Upcoming talks / events

ESSEC Business School, Paris

Thursday, October 14th 2021

Blockchain for philanthropy

Blockchain is a digital, decentralized storage technology. By extension, a blockchain refers to a database in which individual records, called blocks, are linked together in a single list, called a chain. Blockchain is the backbone technology behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as all transactions are stored securely and transparently in an incorruptible digital ledger. In recent years, initiatives such as The Giving Block, Give Track, GiveCrypto, AidCoin, and Cardano have brought blockchain technology to the field of philanthropy. Prominent charitable organizations like the Red Cross, UNICEF and Oxfam now accept crypto-donations and test blockchain-based solutions to deliver aid more effectively. Blockchain enthusiasts see many benefits for philanthropy: access to young, tech-savvy donors, faster, cheaper and hack-proof donations, support for NGOs or beneficiaries despite government bans or banking restrictions, ability to track donations or to condition them to the achievement of predefined goals… The potential to increase trust and to unlock new donations is tantalizing. However, critics have also warned against the rise of “surveillance philanthropy” in which transparency goals seem tailored to satisfy donors instead of beneficiaries. Other pitfalls may also limit the appeal of blockchain and cryptocurrencies to potential donors and recipients: lack of digital skills, absence of a trusted central authority, value volatility, high carbon footprint… One is left to wonder: are cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology game changers or overrated? Can they contribute to a better world, and if so, how and when?

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Lincoln Centre for Ecological Justice

Tuesday 12th October 2021, 12-1pm

Degrowth and the Blue Belt

The UK Government has developed a ‘Blue Belt’, a network of large Marine Protected Areas involving seven British Overseas Territories. The Blue Belt is now one of the world's largest enclosures of space for conservation, enclosing four million km2 of ocean in some of the most remote spaces on earth. To be economically feasible, the UK's bold conservation targets are integrated with wider tourism, fishing, and economic growth-motivated governance agendas. This talk asks us to consider a degrowth alternative to the Blue Belt's development. The goal of degrowth is not to prevent increases in Gross Domestic Product, nor is degrowth the equivalent to recession in a growth economy. Sustainable degrowth provides a conservation framework for ensuring a just transition from neoliberal forms of governance that places local well-being and welfare needs above the interests of state actors, private investors, and holiday makers.

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