COVID-19 Support for Indigenous Communities

COVID-19 Support for Indigenous Communities

We’ve been hearing about Indigenous communities who are particularly hard hit by COVID economically and health-wise. Here are links to financially support them if you’re able. If you’re a person who has benefited from the healing traditions of specific Indigenous communities, we recommend you reach out to your contacts with them and ask how you can support. If you know of more links than what we’ve posted below, please get in touch.

Shipibo people in Peru: https://www.gofundme.com/f/shipibo-people-covid19-emergency

Kamëntšá community in Sibundoy, Putumayo Columbia: https://www.circleofsacrednature.org/

Wixarika Nation (Huichol): https://www.gofundme.com/f/wixarika-huichol-fundraiser

A fund that goes to multiple Indigenous communities, via the Morningstar Foundation: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/indigenous-covid-19-relief-fund


Network Partners

Bloom intermittently hosts public calls with partner networks, to better develop relationships and connections across networks working on goals that overlap with regenerative cultures. Here’s where you’ll find where to connect with the projects and people in these networks.

Burners (June 2020 Call)

Burning Man’s 2030 Environmental Sustainability Roadmap. Burning Man Project is beginning an open-source approach to become carbon negative, sustainably manage waste, and be ecologically regenerative by 2030. To get involved and stay informed, go here.

Burners Without Borders is a grassroots, socially innovative, community leadership program whose goal is to unlock the creativity of local communities to solve problems. Visit their website to see lists of projects, and opportunities to get involved. Their Facebook group is where the community does volunteer coordination.

BWB COVID-19 response projects

Videos About Regenerative Agriculture

Here are a few primer videos on what regenerative agriculture is, how it restores access to good livelihoods, pulls carbon into the soil out of the atmosphere, and its implications for cultural revival and reduced conflict.

Landscape restoration in Saudia Arabia, a project from Regenerative Resources.

Finance Update

Finance Update

This is a snapshot of Bloom Network’s current finances.

We currently receive an average of $200 per month in monthly memberships, and $50 per month in donations through our community calls.

This covers our communication software fees, with $50/mo going into our bank account per month at the moment.

Our account balance is approximately $100. Magenta pays our communication software fees, totaling approximately $200 per month, and then receives reimbursement from Bloom Network after our fiscal sponsor issues the requested amount from donations.

Our current available revenue streams include: member fees, event ticket sales, sponsorships, grants and private donations, and Pollination Labs clients.

Bloom Network has primarily been operating as a volunteer community. Magenta contributes 40 hours per week, and Hannah Mitchell contributes 10-20 hours per week. More volunteers are starting to show up, contributing on average under one hour per week each. Current working groups people can join are listed here. Local chapters also have volunteer teams and operate within their own organization entities.

In order to continue to be of service and to grow our purpose of helping more people find and participate in regenerative culture practices, Bloom Network needs to raise startup capital so we have a consistent paid team. Magenta is going to run out of runway in September 2020.

Our goal is to raise a total of $500,000 in order to become revenue positive and self-sustaining in 2022. We have been applying to equity-free funding programs and accelerators this year. One thing we’ve been finding is that it’s hard to raise capital for Bloom Network because it’s such a complex system, and doesn’t really fit into anyone’s categories of what they fund. This is interesting, because we have specifically designed our business framework to address the institutional and cultural gaps that have humanity in a bind when it comes to climate change, inequality, etc. As of June, we are pursuing two more specific pathways: setting up Bloom Network’s DAO, and fundraising for a more specific program, Pollination Labs.

To produce our first Pollination conference in 2019 and establish our membership model, Bloom worked with several contractors on a deferred payment basis. The total amount contributed was approximately $130,000 in labor, with a remainder due of $92,700.

We are also currently deliberating if it is best for us to close our current organization entity, a non-profit filed in California, and switch over to a simple LLC. We’ve been having a hard time finding grants, because we are a whole-systems organization and not working on a singular vertical. Local chapters are more able to find grants for specific projects, but for the system administration layer that Bloom does, nonprofits appear to not be a good fit for us. The last grant we received was in 2018 for $8,344 from Threshold Foundation via the Thriving Resilient Communities Collaboratory, and prior to that $13,000 in 2014. Bloom Network began as Evolver Social Movement via a donation from Sean Parker in 2008 for $250,000. That empowered the organization to rapidly scale to over 100 chapters in 11 countries, however due to leadership struggles among the Evolver corporation, that momentum was stifled and the local chapters decided to separate from the company to become a peer-led network. It also is looking like forming our organizational entity as a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization), which is what we really are in the physical world, is the path of least resistance, most understanding, and mutual support. Some of our operations will require a state-anchored entity on an ongoing basis.

If you are interested in joining Bloom’s finance team, or you would like to make a financial contribution, please get in touch with Magenta.

Decentralized Web

This wiki article lists practices and tools related to different decentralized web technologies. If you are brand new to this topic, you’ll likely find it helpful to read this blog post about it, from an introductory video call held May 2020.

This list is not an exhaustive map of the space, but features definitions and specific projects that Bloom’s crew has identified to be synergistic with regenerative culture development.

What is the Decentralized Web?

The decentralized web involves a number of different protocols, technologies, and development ecosystems that have the potential to “lock the web open” (for commons production, freedom from monopoly and censorship, etc). You can choose to block content you don’t want to engage with, control your data, and external companies are less likely to determine what you see through surveillance capitalism or state propaganda. Ultimately, the Dweb provides incredible creative possibilities for peer-to-peer economic interactions and regional production networks. Europe uses the phrase Next Generation Internet, which overlaps with the decentralized web. It is also sometimes referred to as Web3.

Money and tokens

  • Bitcoin – a decentralized electronic currency and payment system. Coindesk is a good news resource for all things bitcoin
  • Grassroots Economics is working in Kenya, South Africa, and Congo – communities are designing their own community currencies, represented as tokens on their POA blockchain (Proof of Impact). It’s helping everyone see the exchanges happening and understand better how to support each other.
  • SEEDS – a digital currency and financial system that serves, rewards and finances the people and organizations committed to creating a healthier and more equitable planet.
  • LitCoin by Cosmos Cooperative – to give you a sense of how creative token design can get!

Identity

Identity is an important part of the decentralized web. As Christopher Allen describes, “governments and companies are sharing an unprecedented amount of information, cross-correlating everything from user viewing habits to purchases, to where people are located during the day, to where they sleep at night and with whom they associate.”

With self-sovereign identity (SSI), you no longer have to give up control of personal information to dozens of databases each time you want to access new goods and services. Instead of “log on with Facebook or Google or email”, you log on from your own portal to the web, from your own data store that you control.

These are a few projects working on self-sovereign identity. As far as we know, a few are stable enough to use but probably not for large-scale adoption just yet.

  • JLINC is designed to work with web2.0 services.
  • BrightID – Ethereum-based (it’s reputation feature is something to be cautious about though, like Black Mirror’s “Nosedive” episode)
  • OneName on the Blockstack blockchain

Privacy

Privacy is one of the reasons decentralized web tools exist. Below you’ll find a section on “power asymmetry” which describes a few reasons why a company like Facebook having a huge amount of data about you is concerning. Censorship and cultural persecution are a couple other reasons why digital privacy is important in the 21st century.

Document storage tools:

Privacy tools for cryptocurrency:

  • Samourai wallet – a cryptocurrency wallet that protects privacy
  • ZCash – a privacy-protecting digital currency

Collaboration

Decentralized Project Management:

Open Co-op organizes conferences and runs projects to help create decentralized collaboration at scale.

Social Networks:

  • Socialroots.io – a lightweight way to connect multiple networks, with individual project representatives sharing insights across them
  • Scuttlebutt – a decentralized protocol for community development

Governance

Practices

  • Liquid democracy – a higher fidelity form of representational democracy, enabled by blockchain. In liquid democracy, a person can choose someone to represent their vote on an issue, and another person to represent their vote on another issue, and change those representatives at any given time, including reclaim their own direct vote on that issue.
  • DAO’s / smart organizations / programmable organizations – a blockchain-native organization that has the capacity to decentralize power. Decisions and resource allocation can happen among customizable sets of people, peer-to-peer, without having to funnel decisions and money up a hierarchy of people who extract value.

Projects

  • Aragon – a platform for making decentralized organizations + a digital jurisdiction for resolving contract disputes. On Ethereum.
  • MetaGov – a set of portable tools for the governance of virtual worlds, designed so that users of platforms can self-organize governance
  • Democracy Earth – liquid democracy platform. It’s been used in the state of Colorado.

Financing Decentralized Projects

  • Open Collective is a platform where communities can collect and disburse money transparently, to sustain and grow their projects. It itself is not decentralized but it is a good tool for distributed or open source projects.
  • Giveth is a collaborative philanthropy Dapp (decentralized application) built on Ethereum that supports transparent community funding. Funds are released once the work is complete and verified.
  • Bounties – a way to list a piece of work that needs doing in an organization, for any freelancer or contributor to complete. Bounties Network and CoMakery are two examples of software built to do this.

Art

SuperRare – art marketplace to collect and trade unique single-edition digital artworks

Bloom is looking into decentralized tools designed to support artists and content creators. More projects will be posted here as we come across them.

Agriculture-Specific Applications

These two applications are connecting carbon credit markets with regenerative agriculture and land management practitioners. Regen Network also serves Indigenous communities for the purpose of protection from deforestation.

Women of Color in Blockchain

Development Ecosystems and Blockchains

There are many different nooks across the decentralized web, and communities of developers who are building on a specific blockchain, or protocol, etc. Here are a few development ecosystems that we know have regenerative culture-specific projects going on in them:

Theory / Why Decentralize

Power Asymmetry

Power asymmetry is when individuals and groups have differential ability to take action or cause action to be taken. It is relevant to the decentralized web, because monopolization and centralized control of data on the internet has resulted in companies with hugely disproportionate power, who are at the cutting edge of machine intelligence development. These companies are not rooted in humanitarian values nor ethical business models. This has resulted in the election of presidents who increase racism and genocide, as well as information chaos on a social level due to filter bubbles, and much more. Decentralized web tools protect against power asymmetry.

  • Facebook is malware AI, uninstall. Shoshana Zuboff offers a good analysis of it. Please let us know if you come across great analyses of why Facebook is a parasitic platform. In a nutshell, the business model of this platform is to use users to sell advertising. Your interactions on the website are sculpted by machine intelligence to increase amount of time spent on the website. This is counterproductive to taking action in your real communities to reverse climate change. And it’s counterproductive to your economic sovereignty. Lastly, the lack of transparency or ability of a user to control how their own data is used, means that Facebook has tremendous knowledge of your political, social, sexual, and economic behavior, that it uses to manipulate you and others you interact with. There is no way to fix this, and you should leave the platform.

References:
“Discriminating Systems: Gender, Race, and Power in AI.” 2019. AI Now Institute.
“A study of the implications of advanced digital technologies (including AI systems) for the concept of responsibility within a human rights framework.” 2019. Council of Europe.
“Weapons of the weak: Russia and AI-driven asymmetric warfare.” 2018. Brookings.