The rapid adoption of cryptocurrencies has come with increased scrutiny of their environmental impact. While some of the criticism is well deserved, it's worth remembering that not only networks like Polygon can be green, the blockchain technology itself can be used to supercharge sustainability efforts.
Here are some examples of Web3 applications that can make our cities greener, reduce the impact of food production on the environment and improve how we manage our natural resources.
As the saying goes, you can’t improve it if you don’t measure it. Keeping track of environmental indicators is an important part of making good on sustainability pledges. PlanetWatch, based in France, is building a global network of low-cost air-quality sensors and leveraging blockchain technology to incentivize people to join their network while also creating a permanent, tamper-proof air quality ledger.
Agriculture & Animal Husbandry
Knowing where the ingredients in your food come from is key to building consumer support. Transparency is a built-in feature for blockchains and can help establish trust between merchants, sellers, and buyers. AgriDigital, started by Australian farmer founders, uses the technology to keep track of buying, storing, and selling of grains between farmers, merchants, corporations, and even stock traders. Another example is a CO2 Offset Market that incentivizes planting hemp, a carbon-negative crop, allowing farmers to easily tokenize their produce and sell carbon credits.
Transparency can also be an effective tool for putting an end to overfishing. The World Wildlife Fund, SeaQuest Fiji and ConsenSys are building a blockchain system to stamp out illegal tuna fishing by verifying where, when and how the fish was caught. Consumers can get the info by simply scanning a QR code. Similar tools can also help with getting a handle on human rights abuses on the high seas.
Supply Chain Management
Bringing the power of blockchains to bear on supply chain management can help with carbon footprint reduction and uncover unsustainable practices. A creative project team at Heineken used the technology to track five varieties of hops, capturing information about raw material origins, environmental footprints, and fuel and water consumption. The result was an information-loaded QR code consumers could use to see the product’s entire journey, from farm to bottle.
Reducing waste by recycling materials already in use is a major sustainability pillar. Blockchains for waste collection and management can help with tracking of collection locations and destinations and could be used to incentivize people to participate. PlasticBank, powered by Alchemy blockchain platform, is looking to stop plastic before it reaches the ocean by rewarding people for recycling. The project has already recovered over 2 billion plastic bottles, or more than 41 million tons of material.
Peer-To-Peer Energy Trading
The shift to renewables like solar and wind will shift a lot of power generation off the main grid and into the hands of individuals. P2P markets can help smooth that transition along and also solve the last mile problem for some difficulty-to-access areas. Australia-based Power Ledger is connecting communities to create microgrids and help with tracking, tracing and trading of renewable energy.
Non-profit organizations can leverage public ledgers to increase accountability and trust by making their transactions viewable on chain. GiveTrack lets donors see how their money is spent, whether it is a school building in rural Madagascar or an ambulance for a hospital in Uganda.
Making sure consumer products are priced to fully reflect their cost to the environment is a difficult problem. One way to tackle it is to disclose the carbon footprint of goods and incentivize consumers to patronize brands and manufacturers that do well by doing good. CarbonX is an environmental software fintech that is building a peer-to-peer carbon credit trading platform to help consumers make sustainable choices.
While green applications of blockchain are plentiful, the first step in making the technology a net positive for the world is to make sure that the operation of the networks themselves is sustainable. That's why Polygon is eliminating all of the network’s carbon debt going back to inception and then going carbon negative in 2022. The core team has joined with KlimaDAO to buy $400,000 worth of carbon credits and also pledged $20 million in funding to community initiatives and technology projects that combat climate change.
You can read more about how we plan to accomplish this here, check out our Green Manifesto and tune into our blog for the latest from the Polyon ecosystem.
Let’s make meaningful change in the world!
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