The Web3 space has a complicated relationship with environmental protection. Cryptocurrencies are known to be energy-intensive, thus making Web3 sustainability initiatives self-contradictory. However, it is undeniable that some Web3 features, such as the metaverse, VR technologies, and NFTs are increasingly being used to increase public awareness of sustainability issues. This article takes a look at the notable Web3 initiatives aimed at protecting our earth and enhancing sustainability in 2022.
Arcadia Earth is a U.S.-based company that tackles environmental preservation themes in upcycled installations made with materials such as plastic bags, toilet paper rolls salvaged from hotels, and pages from books discarded by the New York Public Library. In early May, visitors to Arcadia Earth’s New York location can use one of the 30 available HoloLens headsets to explore a space equipped with 10,000 square feet of AR holograms.
As they journey through the immersive exhibits guided by virtual arrows, visitors can engage in a “scavenger hunt” for AR jewels and unlock climate change trivia through the HoloLens. In a room focused on ocean ecology, visitors are greeted by swimming AR sharks and fish, some of which are caught in physically installed nets; visitors can “free” the AR fish through pinching gestures, which are picked up by the HoloLens.
In November, the Indian travel booking platform MakeMyTrip launched a limited NFT collection depicting India’s top travel destinations, with part of the sales proceeds going toward promoting sustainable tourism in India.
In Paris, the five-star Hotel Lancaster partnered with plastic waste removal marketplace Plastiks to mint its first batch of NFTs. Each NFT showcases a different guest room in the hotel and includes a one-night stay for two, as well as a guarantee that a ton of plastic waste has been removed from the environment in Brazil.
Meanwhile, in Indonesia, NFTs are being used to protect the cultural heritage of endangered indigenous groups by recording their music and rituals and pairing them with traditional handicrafts made by those groups, offering NFT buyers a tangible, phygital experience.
On November 22, state-run China Daily teamed up with tech giant Baidu on the launch of a digital collectible series, launched on Baidu’s digital collectible platforms “D+” and “Galaxy Pocket” (星际口袋). The collection features four paintings of the rare, endangered crested ibis, which is found almost exclusively in China.
The collectibles were released to commemorate the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands hosted by China and the 40th anniversary of China’s protection of the species. Each painting has an edition of 1,250 copies made available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Earlier this year, In March 2022, Baidu and the Shan Shui Conservation Center, a Chinese environmental protection organization, jointly issued a collectible series that features endangered species in China. The digital collectible for each animal was limited to 16,666 copies, all of which quickly sold out.