A.I.R.S.

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A.I.R.S. is a suite of integrated technologies to measure, monitor, and monetize regenerative action on the ground. The goal is to catalyze the restoration of billions of acres of degraded land for ecological health and community wellbeing, planting biodiverse trees and replenishing soil to suck down planet-heating carbon.

The need for massive landscape restoration to draw CO2 emissions from the atmosphere back down to earth is ever more apparent. A smothering blanket of “legacy” carbon from a century of industrial development is fueling an accelerating climate emergency: 120 degree heatwaves from Turkey to Canada; devastating wildfires from California to Siberia; flooding in central China and central Germany; functional damage to key life-support systems like oceans, forests, and soils; mass species extinction (including coral reefs and insect pollinators), and spreading human hardship.

CONTEXT
In 2015, GreenWorld was a founding partner of the African Restoration Initiative (AFR100) whose goal is to restore 100 million ha. of deforested and degraded land by 2030. Reforestation and regenerative agriculture can restore landscapes and biodiversity while increasing income, food security, and community wellbeing. This mitigates climate change by drawing atmospheric CO2 into soil, trees, and vegetation.

But a report in 2021, the start of the UN Decade of Restoration, showed 65% of Africa’s productive land is now degraded, with 4 million ha. of forest lost each year.

GreenWorld is applying its decade of practice in coastal Kenya to pilot A.I.R.S, an innovative technology to finance—farmer by farmer, community by community—Africa’s vast regenerative potential (1.7B acres—688M ha.—that can be restored).

NEED
Regenerative practices are cost-effective, relying largely on knowledge, time and labor. African smallholders could, given the resources, be climate change heroes, restoring soils and trees and generating high-value carbon removal credits. But though over $50B has poured in U.S. regenerative agriculture, millions of African farmers who could apply agro-ecology for local and global benefit receive scant international financing.

EARTH TO A.I.R.S.
AIRS’ technology will measure, monitor, and monetize restorative practices. It correlates satellite remote sensing and local “ground-truthing” to confirm regenerative outcomes. It then routes the results to an “oracle” (a technology that collects data from diverse real-world sources). It records these on tamper-proof blockchain ledgers and issues “smart-contracts” purchasable by donors and investors. Rewards based on verified metrics are automatically issued to trusted land stewards via cellphone banking, convertible digital currency, or other community financial instruments.

GreenWorld Campaign(GWC)-Kenya will be the first A.I.R.S. use-case, building on its decade of award-winning restoration work: nearly 4 million trees planted with 75% survival rates; eco-education for hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren and farmers; women’s health programs; rainwater catchment and watershed restoration; youth-run “trees for peace;” restoration of sacred kaya forests and watersheds; conservation of elders’ “biocutural” knowledge. GWC has long used digital data collection to verify tree-planting. It also devised Kenya’s first successful community eco-currency.

SOLUTION
Thanks to its automation and security assurances, AIRS disburses its financial rewards to successful land stewards with maximum transparency and minimal overhead. Smart contracts can aggregate multiple community benefits: not just soil carbon content, but agricultural yields, nutrient density, biodiversity, hydrological cycles, land tenure, status of women, children’s health, and other indices of a “Regenerative Society.” One core aim is expanding the carbon market by direct rewards to small farmers and communities that can verify improved soil organic matter. Agro-ecology combining crops with tree-planting can increase soil carbon in SubSaharan Africa by up to 57%. African regenerative land management could increase soil carbon 4.4 GtCO2e by 2040.

OUTCOME
By 2023, AIRS will have partnered with major on-the-ground organizations and launched a vertically integrated system to measure, monitor, and monetize community-based restoration. Organizations and individuals anywhere will be able to directly support regeneration of degraded land areas across Africa, and eventually worldwide.