Learning from nature's stewards: a cryptocurrency to reverse deforestation
Although only 5% of the population, Indigenous Peoples protect more than 80% of our planet's biodiversity - but they struggle finding funding. The Kayapo people, an indigenous tribe protecting the largest continuous tropical forest area in the Amazon, have an evocative word for money. They call it piu caprim — the 'sad leaves'. Money has in the past motivated illegal land invasions, destroyed their natural world and corrupted tribe members. However, just like a leaf has two sides, there can also be good incentives that can motivate, engage and empower local communities, and ensure the protection of the natural world. What if we can re-channel self-interest into urgently needed climate actions? GainForest is a decentralised green fund that uses blockchain technology and artificial intelligence to reward sustainable nature stewardship. It leverages our research in remote sensing and recent innovation in cryptocurrencies to estimate the value of forests, and is co-designed with the help of representatives of the Kayapo tribe in Brazil to create novel incentives that can unlock unprecedented continuous funding for our natural world. The system is now being piloted in protected areas in Brazil, Chile, Namibia, and the Philippines, and together, we can fund the protection of our natural world. Preserving it For us, and our children.