Our magnificently complex human society is breathtaking in its sophistication. Yet, of all the 8.7 million species, humanity brings the largest burden upon the critical life support systems of this spaceship, and it’s waste is more poison than food for the rest of the system. On this spaceship, only humanity has proven capable of polluting the air supply, contaminating the water tanks, depleting food sources, and tampering with the thermometer control system.
Of all of these life support systems, the ocean is perhaps the most critical. This vast ecosystem covers 71% of the surface of the planet, houses 99% of all 8.7 million species on the planet, absorbs excess heat to maintain atmospheric equilibrium, and produces more than 50% of all oxygen on the planet. It is estimated that 50% — 80% of all life on earth exists in this critical ecosystem.
The largest creature in this ecosystem (and on the planet as a whole) is the Whale. These creatures can extend to nearly 100 feet in length, and weigh up to 440,000 lbs, soaring like sea dragons through the ocean. However, Whales (as massive as they are) also consume one of the smallest creatures on the planet — plankton.
Meet the Diatom
Diatoms are a type of phytoplankton encased in silica, giving the appearance of a jewel inside of a glasshouse. Because of this, scientists have dubbed them “the jewels of the sea.”
Diatoms and other types of phytoplankton are the ultimate carbon sequestering technology of this spaceship, capturing 37 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, or four Amazon rainforests’ worth, and in doing so, exhaling roughly 50% of all oxygen on the planet. Jewels of the sea indeed.
The Whale Pump and Dump
Many whales dive to deeper depths to feed, as they return to the surface, they poop. Whale feces and urine floods the area with iron, nitrogen, and phosphorus that phytoplankton need to grow. As they proliferate, they sequester massive amounts of carbon and release oxygen into the air. This relationship between the largest and the smallest of creatures may represent the most valuable dynamic on this spaceship.
While Diatoms and other phytoplanktons release oxygen into the atmosphere and sequester carbon, Whales pump nutrients that replenish the phytoplankton they consume. It’s a beautiful synergy. And as whales accumulate massive amounts of carbon in their own bodies throughout their lives, they store it at the bottom of the ocean when they die.
The more whales, the more oxygen on the planet and the less carbon dioxide. Whales are in fact the ultimate climate change technology. Whales as a carbon sink “earth-tech” have been tried and tested for millions of years and do not come with unknown risks associated with human-tech climate change interventions.
If we protect and increase whale populations, we leverage a massive carbon sequestration process that could quite literally prevent our spaceship’s life support system from suffering a critical malfunction due to human impact.
“Even a 1 percent increase in phytoplankton productivity thanks to whale activity would capture hundreds of millions of tons of additional CO2 a year, equivalent to the sudden appearance of 2 billion mature trees.”
Ralph Chami, International Monetary Fund: “Living Whales are Worth an Enormous Amount of Money”. Economists from the International Monetary Fund estimate that the value of a living great whale is $2,000,000, and the total supply of whales globally is estimated at $1 trillion. Proving that whales are not only a powerful force for addressing the climate crisis but also a viable economic driver. Perhaps it’s time we start recognizing their enormous value to the spaceship and reflect that value in economic models that respect the building blocks of life itself.
As humanity recognizes the existential threat of human-caused climate change, we seek new opportunities to right the course. Rather than simply focusing on carbon, we need to shift the focus to restoring and protecting the underlying apparatus of our life support systems. When these ecosystems are functioning properly, without undue interference, life in all its beauty prevails. This is not as simple as “reducing carbon,” it’s about restoring the earth-tech capacities that do so, and beyond.
The Bad News
Whale populations used to be between 4 to 5 million globally, but a 4,000 year whaling period that ended in the 20th century has diminished global whale populations to around 1.3 million today.
Despite a major reduction in commercial whaling, whales today face many human-created threats. These include shipping routes that result in deathly whale collisions, fishing net entanglement, consumer plastics that choke whales to death and noise pollution from the shipping industry. As a result, though some whale populations are slowly recovering, others are dwindling.
Ship strikes are currently the number one killer of whales, but that’s something that we have the power to significantly change with technology and adjustments by the shipping industry.
Plastic pollution is also a dire and direct problem, trailing right behind ship strikes. Right now we are on track to have more plastic in the ocean than fish in the sea (by weight) by 2050. This is an untenable condition for this critical life support system. A non-trivial, large-scale remediation effort must be put into place immediately if we wish to survive the impending catastrophe that will ensue if we do not change course.
Spaceship Earth and its inhabitants would benefit greatly by restoring whale populations to their pre-whaling number of 4 to 5 million (a total increase of ~2.7M — 3.7M), and this cannot be accomplished without addressing the plastic crisis head on.
Who Will Speak for the Whales?
Humanity tends to look to governments and billionaires to move enough resources to make big changes happen. But the tide is changing, and humanity is recognizing more and more how decentralizing tools can be harnessed in ways that create emergent order for the 99%. For example, what may appear up close to be a chaotic frenzy of fish is actually a school of fish that can defend against a predator when zoomed out into its gestalt.
Blockchain-enabled applications are forging new paths for humanity to learn how to shoal like a school of fish together, with a common, unified aim, bestowing benefits and new capabilities. What need is there to rely solely on governments and billionaires to unlock capital for critical challenges when a well-coordinated, unified, and massive effort can be orchestrated and verified automatically by the 99%?
Put another way, 1 billion people giving $1 in unison is $1B, without putting any financial strain on any one member of the network. Each member (or node) in the network contributes a small bit of energy, but the shoal as a whole is capable of deploying enormous resources. We could call this principle “Network Unity,” defined as that state achieved when many distributed nodes in a network contribute small bits of energy but enable the network as a whole to express enormous, targeted energy collectively.
And what better motivation for humanity to begin to express itself with a new pattern of coordinated unity than to restore and regenerate its greatest resource — our own life support system, our own oceans?
Enter Diatom DAO
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO’s) represent a major enabling capacity for humanity to express this unified “shoaling” capacity. Millions of individuals can behave in coordination as nodes in a network, each expressing small bits of energy that constellate through automated, consensus-governance into swiftly executed actions. In the same way, a laser beam is a highly dense concatenation of many individual photons, a DAO has the capability of expressing a laser-beam-like funding capacity.
Diatom leverages the bonding power created by OlympusDAO to fund highly vetted, concrete projects that protect our ocean, with a deliberate focus on regenerating and protecting those essential apparatus that ensure our most integral life support system is functioning.
Diatom will establish multiple asset classes that measurably reduce harm to the ocean, and massively sequester carbon by protecting the Whale-Diatom cycle. Plastic Reduction Credits (PRC) will be the initial focus, establishing new value chains, while tying into existing ones like blue carbon credits in the carbon market.
Diatom is therefore established for the purpose of demonstrating and mapping the real value of the ocean into a token, funding practical, proven, and measurable projects that protect and regenerate that ocean, and to expand its own treasury to perpetuate the above.
The currency of this DAO is Diatoms (DIAT) — an economic representation of the true value of our most essential life support system on spaceship earth. This symbolically aligns the true value offered by Diatoms themselves into a representation of value — tokens.
Based on the success of Diatom DAO, we also intend to establish Diatoms as a meaningful representation of value, and a verified blue carbon credit, as our efforts will directly aim to protect and replenish whale populations and the meta Whale-Diatom ecological cycle that may be our best tool in addressing the climate crisis.
The DAO as a Shift Toward Symbiosis
Beyond simply applying blockchain to “decentralize” outdated organizational models, Diatom seeks to invite humanity to express something completely new. It is an invitation for our species to step into a more regenerative economic expression. One that is both financially generative and in alignment with greater symbiosis with nature itself. The DAO offers us an opportunity to bio-mimic nature and to re-integrate our species into the web of life on spaceship earth.
Diatom represents a chance to step into our role as a keystone species that supports and stewards life rather than simply extracts and pollutes it. That is, an opportunity to join the rest of the 8.7 million species in the circular economy of life.
Whales give life, and now “whales” of the broader crypto community, along with everyone else in this ecosystem, have an opportunity to demonstrate what is possible to accomplish through this incredible new model. It’s time for the blockchain space to go beyond get-rich-quick ‘pumps’ and evolve into a higher capacity for good. This new, decentralized frontier is capable of orchestrating enormous benefits to the planet where governments and corporations have yet to succeed.
Diatom DAO sets out to prove it.