Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Triangles are the most stable geometry in the physical world. Force on any corner is redistributed over the widest possible area and all sides reinforce one another. This is why triangles are essential elements in construction going back to the Pyramids, the longest lasting human architecture still standing.

Triangles have a less favourable reputation for stability when it comes to human relationships, particularly those of the romantic variety. But in the case of The Maia Maia Project, triangles provide an extremely sturdy and durable social foundation that can provide new sources of livelihood and a sustainable economy.

The Maia Maia Project logo consists of a triangle of hands floating above the spiral of a sea shell in cross section. The sea shell represents our ideal, to build our lives and homes by removing carbon from our air and thus avoiding the sufferings of global warming. The hands are the three institutions that work together to achieve this - our schools, our families, and our businesses.

Schools are the starting place because they are our institutions with the longest view on the future, focused as they are on the education and success of the next generation. By bringing families and concerned members of the community together they provide the social glue that encourages us to stick to our pledges to reduce our emissions and thereby reward ourselves with booyas.

Our familes, by reducing emissions and receiving booyas for our efforts, naturally feel pride in our collective accomplishment and this reaffirms our commitment to our children and to their schools. This relationship, as such, does not require overt policing even though monetary value is created in the issuing of booyas. Who would want to jeopardise those good feelings, not to mention the good will extended towards our children?

When Businesses accept booyas as part of their sales, they reflect this good will back to their customers. By doing so they are developing a relationship of trust that will pay back in the form of customer loyalty. There is little incentive for them try to game the system since that would invalidate the object of the exercise.

By donating booyas back to the school and completing the cycle, the businesses are establishing long term relationships with enduring institutions in their community. By accepting the donations to use in various sustainability projects the schools are tapping into broader resources in their community, resources that are critical to expanding their educational mission in a time of constrained budgets.

The key point is that these transactions build up a triangle of social and economic relationships that are mutually beneficial, self-sustaining and thereby require minimal administrative oversight.

Compare this to the massive inefficiencies, and complex, expensive, and intrusive institutions required to prevent corruption in our national economy.

The magic of using emissions reductions as the medium of exchange is that, as measurable and universal indicators of good will and kind actions, they allow value created by these local triangles to be spent in other communities.

Linking up all these triangles through the use of Emissions Reduction Currency Systems has the potential to create an extremely durable social framework upon which to build up our communities to meet the challenges of this brave new millennium.