Mint Trash NFTs and Save the Ocean in WWF’s Metaverse on Polygon

Polygon Labs
February 7, 2023
Image source: Dribbble

You’re on the beach, waves lapping gently at your feet as seabirds circle overhead. A few other people are ambling nearby, observing the ocean. With music playing, the experience is deeply calming. 

And then you hear it, the song of a whale–a whale made of trash. 

Welcome to SaveYour.World, a collaborative metaverse by WWF Deutschland and Savespecies, run on Journee and powered by the Polygon network. Soft-launched on World Cleanup Day, this beautiful, immersive experience has a dual aim. 

First, through project #OceanDetox, to educate users about the crisis of plastic and trash flooding into the seas. 

And second, to empower people to actually do something about it, with an approach they’ve dubbed “play to donate.”   

By creating a hybrid metaverse, where online interactions result in real world consequences, players can remove real trash from the real ocean by buying trash NFTs. And with plans to expand the digital realm to other environments–forests and the arctic–SaveYour.World is only just beginning.

Doing Good in the Metaverse

The metaverse is a perfect extension of the economies that fuel NGOs like WWF. Distributed global donations to conservation and clean-up projects happen organically, driven by community interest; environmental organizations benefit from contributors, large and small, in a decentralized way. 

In the same capacity, SaveYour.World provides a setting that democratizes experience and access, while turning environmental problems into representable pieces of digital art. Save.YourWorld’s trash whale is composed of 366 discrete NFTs of 50 different types, each of which can be bought as a donation to make a quantifiable impact on cleaning up the beaches and seas on Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam.

WWF has teamed up with Phu Quoc's local community to tackle growing tourist pollution.

The traits of each NFT also serve as a commentary on the kind of devastation humans have wrought on the world: this NFT, for instance, is immortal, reflecting the indecently long half-life of human-made plastics. And the problem of plastics and trash is only increasing. As one sign in SaveYour.World points out, if nothing is done, by 2050 “there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.” Another informs users, “100% of baby sea turtles have plastic in their stomachs.” 

Gamifying the relationship to impossibly difficult environmental problems invites a new generation of users to collaborate with NGOs that are working hard to make the planet a more liveable, healthy place. 

Already, the results are encouraging: 2,453 kg of plastic have been removed from the ocean due to this digital experience, even as project leaders aim to increase that number. 

It’s a big first step in what WWF Deutschland is calling “Play to Donate,” tapping into the massive economic sphere of gaming and digital experiences possible in the metaverse.

Polygon for the Planet

Polygon Labs has made a commitment to exploring how blockchain and Web3 will help solve the most difficult environmental challenges that face the world. That served as an encouragement to traditional climate solutions and new dApps alike to explore how the innate powers of blockchain–transparency and composability–offer the potential to create new climate solutions and elevate existing ones at a critical juncture.

Last year, WWF generated interest about emissions associated with the Polygon network that prompted Polygon Labs to commission research that went further, scrutinizing emissions, and exploring uncharted territory by thinking about the relationship between Layer 1 and Layer 2 blockchain dynamics. 

WWF returns to Polygon to find a network with a vastly improved sustainability profile. Polygon Labs offset the entire history of emissions of the public chain last year. And that was just the beginning. 

When Ethereum successfully completed the Merge in September, the network’s emissions were cut by 99.9%. What did this mean for the Polygon chain? A significant reduction in its emissions, making a green blockchain greener, and future-proofing it at a time when many species are facing an existential crisis. 

We’ll be here to explore all the ways Web3 and blockchain can help solve the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. 

Want to learn more about everything green happening in the Polygon ecosystem? Check out our blog and tune in to our social channels for the latest. 

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