20th April 2018 Perspectives The Technology That Might Save the Amazon Early April saw a victorious moment in efforts to save the Amazon rainforest as Colombia’s highest court ordered the government to take action against the increasing rainforest devastation. In the ruling, the Colombian Supreme Court recognized their region of the Amazon as an “entity subject of rights”, therefore granting the rainforest rights equal to human beings. While this ruling is definitely a step in the right direction, the Amazon is still not far from danger. It is home to various species of rare and common animals, as well as local tribe communities. With a landscape spanning over eight developing countries, the Amazon is a vital resource for locals and there has been a clear correlation between the state of the Amazon and the health of the planet. The region contains almost half of the planet’s surviving tropical forests and the dense flora provides regulation and stability to the global climate. However, with increasing issues like bio-piracy and corrupt land exploitation are bringing the rainforest to ruins. Save the Amazon: A Case for Blockchain Could blockchain be a solution to save the Amazon? A recent video from The Economist illustrated a promising future where blockchain technology could be used to curb bio-piracy and the plundering of the rainforest’s rich resources. Bio-pirates are corrupt entities that take biological resources from rich places like the Amazon and make their fortunes of these resources. The countries of origin are left with both depleted resources, environmental issues, and no share in the gains. To fulfill this great need for preservation and control over the economic value of natural assets, the Amazon Bank of Codes initiative was formed. The Amazon Bank of Codes is a collaboration between the World Economic Forum, the Earth Bank of Codes and the Earth Biogenome Project. Their aim is to assign and classify biological data from every species of plant and animal in the Amazon Basin, logging their genetic sequences on the blockchain. Registering these assets on the blockchain makes it possible to record and track these resources’ provenance and use. In theory, it would thus be possible to trace where these resources go and create a platform for the fair sharing of the benefits with the country of origin. Other Environmental Efforts Other blockchain initiatives to save the Amazon include the work of a Brazilian company called Serpro, that created a blockchain platform to reduce fraudulent land titling in the Brazilian region of the rainforest for the purpose of soy and beef farming. And it isn’t just the Amazon rainforest that needs protecting. Across the globe in Indonesia, the Smart Contract for Good programme was set for a pilot run last year. The programme used smart contracts to reward villages that successfully reduced incidences of rainforest fires to reduce the hazardous peatland haze that plague the nation regularly. It’s still early days for blockchain-based systems in rainforest conservation, but the technology shows promise to provide valuable means for security, funding, and empowerment to offset our negative impact on the environment. Much like the ruling made by the Colombian courts, the Amazon and other natural biomes deserve the right to thrive and be protected from grievous harm. By creating a secure, transparent sharing economy within our planet’s biological resources, we can at least start undoing the damage we have inflicted upon nature and support the conservation of the earth through more sustainable solutions. Did you enjoy this article? You might be also interested in: “Blockchain Technology May be the Future of the Food Industry” Image/Video Credits: Wikipedia, The Economist (YouTube) To learn more about blockchain applications across different industries, visit the Coinify Newsroom.