Can Blockchain help save freshwater ecosystems in Canada?

I’m still trying to figure out this whole blockchain thing and the impact it’s having on our day to day lives. And so this piece in the Impact Insider really piqued my interest. It’s looking at how blockchain can help with evidence-based decision making to better steward our freshwater ecosystems. Check it out!

“Buzzwords are becoming action. Blockchain technology is demonstrating that in a country tackling complicated, cross-jurisdictional problems such as water governance, there are open, grassroots, and transparent platforms that can help. This is just the beginning.”


Hi Liz

I’m a recent covert to Blockchain for good, and am currently researching applications on Blockchain for Social and Environmental impact. In my reckoning Blockchain based solutions simply add an additional layer of verification and validation to data that already exists, or is already collected. So the social, cultural, political, economic and environmental context into which a blockchain application (or any new technology) is deployed on one hand can mitigate power dynamics, or on the other hand replicate and reinforce existing power imbalances. In the context of freshwater ecosystems in Canada we know there are competing and overlapping interests with Indigenous land and water claims, environmental conservation, industrial water use, municipal water use, sales of freshwater etc. In one scenario, communities that have the resources to do so, can monitor their own water quality and ecosystem health, and maintain records through a Blockchain enabled system, that is owned and controlled by the community, and therefore benefits the community. In another scenario environmental organizations perform their role as trusted independent entities, monitoring water ecosystem health and maintain unalterable records of water quality, water flow, and maps of waterways, through a Blockchain based solution (the type of solution enabled by the data collection described in the linked article). In still other scenarios, blockchain based solutions can be utilized to trace supply chain data for freshwater for commercial purposes such as industrial use, private municipal supply systems, or bottled drinking water. So yes, there are various potential applications for Blockchain in freshwater, and not always for the purposes where we can all find common agreement on benefits and risks. Lets make sure we consider who has the power, resources and technology capability to implement these systems, and how the introduction of technology impacts water sustainability and water justice issues in the long run, through the redistribution of resources.


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