We’ve recently been turning our attention to some exciting developments in how people collaborate. Most notably, a new organizational model for empowering communities has been gaining traction over the past few years. This model, which centers around giving communities increased ownership and greater agency to effect change, can be applied across the board. In particular, its application to environmental work presents interesting implications for the future of how we can all work together to address environmental issues. In this post, we explore this new model and take a look at some real world examples.
A DAO, which stands for Decentralized Autonomous Organization, is the new community collaboration model that has been rising in popularity. DAOs involve a group of people with a common goal, shared values, and a shared treasury to fund their activities. Blockchain technology is used to maintain a transparent record of group activities. DAOs typically involve token-based voting as part of their governance mechanism, so using the unforgeable ledger provided by the blockchain is a natural choice. And of course, we favor the use of energy-efficient “proof-of-stake” blockchains to avoid the high levels of energy consumption that “proof-of-work” blockchains have been rightly criticized for.
This model can and has been applied in many areas. Some examples include raising funds to collectively buy a copy of the US Constitution, to collectively own pieces of art, and to lobby for policy change. More notably, DAOs that prioritize social responsibility, increasingly referred to as ImpactDAOs, have emerged. ImpactDAOs may be even more primed to contribute to important social causes than any other organizational structure we’ve seen before, as community members drive the decision-making and can direct where their efforts and funds are going.
In their idealized state, DAOs can be swift, efficient task forces with communal decision-making steering the ship. One key difference when it comes to DAOs versus other organizational structures is ownership. As a DAO member, you typically own a share of the work that the DAO is doing, rather than merely a sense of ownership that participating in conventional crowd-funding may afford. In a way, a DAO is a natural next step in the growth and evolution of organizations. Similar to cell phones going from the brick, to the flip, to the smartphone, the way we do things is evolving as well.
In terms of a successful case study, DAOs are still in their early stages, so we’re still waiting to see! There’s a high potential for conflict and confusion whenever many parties are involved in collaborating, not to mention low voter turnout. While there have been instances of crashing and burning, and even suspected hoodwinking, several DAOs have emerged committed to social impact.
For instance, Big Green DAO, launched by Kimbal Musk, is a community of food insecurity grant recipients. Their goals include educating people about growing their own food, improving how funds are distributed by giving grant making responsibility to those working directly within communities to address food-related concerns. Another example is Regen Network, whose aim is to help reverse climate change by incentivizing regenerative land use practices. Farmers and land stewards can upload data about the land they are working, and interested parties can pay them these contributions.
HabitatDAO, which Temboo is involved with, is working to make environmental data accessible and actionable for communities, with a focus on decentralizing how data is collected, analyzed, and shared. Among their aims are to fund environmental data collection projects, to provide access to hyper-local environmental data that people care about, and to restructure how people communicate about the state of the environment by greatly lowering the barrier to sharing and consuming environmental insights.
While data collection and analysis aren’t exactly groundbreaking, the new, exciting part is the organization around how that happens, or the “O” in DAO. There are many groups out there already collecting and analyzing environmental data. However, HabitatDAO envisions a more efficient, collective way of doing work that’s already happening, with a big focus on making insights about the environment and climate an accessible part of everyday life for all.
Whether you’re interested in helping us help the planet, or if this has simply piqued your interest and you’d like to learn more, check out HabitatDAO’s website for more information.