Earth Dollar

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""Unlike other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Earth Dollar is backed by real natural capital assets such as land, water, or forests that have been offered as guarantee by indigenous peoples and other landowners.

Indigenous nations have already pledged approximately 18,000,000 hectares of land, which will be protected as World Heritage Sanctuaries, to back the value of the Earth Dollar. Early partners include the Anishanbe (Algonquin) Nation of the Ottawa River Watershed, Aiken Lake Nation, Tsek’ehne Nation, and the Kingdom of Polynesia.

Kam’s innovation means that every Earth Dollar that is created essentially shifts part of the natural world out of the old extraction economy and into the new sustainable economy, where the value of the currency increases in real terms when the Earth’s treasures and resources are safeguarded.

A mechanism called “World Basic Income” will provide additional revenue in Earth Dollars to communities In return for protecting and sustaining the living world, helping to tackle the effects of poverty in many of the world’s most sensitive regions of natural beauty.

In addition to massive areas of the natural world, a wide range of intellectual property is also being offered to back the Earth Dollar economy, from owners including musicians, artists, film-makers, all willing to pledge their assets to the cause of eradicating poverty." (


James Quilligan:

"I am very glad to see this. Some people are beginning to think in innovative ways about saving resources for future generations and how the guarantee of this protection creates sustainable value which can be readily used as the reserve value of a new currency. But this proposal by Earth Dollar has a lot of problems. The first is the sale of the tokens themselves: it ensures that the whole scheme will be financial, rather than monetary. That is no way to launch a sustainable currency: right from the start, the money is embedded into the present market system, leaving no means of becoming independent of national sovereign currencies. The second problem is the notion of sovereignty itself.

As sympathetic as I am for indigenous people and their claims as the original owners of land and resources, I think this needs some reexamination. Unfortunately, when tribal peoples claim they are sovereign, they are using the very language and conceptual argumentation that were used against them by the colonists who encroached upon or occupied their territories: "we are sovereign over this land and resources, and you are not!". This is fundamentally an argument about ownership -- and it implies little recognition that land and resources actually belong to everyone, regardless of nation, and that they need to be apportioned, accessed and used on that basis. So, there is a deep contradiction in the proposal of sovereign tribes guaranteeing land and resource sustainability as a basis for a new kind of equitable currency for the world: in the end, the sovereign still holds the power. The truth is that the commons are far more ancient than the 'First World' peoples themselves, so their claims to their tribal lands should be respected, but in no way deemed indubitable or binding. Alas, we are all immigrants from somewhere else, even our indigenous brothers and sisters, and, truth be told, all of us together have inherited these lands and resources from the elements of the stars themselves. At this moment in history, it's time to claim our responsibility for these commons, rather than our rights to them.

Here's the point: there has to be some basis, other than 'sovereignty', for claiming the legitimacy and trust for using and accessing land and resources, as well as the legitimacy and trust to set them aside for future generations. While I am deeply disturbed and ashamed by the heritage of colonialism and what it has done to indigenous people around the world, and while I recognize the abiding commitment of many tribal nations for protecting Mother Earth, it must be recognized that when we legitimize the sovereignty of a people -- any people -- we are mainly empowering their *nationalism* to control the decision-making over their own territory vis a vis the interests of areas outside their direct control. Is the world really prepared to hand over the authority for its monetary policy to yet another hegemon (or group of authorities) when what they are promising is based solely on sovereign claims and guarantees? Doubtful. Third, the UN is no place to go to generate or approve a proposal for a new currency based on sovereign reserves because the United Nations is itself the ultimate club of sovereign nations. When it comes to money, the UN has no interest in anything but the sovereign currencies of its member states, nor does it have power to generate an international monetary program. This proposal will raise smiles and will be warmly embraced by some smaller nations at the UN, but it is not the right arena. (Chances are slightly better at the IMF, where the topic of monetary reserves will certainly be on the table again during the next economic crash.) Lastly, what would a post-sovereign monetary system look like? Much too big of a topic to address here. Suffice to say that, during this century, the framework we now call sovereignty will be superseded by a new protocol for sustainability, as governing units of every scale are defined by their capacities for resource preservation and durability rather than their sovereign control. Local and regional understanding and responsibility for sustainability is what empowered indigenous peoples within their own territories initially, and why their identification with the process of sustainability ultimately led to their claiming the sovereign rights to sustain this process. That is to say: for previous generations of indigenous peoples, sustainability meant not only their responsibility for sustainable ecologies, but also for the sustainable governance of these ecologies. But in the clash of tribal cultures with colonialists, the idea of sustainable governance gradually became associated with the policy language of the ruling colonial victors: sovereign rights. Yet the primal idea that has been with humanity since its origins -- that the ethic of sustainability for this race and its environment is far more essential than sovereign control -- is reemerging now, though still inchoate, still not touching into mainstream discourse or policy. Yet it will happen: the nations' sovereign lands and resources will become the people's sustainable lands and resources. Indeed, it has already begun to turn in that direction, inspired by the many groups that are working to replenish the commons and to create peer-to-peer governance for this process." (