I returned to the South this summer for an extended visit after classes ended in May. I had no plan, really. Just visit family and friends, spend some time on my beach and put my newly crafted spiritual practices to work. And figure out a way to make a sustainable living by becoming an active builder in the DAO space. Juicy, huh?
This summer was intense. Messy. Heartbreaking. And hopeful. Being in the American South at this juncture in our devolution into authoritarianism is something no amount of spiritual work can prepare one for. Sprinkle the loss of my rights as a human being when Roe was overturned and, well, intense is an understatement.
The South, where I grew up and have spent most of my adult life, is a ticking time bomb of poverty, racism, violence and polarization. But buried amongst all those travesties are good humans who simply want to support their families, make an honest living and grow their communities. At the end of the day, when we unplug for our weaponized algorithm of choice, most of us are simply striving for the same connection to one another and that sense of safety that family and friends provides.
I spent this morning, my last full work-day before I head back to my Rockies, on calls with my fellow DAO builders. The conversations were some of the most powerful I’ve had this summer, and I’ve had some very powerful convos about our future path as a society through the lens of decentralization. The builders I work with on a daily basis in the DAO and web3 spaces all possess the same thing-- a vision for the future that is grounded in hope. Hope that the technology we’re using to re-organize community and regenerate governance will play a vital role in our survival as a species.
That’s a tall order.
I build in a DAO that is trying to save democracy by rebuilding local media to make it sustainable for journalists, media outlets and the communities they serve through decentralization. I build in DAO that is providing a framework for sustainability for climate activists so they can find a way to make a livable wage while doing the difficult work of climate activism. I advise a project creating a breaking news app that mints content to the blockchain so disinformation has no chance to hijack a news narrative. I contribute to DAOs who are empowering communities through knowledge sharing of impactDAOs, fact checking media stories, protecting personal data and supporting reproductive rights.
I dedicate my days to building within these communities because it gives me hope. And when I’m talking with friends and colleagues outside of my regen ecosystem, I tell them about my work in this space and they all comment that what I’m talking about gives them hope too. And while I tend to lean into the utopian version of our decentralized future, I’m fully aware that we’re dangerously close to the dystopian reality already. My goal is that through our building and experimentation in decentralization, we can shoot right down the center of utopia and dystopia and find something that allows us to all survive what’s hurdling at us right now.
People fail to understand that beneath the surface of the click-bait crypto headlines designed to keep the masses away from this powerfully disruptive technology for community building, governance and alternative economic engagement lies an entire regenerative ecosystem that can not be stopped. Hundreds of thousands of people are leveraging technology to organize communities-- both IRL and virtually-- in ways that’s never been done before. We don’t know what’s going to happen because this technology has never existed before, nor have we ever faced the demise of our species in such a stark reality before. How can we not embrace all of the tools at our disposal to create the regenerative vehicles we’re all going to need to survive?
We are standing at the precipice of so much chaos and destruction. The energy from this destruction is palpable here in the South. I’ve found a way to generate a connection to hope through collective action and community engagement-- it just happens to occur beneath the surface of a very complex, challenging and powerful technology. I implore everyone reading this to pass this essay along to your non-web3/non-DAO friends and family and start a discussion about what’s actually happening in this regenerative ecosystem. And then find a few impact DAOs to join and create your own avenues of hope.
We’re entering a time where we will need any and all ways to connect as a collective. I implore everyone to begin learning this technology now because organizing at scale and under duress isn’t easy to do, nor is it productive. When the shit hits the fan, you want your “ride or die” bitches by your side already, armed and ready to fight for hope along side you.
And trust me, we are at the scene in the movie where the shit is starting to stink and it’s about to be thrown at the fan. Plan (and organize) accordingly.
Here’s my “Ride or Die” crews: