Miroslav Polzer is convinced that he is destined to play an important role in mastering the global climate crisis. His main vehicle is the International Association of the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges or IAAI for short. This organisation is accredited to the United Nations through the Economic and Social Council, the Department for global communications, the UN climate change process, UNFCC and the Green Climate Fund, which is the biggest international public climate finance mechanism of the UN system.
The message of IAAI is big because the global challenges are big and as Polzer explains: “We are already partially in crisis mode and these global challenges affect everyone, hence the need to respond in a global manner.”
Polzer argues that the world needs systemic solutions – we need to create an institutional framework, along with economic and societal frameworks.
“The problems that we see don’t stop at national borders and the solutions rely on everyone taking action, right down to individual grocery shopping and choices. As a result, we are building an ecosystem on blockchain to capture our activities. We want to build on culture, technology and organisational innovation to get everyone engaged and empowered to take meaningful and rewarding action for the local and global public good, aligned with the goals and programs of the United Nations’ system.”
Polzer is passionate about the UN. He sees it as the only player which has a true global mandate and he is actively building a United Citizens Organisation for Action for Climate Empowerment, based on the blockchain.
Polzer’s passion for the planet began when he was just 16 years old and the first report, The Limits to Growth was published by the Club of Rome, a think tank of highly placed politicians, scientists and business leaders from around the world. The club and book looked at the impacts of growth on earth without limits and the resulting devastating results – but the report also contained hope if appropriate action was taken.
Polzer was given an assignment to present the findings of the book to his class and was summarily hooked on the cause of saving the planet. Even at that stage, his vision was global and he knew this work had to be done cross borders for it to be meaningful.
He pursued his career in Austria and by March 2007 founded the IAAI initially looking for philanthropic money to fund the organisation. His desire was to link all the different stakeholders together – whether UN, government entities, or non-state actors.
“Our vision is to have a functioning global governance mechanism based in the blockchain community.”
The hope of garnering international philanthropic monies from billionaires such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who had signed up to the Giving Pledge did not materialise.
“There is more than $1 trillion pledged by more than 200 signatories but in the end, the money is not flowing. We presented at the UN Climate Change Conference in 2016 looking for $100 million to resource the young, committed people and we were asked about accountability – that’s when the blockchain became crucial to our goal of offering transparency.”
Polzer’s introduction to NFTs was when the Austrian post authorities issued a crypto stamp with a digital twin two years ago.
“I was really impressed with the aesthetic – both the digital and the physical. We began thinking about the technology and how we could use NFTs to create an individual climate action dashboard platform and app.
“We thought we could create a mechanism to identify individual contributions to local and global climate action, mint NFTs which would be held in people’s wallets. In time, they might own a NFTs marking their lifetime legacy of what they have done for the climate.”
In addition, Polzer sees the blockchain providing an opportunity to track where monies are spent and by whom – always a powerful persuader when working with public money and global entities. Furthermore blockchain enables the attribution of climate action outcomes to those who contributed enabling resources, thus people can “own” very specific climate action stories’ NFTs as well as certified outcomes of climate action that they have contributed to.
“Blockchain will allow the creation of new types of local and global social contracts.”
While Polzer holds strong views on the energy consumption of layer one blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, which he regards as unacceptable on global communities journey towards low carbon future, but he also recognizes the historic merits of proof-of-work blockchains as the Austrian crypto stamp was his first introduction to crypto and was also minted on the Ethereum blockchain. He is cross, however, at the tardiness of the arrival of Ethereum 2.0. Those delays forced him into exploring other blockchains when he came across Polkadot.
At the same time he witnessed Irina Karagyaur, head of metaverse at Unique Network, speaking at a seminar. He was so impressed by her personality and competence that he formed a partnership with Unique Network NFT platform. The IAAI/Unique partnership has gone on to earn recognition from the UN and in partnership with UN Habitat and other partners they have implemented the DigitalArt4Climate initiative in 2021. This initiative culminated in a global art competition, the winners of which were announced in Glasgow at COP26.
“It’s only the beginning. An important UN partner for us is UN Habitat, which looks after cities and settlements. They have a very strong youth program, and we are using these connections to reach out to young artists across the world.
“We intend to raise money through the auction of these NFTs which will in turn fund our programs, which are closely aligned with the Action for Climate Empowerment program, the leading non-state actors and youth engagement program of the UN system.”
It’s a powerful combination – climate change, art and young people. Polzer’s commitment over the years has positioned him well to network and partner with the global entities he needs to create borderless campaigns. Art is only the first cultural hook, in time he will include dance, music and writing. He already set up a Global Youth Music contest in 2012 and this will be incorporated going forward.
“Culture is the best way to gain the trust and support of young people and through these initiatives we will foster sustainable campaigns and actions for the good of the planet. We need to win the hearts of the people for bolder global cooperation on climate action, and DigitalArt4Climate is a wonderful program to achieve this.”
If NFTs were invented back in 1972, Polzer’s digital wallet would surely be packed with inspiring NFTs from across the years.