Part four

www.nesta.org.uk/report/earth-2030/part-four/
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Leia smiled before diving into the history of the last decade with them: The few governments who had relied on grass-roots citizen engagement for fighting the pandemic had done so by rejecting the use of technology, regarded as the root of all evils. Technology was only necessary to scale up production and consumption, they had thought, and it was this constant desire to scale up that was destroying our planet. They had rejected the use of technology, advocating instead for the establishment of resilient communities focusing on local bioregions that did not need to import any foreign products or technologies.

Leia’s community had been an exception to its kind. While promoting local resilience, her community had also acknowledged the value of technology, which – if properly governed – could help achieve that end.

Over the years, Leia’s community attracted activists, intellectuals, social scientists, artists, engineers and many advocates of the decentralised technologies that emerged after the 2008 financial crash. Inspired by Ostrom’s research, they experimented with commons-based governance mechanisms for local communities and an interdependent global system.

While they knew that decentralised yet coordinated action was hard without monitoring or enforcement, they found in blockchain technology a solution to precisely both of these challenges: distributed ledger technology that enabled monitoring in a decentralised, transparent and tamper-resistant manner; smart contracts for the automated and decentralised enforcement of codified agreements. It was thanks to these technologies that Leia’s community fought the pandemic, using technology to empower people rather than subjecting them to a dominant superpower.

‘The seeds of our community were sown 10 years ago through a series of gatherings where we grew our relationships, built a shared pool of solutions and laid our plans to make them available to all’, Leia added.

The visitors kept asking questions of Leia, eager to understand whether and how these solutions could be transposed into their communities. Hours later, exhausted but excited from this new knowledge, they requested to become members of the Learning Commons to continue studying Leia’s community from home.

Leia instructed her data trust to share access to her personal selections and annotations of the Learning Commons, saying ‘I hope and trust we’ll interoperate again soon!’