects can register through the OFP mobile app while validators around the world use satellite, AI, IoT, and drone technology to confirm the accuracy of the data which is then stored in the blockchain. While validators are compensated with OPF tokens for their work, successful forestation projects can gain access to carbon financing thanks to the transparency and trust that comes with decentralized validation.
Raiz Vertical Farms
Raiz Vertical Farms aims to make the production of fresh products more sustainable and accessible by transforming underutilized urban spaces into vertical farms by using hydroponic technology. By leveraging blockchain technology, Raiz is able to provide complete transparency to its stakeholders and consumers as well as to fundraise community initiative.
Clean NFT Guild
Clean NFT guild is a community of 3,000 artists from around the world who are dedicated to educating and raising awareness around NFTs and ways to improve the environmental impact of releasing them.
ReFi is rapidly expanding across different ecosystems and is bringing with it fresh perspectives on how to address environmental and social challenges. Although ReFi alone is not going to stop climate change, it can at least provide ways to mitigate it and inspire us to overcome detrimental and obsolete business models.
If you are a ReFi project you can learn about funding opportunities available on NEAR by reading this guide to regenerative finance on NEAR.