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I now understand the saying "People overestimate what they can achieve in a year, but underestimate what they can achieve in 3 years.”

So, for the last 12 months I have been working on the Geoblocs platform.

The first version took a lot of time and money and by the end was completely unstable, culminating in it getting hacked and then crashing and burning. This happened at the event where I was supposed to be launching the platform.

At this stage I was faced with trying to patch it up or completely pulling the plug and starting from the ground up. I chose the latter. We were able to resurrect most of the original so we parked it on another server and then used it as a template to build the new one. On a new architecture, a new server, and most importantly a new developer. This all happened around July-August, so fast forward to now; the site is very nearly complete and the blockchain integration is looking really good. It will offer a frictionless experience even to people with little blockchain experience.

On the ground we have been busy on Mindanao with our test plot.  We have also helped the community by buying a de-pulper and a dehuller for coffee. This will help lessen the workload and improve output. We are in talks with the Shindig festival who sponsored the project to sell the coffee at the festival next year.

We have been steadily growing the network and are now actively working in several Barangays on Mindanao. We have joined forces with Gainforest to help collect data from the existing forests and they pay the communities for the data.

We have also started a really interesting project in West Cork, that focuses on a stretch of the river Caha. This is re-wilding/holistic management to create a highly biodiverse biotope.

Some other exciting news is we will be going to Mindanao in March 2024 with a small film crew to make a documentary about GEIA and the work we are doing. This will show how even small changes can make a huge difference when we think regeneratively. This journey is all about collaboration and what at first seemed a daunting, all but impossible, task is now looking like it has a fighting chance.

It is becoming glaringly obvious now that our only hope is a ‘regen' economy. I believe we have to capitalise on capitalism. We can create way more abundance regenerating her than we ever made destroying her, and there are so many people in this space who are working towards this goal.

"We are the regen generation,”

The good news is that now, a whole

12 months later, we have finally secured sites on which to begin the project.

The hurdles we have had to overcome from regional instability to bandwidth issues and lack of infrastructure have been a steep learning curve and have made us realize even more the complexity of regenerating degraded land, and that in order to do this properly, so that all stakeholders are in the loop, we must create a mechanism that is beyond reproach.

The more time I spend in this space the more I realize that it has become just another industry and that the people at the coalface are generally not seeing the benefits. This is obviously not exclusively the case and there are some amazing projects that are striving to get it right,

but for every one of them there are others who still perpetuate the myth of "give us a buck and we will plant a tree for you", as often as not the wrong tree in the wrong place with an abysmal survival rate. But again this has only reinforced in me the need to build a universally accessible system that makes sure the right trees get planted in the right place for the right people.

So our first plot is in northern Cameroon and is designated part of the great green wall, where we will in conjunction with the land owner be doing a mix of natural regeneration and agroforestry.

The land is currently a mix of native shrub and subsistence farming, and for the most part heavily degraded and vulnerable to drought.

The second plot is on Mindanao in the Philippines and is part of a larger project to protect and preserve a sacred forest which is home to the tribes of the Higa-Onon people. The forest is currently under threat from a multitude of fronts from logging, hunting and the ever encroaching palm oil interests.

Our approach is to work with the communities on the fringes of the forest to help restore the degraded land back to productivity therefore taking the pressure off the forest, using a blend of native species and agroforestry, which has a high biodiversity and social impact. By being able to create jobs and food security through regeneration we hope to be able to empower a generation of young people to see the real value in their forest and not be tempted by the easy money.

As you can imagine there is a lot of work going on in the background. All this to the backdrop of a global pandemic has made the last year a challenging one, but there is an amazing community of people in this space who are sharing and supporting the ever growing movement.

So I for one am looking forward to 2022 with optimism and the belief that we are the

re-gen generation and we will get it done.

Thomas Richardson.

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

The monetization of nature is happening. The economic value of biodiversity, carbon drawdown, land and soil regeneration is being accounted for and financialized. This is a double-edged sword.

In many ways, this true-cost accounting, that is, accounting for the very real value of the natural world around us and the natural resources we depend on, is long overdue. It allows us to garner the economic resources needed to save what remaining nature and biodiversity we have. It gives us the potential to increase tree-cover, biodiversity and soil health. It may allow us the resources needed to save the planet and our future on it.

But it also ushers in the possibility for another reality. One where big money is land grabbing, creating monoculture forests for their carbon drawdown and carbon credit potential, actually creating biodiversity deserts. This is the privatization of nature, and the only way it can be halted is by empowering individuals to be custodians of their own space, to create models for the sequestration that we need to be facilitated without the transfer of land rights.

Nature, and human wellness, these two invaluable resources that have for so long been external to our economic system, are becoming internalized within it. If we are not vigilant about the way they are internalized, and we are not remaking the economic system they are internalized to, we are simply continuing a colonial economic model of extraction.

We have to break this extractive colonial model, or else individuals will be pushed into poverty and corporations will own vast tracts of land, will have ownership of nature, in the name of saving our climate.

We believe collective action is the answer. If we invest collectively in regenerating land and the people who own, work and live on that land, we can stop this extractive mindset from creating more oppression in the name of carbon drawdown. Our collective power can create abundance for everyone from the value of regenerative agriculture, carbon sequestration and biodiversity regeneration. It can create models for a sustainable future that belongs to us all.

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