In a world grappling with environmental challenges, individuals like Jimi Cohen are leading the charge by leveraging Web3 community and blockchain technology to create positive change. Jimi's passion for the environment and his dedication to making a difference have led to the founding of Treegens, an organization that is harnessing the power of Web3 to drive positive impact.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Jimi, who called into our conversation from a hospital in Bangalore while being treated for rabies, due to a run-in with a rodent after giving a speech at a ReFi conference. This is just the tip of the iceberg, exemplifying his commitment to his efforts.
Here, we explore Jimi's journey, his commitment to environmentalism, and the role of Treegens in shaping a better future.
The Path to Environmental Action
Jimi's love for the environment was instilled at a young age, thanks to his mother's activism as a koala advocate in Avalon, Australia. Witnessing the destruction of koala habitats fueled Jimi's desire to protect nature. His early experiences in planting trees and advocating for conservation set the stage for his future endeavors.
Jimi always cared deeply about the environment, but it wasn't until a couple of years ago that he actively started taking steps to combat climate change. His involvement in helping with the clean water crisis through biosand water filters led him to Uganda and later Kenya. Through Rotary Clubs, Jimi discovered the tremendous impact of collective action on addressing various issues, from sanitation to reforestation.
Treegens, an Impact DAO
As Jimi's commitment to fighting climate change grew, he joined For Trees Club, an organization focused on tree planting and ecosystem restoration as well as a platform for people to get involved, contribute, and witness the tangible impact of their actions. This led to Jimi planting mangrove trees and learning about the incredible potential of this particular species in sequestering carbon. (Fun fact: Mangroves remove 8 to 10 times more carbon from the atmosphere than terrestrial forests!) This revelation further sparked Jimi's passion for addressing the climate crisis and prompted him to explore innovative ways to drive even greater impact.
While working with For Trees Club, Jimi began to explore the world of Web3 and began to learn about impact DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations.) Being part of an impact DAO means that individuals can contribute to positive initiatives and have a say in how the organization evolves. It's a way to leverage the power of blockchain technology and Web3 community to address global challenges such as climate change, while incorporating transparency, accountability, and the execution of impactful initiatives.
As Jimi delved deeper into his mission and the world of Web3 he also discovered the potential of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Recognizing that no single individual or organization can tackle climate change alone, Jimi saw an opportunity to harness the power of NFTs to build impact communities and foster collaboration.
While For Trees Club is a web2 organization not quite ready to adopt Web3 initiatives, Jimi decided to start Treegens, a Web3-focused organization, formed around the concept of Impact DAOs.
Embracing Web3 and NFTs
Treegens embraced the world of NFTs to fund their tree-planting projects. In a DAO the decision-making is decentralized and involves people from around the world. Instead of a small group of board members making important decisions, anyone can participate using governance tokens, which can be fungible or non-fungible (NFTs). When someone buys/mints an NFT from Treegens, they receive a voting right in the DAO. The NFT sales are split, with 50% going towards tree planting and the other 50% going into the DAO's treasury. The DAO members then decide how to allocate the funds in support of impactful initiatives through community voting.
Treegens NFTs are dynamic and visually change based on real-world data. The NFTs can be leveled up by either planting trees or funding tree planting. Through AI tree counting technology, anyone can contribute by filming the planting of trees and having them counted. Each tree token is pegged at a specific value, and as the NFTs level up, they unlock utility in the real world, providing perks and access to different events. TreeGens even delivers videos of the planted trees to their NFT community, showcasing the impact they are making.
Empowering Regenerative Web3 Communities
Jimi's work is a testament to the power of web3 collaboration, community-building, and the integration of blockchain technology in addressing our most pressing environmental challenges. By supporting impact communities like Treegens, individuals can actively participate in regenerative initiatives, contribute to reforestation efforts, and make a positive impact on the planet.
Jimi is building a Web3 community of like-minded individuals who can affect positive change. His decentralized application (DApp), set to launch soon, will connect people with tree-planting opportunities in their local areas, allowing them to contribute to the regeneration of their surroundings. This innovative approach gamifies the tree planting process, motivating participants through a leaderboard system and visually representing their progress.
One of the biggest challenges in environmental conservation is the misalignment of incentives. Currently, the economy values a tree more when it is chopped down than when it is alive and contributes to oxygen production and carbon absorption. To address this issue, Jimi aims to realign incentives by creating a system that rewards individuals for their efforts in protecting and planting trees. Leveraging blockchain technology guarantees transparency and enables individuals to witness their efforts directly leading to the planting of real trees.
To accelerate the fight against climate change, TreeGens is partnering with impact investors and implementing a concept called Carbon Forwards. They plan to reinvest the future value of carbon credits to plant more trees, exponentially reversing the effects of climate change. The Treegens NFT community will be rewarded with airdrops of a token called FCBN as a way to incentivize and acknowledge their contributions to tree planting.
The goal is to transition from Degens to Regens, where individuals can make a positive impact by participating in regenerative finance (ReFi). By combining the power of blockchain technology, NFTs, and impact investments, Treegens aims to involve everyone in the mission of regenerating the world and greenifying Web3.
Adventures in Impact: Navigating Challenges and Finding Rewards
Undertaking large-scale reforestation projects comes with its fair share of challenges.
Notably, corruption, particularly in developing countries, can hinder advancements and lead to unwarranted delays. Treegens diligently steers clear of these unethical practices, yet, as a consequence, encounters occasional delays when dealing with government agencies or obtaining carbon rights.
Jimi shared some experiences of navigating difficult situations while acknowledging the importance of consistently showing up with good intentions. The ability to make a positive impression on the right people ultimately saved him and his colleagues from a potentially dangerous situation. He emphasizes the strength and determination gained through such challenging experiences, which further fuels his drive to navigate any obstacles that may arise in the future.
While the journey may have been filled with dangers and uncertainties, Jimi highlights the incredible rewards that have accompanied his efforts. Among the most significant of these rewards is the opportunity to engage with diverse communities and encounter inspiring individuals. Jimi expressed much gratitude for the support received from the Refi community and other supporters, which has fortified his determination and underscored the importance of his mission.
Scaling Impact and Engaging the Global Community
The inspiring work of Treegens has garnered attention and support from individuals worldwide. The organization offers an opportunity for individuals to contribute and become part of the movement. By purchasing trees through Treegens, anyone can actively participate in reforestation efforts and make a tangible impact on the environment.
Jimi's passion for maximizing positive impact drives him to go above and beyond. I encourage you to listen to his X (formerly Twitter) Spaces, which often last hours or even days, where he connects with like-minded individuals, builds partnerships and amplifies his message to engage a global audience.
In the realm of Web3 communities, Impact DAOs are revolutionizing the way we address global challenges. Jimi Cohen's journey with Treegens showcases the potential of harnessing the power of decentralized decision-making and utilizing technologies like NFTs to create a positive impact.
By realigning incentives, building transparency, and fostering collective action, Jimi is paving the way for a greener and more sustainable future. Join Treegens and become a force for positive change in the world. By embracing these innovative approaches, we can collectively strive toward a more sustainable future.