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Published on September 24th, 2017 | by Cynthia Shahan


Wind Energy Used To Mine Cryptocurrency To Fund Climate Research

September 24th, 2017 by  

Sometimes things have to get worse before they change for the better. A fever is an example. To a certain point, fever rises to an intense degree to chase out the pathogens of the common flu. However, if the heat hits a certain point, it injures more than it helps. Climate change has already reached (passed) a life-threatening stage. It is plain that the beginnings of pollution and climate change trouble came with our “modern” industrial age. Yet, modern research and technology are also key to returning to a stable climate and clean air.

I’m disappointed that everyone has not watched Chasing Ice to better understand where we are headed with that. It is a brilliant intersection of documentary, science, climate change, adventure, and art/film. It is also a way to personalize climate science and help bring more support to this critical area of research.

Another way to bring more attention and funding to climate science is by using renewable energy to “uncover” cryptocurrency. Say what?

Julian Oliver, who used wind energy “to mine cryptocurrency to fund climate research,” explains further after the artistic picture.

HARVEST is a work of critical engineering and computational climate art. It uses wind-energy to mine cryptocurrency, the earnings of which are used as a source of funding for climate-change research.

“Taking the form of a 2m wind turbine with environmental sensors, weatherproof computer, and 4G uplink, HARVEST ‘feeds’ from two primary symptoms of our changing climate: wind gusts and storms. It does this by transforming wind energy into the electricity required to meet the demanding task of mining cryptocurrency (here Zcash), a decentralized process where computers are financially rewarded for their work maintaining and verifying a public transaction ledger known as the blockchain. Rather than filling the digital wallet of the artist, all rewards earned by the HARVEST mining machine are paid out as donations to non-profit climate change research organizations such that they can better study this planetary-scale challenge.”

“HARVEST was commissioned by the Konstmuseet i Skövde an exhibition of which was designed and launched on the 14th of September, 2017, running for two months in the museum. The exhibition comprises a live feed directly from the miner, conveying data relevant to the mining process. This data was visualized by Christopher Pietsch and can be seen in the two projections in the exhibition. Chris has kindly provided a public version of his work on this project here.

The project hopes to inspire many similar projects. “Acting as a fully functional prototype beyond a media-art context, it is envisaged hundreds of such HARVEST nodes could be deployed in the windiest parts of the world, together generating large sums of supplementary funding for climate-change NGOs in a time where climate science itself is under siege from the fossil-fuelled interests of governments and corporations.”

Images: Julian Oliver | HARVEST 
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About the Author

Cynthia Shahan started writing by doing research as a social cultural and sometimes medical anthropology thinker. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education. Eventually becoming an organic farmer, licensed AP, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)

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