It’s in 2022, around the end of February that I joined the community through an invitation by Open Council member Saransh to find a collaborative synergy in the works of the Foundation.

  • Mehul’s journey of Open Research on Foundation’s climate action agenda.
  • Mehul is the Project CWC member of the Foundation.

It was much a different vibe from conventional social workspaces when it came to interaction with the members wherein the space has always been held as open to varying opinions to enable convergence and a positive outlook to move ahead with action.

Initial engagement had rather been about learning technology and its relevance while simply exchanging ideas upon Climate action projects that could potentially be conceptualised. 

Ideas floated around Waste Management, incentives for communities and organisations, Climate Technology Financing Platform for global citizens, and cooperative modules for mining digital currencies using renewable energy.

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Researching upon conventional mechanisms for financing climate technology or projects, there were various observations, which I made, such as follows;

  • There’s loan, grant, equity, Joint Implementation, and carbon credits, as financing instruments. All of them function as capital heavy mechanisms, with plenty of intermediaries acting as frameworks or standards to support and report emission reduction targets or impact claims. Large-scale onboarding of climate projects is missing in an active manner.
  • Initial cost of capital required especially in the energy sector is high and generates slow returns initially while it also brings large scale impact and cost optimisation through constant technological innovation. While at times being sustainable or ecological has turned into a marketing ploy for financing. 
  • While Net-zero pledges are merely pledges afterall, in absence of a global governance system to enforce these pledges, what speaks really is the action that had been largely missing. 
  • There is a dire need for community wide engagement in climate action, which is missing because it’s simply not talked about enough. The coverage for climate change news in mainstream media is poorly malnourished. 
  • I felt curious, if in the name of Web3, overpriced JPEGs that can sell on global open networks, why can’t climate projects be financed peer to peer. Also couldn’t such markets self organise themselves in order to promise a more robust framework for building trust in a cooperative fashion?
  • Concluding to a point of conceptualising the notion of a peer to peer ecological services marketplace.

Alongside I engaged myself towards understanding Foundation’s ongoing projects such as Second Exchange which is a peer to peer open social network.

The idea seems to find similarities to the web torrent application where the number of peers hosting the same content, caters to faster networks and censorship resistance. Like a torrent version of Twitter, without spam or censorship. While I have used online social networks for quite sometime now, little have I seen communities develop on such platforms with granularity. 
What I found intriguing is the mechanism in Second Exchange, wherein for someone to publish content, one needs relayers. This relayer service can be self-hosted or be subscribed to in order to increase audience for the content. While at the same time the Relayers ensure the content is credible, genuine, authentic and untamperable. 

This mechanism made me daydream of a peer to peer climate finance application which could potentially solve the issue of existing financing instruments that currently involve a lot of intermediaries to delegate trust. 

Imagining an application wherein a climate based project such as Agroforestry, renewable energy, biotechnology, and many more, could feature and crowd fund their initiatives, projects or ventures and have them audited by a decentralised network of validating agencies, i.e. relayers. 

Financing may occur using the native currency of the blockchain it is forked on. This would also mean the project initiator may receive the finance in digital currency that may not be acceptable in the regional context to sponsor the initiative. This may mean conversion/exchange to fiat may be subject to open governance via Foundation’s Trust account(s), registered as a Fiscal Host in any local jurisdiction, or economic region.

Elaboration on the idea is in progress along with a background discussion paper submitted on MF’s Public Discussion platform, for further discussion with peers, mentors & General Public from the space of climate, finance and governance, or otherwise, would greatly help. 

I have been following the space in Climate Science and financing since 2021, while engaging with a mycelium biotech based startup, which shifted its focus to a cooperative pool management firm for climate based projects.

Way forward

Read Call for Open Research:

Possible Proof of Concepts of Open Research conducted on Climate protocols, on a sample pool of data, from the Foundation’s community, active financial inclusion projects in low income regions.

Research topics:

1. Plastic waste management incentive mechanisms

2. Climate Technologies; state of things, standards for Impact Claims, emerging methodologies, incentives

3. Organic farm and production projects in Auroville, and bioregion; barriers, needs and potential cooperative concept; education, awareness, shared resources for larger outreach, local community engagement and incubation

Read Open Research guidelines.

Open Source Intelligence Network

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash
Photo by Karsten Würth on Unsplash

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