For the past two years OpenEarth Foundation has been advancing big picture, planetary-scale innovations around climate action and environmental resilience. We are proud of what we have accomplished for such a young organization, and we believe there is still so much yet to achieve in order to tackle both the climate and biodiversity crises.
What is it that makes OpenEarth so unique and inspiring for such a young organization? The answer leads us down the path of different technology paradigms and systems thinking, but ultimately they all have one thing in common: radical collaboration on how to build open sourced Earth Technology (#EarthTech).
OpenEarth is a nonprofit organization, meaning that our global mission drives all of our actions and decisions. Our mission is to collaborate to create and deploy open source technology solutions for a thriving planet. This mission centers around planetary resilience and encouraging necessary collaboration to scale innovation faster and build capacity around efforts to battle the climate crises. Despite all the reasons that divide us as humans today, we must put our differences aside and be solution-oriented on this challenge which is having such drastic impacts to our planet Earth. As an open sourced nonprofit, we are not motivated to build solutions for ourselves, but for the collective mission that Earth Comes First.
Our team started with just three members back in 2020 including Martin Wainstein, our Executive Director and Founder. This small team set out to raise funds for tackling a highly ambitious and innovative goal to avenge the climate emergency with new technology solutions. Having worked on the use of Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) for Renewable Energy Credits, the idea was born to gather NFT digital artists and organize a charitable auction called the CarbonDrop. The call for collaboration on this NFT auction was a huge success with popular artists like Beeple and Refik Anadol coming together to battle the climate crisis. What was especially unique about this fundraiser was that each artists’ piece received 60 carbon offsets (totaling 500 C02e tons of proven and unique credits of emission reductions for the entire auction). Each unique carbon offset is pegged to the unique artwork in order to compensate for the underlying emissions from NFT minting. This spawned a new way of thinking about NFT mining, begging the question: could NFTs be a vehicle for environmental action?
It was an event that gathered a group of concerned artists, NGOs, companies and technology platforms working together to make a statement on climate, demonstrating the role we humans can play when we collaborate. The auction and its support enabled the organization to grow in hopes of expanding to a collaborative world-wide team.
Due to the success of this unique funding opportunity, OpenEarth established itself further with the development of the OpenClimate program. OpenClimate grew the idea that in order for the Paris Agreement to be effective, we need a digitally integrated a nested climate accounting system to take stock of our collective progress. OpenClimate has developed a proof of concept for utilizing verified credentials with the government of British Columbia through BC’s Mines Digital Trust project. Through collaboration and pushing the boundaries to leverage innovative open technology (such as Hyperledger Indes and Aries), OpenClimate models what’s possible in a connected world that prioritizes both privacy and transparency. Collaboration like this has the potential to ultimately improve the fragmentation in the climate crisis that has prevented real-time progress and defined climate solutions. The OpenClimate team is currently focused on creating a first iteration of what nested climate accounting for non-state actors can look like. In order to do that, we leverage key partnerships including the Data Driven Enviro-Lab (DDL) and OS-Climate to illustrate how nested accounting and federated data nodes can lead to increased decentralized interoperability. Interoperability has been a key facet of the work in the OpenClimate program, as we know that decision makers need aggregated insights in order to determine the most impactful actions to take and being able to collect and process data is the best way to facilitate these important insights.
The positive changes that could happen with innovative ideas like nested climate accounting and applying blockchain technology to climate data are the drive for the stubborn optimism that keeps us fighting for action oriented solutions. Our team is hopeful that actions today can carry forward a thriving planet for future generations, but the reality is: we cannot do it alone. The solutions we research and the collaborations we convene, create ideas and networks that could make a huge impact in climate action when pushed together. Ultimately, we are a team of passionate creatives looking to collectively enhance planetary resilience through transparency, collaboration and tech innovation…but this is just the beginning.
The OpenEarth team has grown from three in 2020 to over 20 in 2022 with expansion to team members in over seven countries. The work we do, the research we conduct and the innovation we continue to carry out have spread through the climate tech community and caught the attention of some of the biggest players in the climate sector. Our partnership with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was signed in 2022 as we co-create with them a digital age with emerging technological tools to manage climate data, meet core human needs, and establish accountability frameworks. This year we partnered with the Costa Rican government and local NGOs to leverage technology and design news instruments to scale financing for ocean conservation and to think through the design of nature-based currencies linked to the health of ecosystems.
In the past year, we have grown our community of technical experts we can rely on through the Climate Action Data 2.0 (CAD2.0) community co-convened by OpenEarth, DDL and the Camda secretariat. This community has played a key role in understanding the landscape of climate action, identifying gaps and opportunities for enabling the digitization of the independent Global Stocktake. This community contributes case studies, events, publications, and networking opportunities to further climate action. The CAD2.0 community recently launched a Global Stocktake Climate Datathon aiming to improve our collective understanding of progress toward the Paris Agreement goals.
We have also deepened our collaboration with major Web3 innovative technology companies and organizations, receiving research grants from both Chainlink and Regen Network. We have also received contributions from long standing philanthropic organizations such as the Carnegie Foundation and the Hewlett Foundation, showcasing that the world is ready for innovative ideas and the applied research we produce that would have been science fiction in prior decades.
The journey at OpenEarth is just in its first stages and there are only high hopes for the accomplishments to come, but with such big ideas come great collaborations, because when we open our technology, data, hearts and minds, we Open Earth.
The invitation is humbly extended to the community in joining our mission’s journey on the path of transparency and innovation through new technologies, and our open source and digital public infrastructure for Earth system management models.
Want to learn more about our programs and how to contribute?
UN Climate Change Global Innovation Hub