Since becoming mainstream, one of the earliest concerns about NFTs was the potential toll their continued production and distribution could have on the environment, most of which was attributed to the increased strain the NFT ecosystem placed on the Ethereum blockchain. Fortunately, many environmental-conscious groups have uncovered the key to making NFTs and blockchain tech as a whole more environmentally sustainable – by shifting from a proof-of-work verification model to a proof-of-stake model.
With the release of Algorand, an energy-efficient blockchain offsetting its carbon footprint in partnership with ClimateTrade, and other environmentally-friendly blockchains such as Tezos, those concerns may slowly fade. Yet, the importance of using NFTs for the good of our planet prevails. Thanks to these green blockchains, organizations such as Australia Zoo and the World Wildlife Foundation are now focused on helping preserve our planet and its inhabitants by embracing this technology.
Founded by Steve and Terri Irwin, the Australia zoo is using Algorand to mint their first foray into Web3: the Wildlife Warriors” NFT project. The limited series celebrates the 20th anniversary of the zoo’s Wildlife Warriors. In a press release, Irwin’s son, Robert Irwin discussed the importance of this launch. He said, “this green chain and new technology allows us a new avenue to continue to fight for the protection of our wildlife and wild places.”
By partnering with Meadow Labs, an Australian tech startup dedicated to creating “the world’s most meaningful digital collecting experience,” the NFT project will consist of drops, each focusing on a different Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors animal. The NFTs will be randomly generated, non-deterministic, utility-driven, and 100 percent unique. All proceeds generated from sales will provide funding for Australia Zoo’s and Wildlife Warriors’ conservation efforts.
In another press release, Co-founder and CEO of Meadow Labs, Martin Kelly, spoke about the opportunity, stating, “This is just the beginning of a long-term partnership to create an ‘NFT for good’ movement that builds on ensuring we all have a sustainable future.”
Also, the World Wildlife Foundation is using NFTs to fund conservation efforts. For example, in February, they unveiled the Non-Fungible Animals project — a limited launch of NFT artworks depicting ten animal species at the brink of extinction. Among these endangered species are the giant panda, mountain gorilla, and the vaquita — a sea mammal with just 22 confirmed individuals living in the wild.
To further emphasize just how close these species are to disappearing, the World Wildlife Foundation matches the number of available one-of-one copies of each animal artwork with how many of their real-life counterparts exist in the wild. Thankfully, both the vaquita and saola pieces have sold out at the time of publishing. Hopefully, the funds raised from this project — currently nearing $300,000 — will ensure the animals these pieces are based on won’t meet the same fate.