Is a radically dematerialized future within reach? The sustainability movement doesn’t seem to pay much attention to blockchain.
It has either ignored or deplored, the virtual world. Sustainability seeks to save our physical lives on earth, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear, the air we breathe and the changing climate we now live in.
The metaverse on the other hand, is a relatively new phase that promises a pixelated escape from that fragile earthly reality.
But pause and think a minute: the metaverse is already driving sustainability, and it has the potential to turn material consumption on its head. Because all those pixels could drive out all the planet damaging stuff from our economies. According to a 2022 survey of nearly 5.700 consumers in the U.S. and Europe, those who are more likely to purchase sustainable products are also more than twice as likely to also shop in the metaverse.
Biologically, wealth is a display of excess, evidence of a potential mates success in the game of life.
Just like a peacock’s feathers display its abundance of energy, thanks to it’s skill at finding food and avoiding predators, so does expensive suits and diamond rings evidence their wearers resources.
For those of you raised in capitalist democracies, status symbols have been stable value for decades.
Affluent lifestyles are accelerating the environmental crisis.
So why not scale meaningful climate action with Web3?
It is really exciting to discover a space that hasn't been explored yet. It is a space in which there’s no need for something to be “real” to be relevant or commercialized and Web3 will speed that transition.
The internet’s rapid encroachment on daily life for the majority of the world can hardly be overstated.
What was once physical is already becoming merely tokens or pixels.
Young peoples upbringing in the digital space is already priming them to blur the lines between the digital and physical, to create status virtually and send those signals using social media, without needing to consume precious physical resources.
We should bear in mind that moving status online will never be about everyone becoming less superficial or more virtuous.
There will be cheating, unfairness and manipulation, just like there is in the physical world.
Global coordination technologies that can transcend the mass bureaucratization of climate action are urgently needed.
But will we all go virtual in time to save the planet?