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Billet de blog 8 janv. 2016

The shortest way to a soft and smart revolution: the Crocus Currency!

And what if vegetation could ”save the world”?! The Crocus, a new refreshing idea!

Fonctionnaire de l'Etat, actuellement en congé sabbatique
Abonné·e de Mediapart

Ce blog est personnel, la rédaction n’est pas à l’origine de ses contenus.

 What the crocus is.

The first complementary & ecological world currency.

Who will issue it ?

The UN, in which a new branch has been created: OMF (Organic Monetary Fund).

How will this money be created, on what basis?

This currency will be indexed to the amount of healthy living biomass per square meter. That means soils, plants, and animals of the terrestrial land area (natural and agricultural environments). It aims to promote biomass expansion, by "green inflation".


Because it's the best way to collect atmospheric carbon (CO2) by putting it in the ground and greenery, and curb global warming and feed humanity at the same time, regenerating damaged environments and sustaining fresh water resources.


Why create a currency?

Because it will encourage cooperation and exchange between populations. It’s a tool that connects people and is the opportunity to share common values worldwide: We all need to eat. Healthy plant biomass is the true wealth of our planet.

By concretely grounding economy, such a tool will provide the necessary counterweight to the ex nihilo creation of money and financial madness which are both causes of the plundering and pollution of the planet,

What does "healthy biomass" mean ?

- All natural environment,

- Forests which are cared for on a long term basis

- And organic crop cultivation, agro-ecology, poly-crops associated with livestock, and permaculture.

(See below notes # 1 and # 2)

What is not considered as such?

Monoculture, because it impoverishes the soil (organic matter and biological wealth) also industrial agriculture because it uses chemical pollutants (fertilizers and biocides); factory farming because the animals are totally confined and in bad health.

Who measures the increase in the biomass and its quality?

The world scientific community of ecologists will observe variations. Scientific and technical resources, (satellites, computers…) exist today to rigorously and transparently manage the necessary databases.

# 3

Doesn’t Taiga biomass grow less than the tropical biomass?

Yes, that’s why weightings are applied according to physical conditions (latitude, altitude, exposure ...), the state of degradation, the project concerning the area, its potential for re-vegetation, and its predictable growth rate.

With possible bonuses, for example for countries already subject to climate degradation and its consequences.

Who does the UN attribute crocuses to?

- To any country maintaining a healthy, stable biomass: stopping deforestation, and either stopping or compensating for the damage done to the land by construction, concretisation or destruction;

- To any country that significantly increases the biomass, by re-orientating agricultural practices and making them gradually more sustainable and regenerative.

The implementation of these measures can take place rapidly.

What do governments do with the crocuses they receive ?

They can only assign them to real people.

- Who as individuals are engaged in re-conversion or ecological restoration of impoverished land: Areas cultivated with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, GMOs etc.

- People engaged in the creation or the maintenance of healthy agricultural ecosystems,

- People engaged in the protection of natural environments

Meaning what?

Owners of small farms, workers in the primary sector, (agricultural employees, forest workers) and the staff who monitor natural reserves of biodiversity.


 Even workers exploited by multinationals?

The crocus cannot be paid unless the employers of these workers give them union rights. Similarly, the crocuses are allocated by the UN only to countries that fight effectively against corruption.

What do people who are allocated crocuses do with them?

- Either they exchange them against the currency of their country (only they can do so ; the exchange rate is set by the UN), or the crocuses are "redeemed" by the government to help initiate biomass growth projects elsewhere.

- Or they exchange it against the societal local currency of their region or community.

What will it result in?

- The remuneration of small farmers and employees of the primary sector will be increased because their work provides healthy food .

- The source of jobs in this sector will increase considerably as it is an intensive, ecological and intelligently cultivated form of agriculture. The workforce required is important.

- Working with nature and not against it, mastering both traditional know-how and modern holistic methods including permaculture “design”, these trades will finally be recognized at their fair value.

- Likewise for the jobs concerning the protection of nature, prevention against poaching and the smuggling of protected species, for example.

- The articulation of crocuses with local societal currencies contributes to the re-vitalization of local services, including small or non solvent activities.

- Societal resilience is increased thanks to alimentary autonomy, health, employment, sociability, local governance, the role of women…

Isn’t it equivalent, in the end, to compensating farmers and conservationists for services rendered ?

Yes, in a way, and it is quite legitimate for it is through them that mankind will benefit from durable and sustainable ecosystem services. # 4

By their nurturing role, work to improve healthy agricultural systems, the protection of natural environments and biodiversity, and the "climate-smart services" they provide they will indeed avoid: global warming, famines, epidemics, climate exodus, wars, the collapse of the Earth's ecosystem.

That's a lot of virtuous effects.

This is a new global inter-human contract, through a concrete, restorative monetary mediation, which could revitalize humanity as it approaches the end of a cycle and is faced with a hard challenge.

As Matthieu Ricard suggests, to remedy the focus on a selfish and short-term view, we must "learn to reconcile our three time frames: the short-term economy, the mid-term quality of life, and the long-term economy of the environment. " (Forum of the positive economy held in Le Havre, September 2015) # 5

Monetary and ecological creativity is, perhaps, the trick that will help humanity escape by a socio-ecological "shift", a soft revolution.

Because this tool:

- is based on a solid wealth, the dynamics of prolific abundance shown by nature, a direct consequence of inexhaustible solar energy (on a human scale at least) and the result of evolution over billions of years; # 6

- will enable humanity to finally regulate its activity on “Earth-as-a system”, i.e.from a thermodynamic point of view; # 7

- can powerfully help alleviate the changing climate conditions we already observe, that we must most urgently contain.

- through photosynthesis, will trap carbon from the atmosphere (where it has accumulated as CO2) and put it where it’s most useful to life on earth: in plants (especially trees and soil), and animals; # 8

- this transformation of the maximum incident light energy into plant and animal calories is equivalent to the storage of large scale solar energy in living tissue.

- is the base of a revitalized water cycle: the increase of the total mass of fresh water, including plant water vapor, is necessary to cool lands locally, and the earth globally; # 9 and # 10

- will thereby reduce extreme weather events such as, hurricanes and tornadoes, hail, heat waves, droughts... ;

- will prevent the erosion of land upstream of populated areas, floods in human systems (because healthy ecosystems and agro-systems play the role of a sponge), and downstream sedimentation harmful to aquatic environments;

- will improve the quality of fresh water, the water of a healthy ecosystem is very pure;

- will rebalance territories between urban and rural areas;

- will protect the production of subsistence food in relation to the globalized and capitalistic food market;

- by reflecting the amount of healthy environments on the planet, will be effective in the materialization of a global rule of law. We must now imperatively reason as a "global human society". If we don’t that will lead mankind to its ruin.

La Milpa en Amérique du Sud : maïs, haricot et courge © 

There are many obstacles, starting with the present monetary-financial system ...

We don’t discard it. A parallel system is created to have an additional instrument to add to the current ,"climate diplomacy".

What if a country refuses to be involved in the project concept, and continues to sell off its biomass auctioning it to the highest bidder?

Nothing. It is the choice of each government to accept or refuse to be funded with crocuses. In the case of refusal, the population is likely to disagree, with the possible consequences for the government in question.

People, trapped by energy intoxication, are grouped in gigantic cities ...

Yes, but we know this model is not sustainable and the reverse may occur.

Is not the most crucial problem that of overpopulation? But hardly anyone talks about it.

The growing human population puts indeed enormous pressure on the environment; it depends on many social, cultural and economic factors within each continent and even in each country.

On the whole, all measures aimed at providing a better education for girls, more job opportunities and higher wages for women can encourage them to have smaller and healthier families. The crocus is among those instruments.

Note that in tribal societies, balance with the environment is made possible thanks to birth control; these indigenous peoples had invented family planning long before us!

A mature forest is in equilibrium: its stock of carbon does not change and it is therefore neither a source nor a "sink" for carbon.

That’s right, a tree stores carbon mainly while it’s growing, then its role as a "carbon sink" disappears.

But if a mature forest is exploited in a lasting way, by regenerating trees extracted by the cuts, its carbon stock remains constant while the harvested timber, which will be stored over long periods (during construction for example), is another carbon tank.

By producing fuel for heating or power generation, or both (cogeneration), the forest also provides an energy generating few GHG (greenhouse gas) only for cutting and transport .

An adapted forestry strategy can play a positive role as regard climate warming by acting as a carbon sink and providing renewable materials and fuels with a favorable carbon audit.

# 11

A lot of water will be needed to implement these projects. Water resources are already under strong, even extreme tension (see Middle East)

Permaculture combines power of life and human intelligence. It mimics and enhances the natural processes. It's efficiency in creating synergies can revegetate the desert with a very limited amount of water.  # 12

Is private property not a problem?

This is a problem, but only partially. Autonomy in food and money creation are attributes of State sovereignty, (or groups of states: Europe). Governments can strongly influence agricultural land use.

And corporate power?

With crocuses, agro-industry declines. Countries are more protective of small farm agriculture and are likely to take measures to put an end to “land-grabbing”.

Isn’t it too expensive for the international community? The UN is poor and dependent largely on the goodwill of the United States of America...

If only a tenth of what all international institutions cost (compared to the well-being they really bring to populations), is allotted to this new institution, it will already have the means to significantly move ahead in the indispensable ecological progress facing humanity.

Now that the Americans have finally accepted the reality of climate change, they must understand that the cost of failing to act now will be astronomical.

Is this not tantamount to putting a price on nature?

No, because what is taken into account to generate the crocuses is a living, diversified and growing biomass.

To illustrate the global issue, take a picture related to our everyday life: consider an orchard that you have inherited from your grandparents farmers, or a green space in your city.

If you sell it (or if the town sells it) you get a sum of money but it will go into the economy and after a moment, in the end, will run out.

Whereas, if you decide to establish a permacultural micro-farm, cleverly organized according to sunshine and land, with a house and outbuildings, a vegetable garden, a forest-garden, edible hedges, chickens and ducks, a fish pond, beehives, of course an orchard ... Not only do you perceive crocuses every year, but you no longer have any desire to sell this land at all. Because it feeds you, it gives you a part time job, it sustains the surrounding community (artisans for services, teachers for your kids, artists for pleasure, etc. using a societal local currency)… Moreover, it gives you happiness.

So we are not in the case where nature is just a valuable good to be bought or sold. Your piece of land is ... priceless.


Why now? Isn’t it too late?

In regard to timing, the crocus is ideal to accompany the maturing of clean energies, especially with storage in view(see # 13)

For carried out on a large-scale, reconstruction of rich natural and agricultural environments will capture CO2 at least for decades (the time of tree growth) and even beyond since a significant proportion of carbon will be stored long-term in soils.

This proactive biological and ecological enrichment strategy should reserve for wildlife the rightful place that it needs if we want to urgently halt the collapse of biodiversity. (# 14)

As the saying goes "it's never too late to start! ".

How to propagate the idea?

On the one hand, the idea may seem a bit hard to explain because it mixes several concepts, it is multidisciplinary.

On the other hand, the suggestion will speak to every human being, at least to those who still have common sense, as the principle directly addresses our relationship to Mother Earth.

People will feel concerned with a tool that touches two basic aspects of their lives: money and food (moreover strongly correlated with health and employment).

People are not stupid: we all understand that humanity must choose between doing and dying. We are only waiting for a signal to stop being paralyzed by a dark future.

But we must hurry!

It is a race against the clock. We will act together quickly without waiting to be told what to do from above.

The tool exists and it is fantastic: internet which connects people all over the world (before it is withdrawn from us!)

To regain control over our destiny and require the UN to create this green and virtuous international complementary currency, we will launch a huge petition for citizens all around the world. For a collective appropriation of money in a planetary perspective of ecology, solidarity and ethics.

For example, on the website change.org

Will humanity resume its destiny in hand?

Social networks show a high sensitivity to global issues, there are remarks like:

" No business can take place on a dead planet" (Vandana Shiva)

"When the last drop of water is polluted, the last animal hunted and the last tree cut, the white man will understand that money cannot be eaten." (Native American Wisdom)

"Stop smiling in front of your screens I am talking about serious things. I am talking about the future of humanity.

This cannot go on. This way of life has no meaning. We waste everything, we destroy everything.

We laminate forests to make disposable tissues.

Everything has become disposable: cutlery, pens, clothes, cameras, cars, and without realizing it, you too are becoming disposable.

Give up this kind of superficial life. You must give it up now before you are forced to give it up tomorrow. "

(Bernard Werber, Ants)

Crocus par Christine Ellger © 


# 1

« Natural environment » includes: areas where man leaves the land to nature alone, transition areas, wasteland, marshes, moors, bogs, road edges, banks, embankments... + natural reserves (inaccessible places, mountain peaks, barren, deserted places ...) and institutional ones (parks); that is « what constitutes the privileged space docking of biological diversity, genetic reservoir of the planet, the space of the future» (Gilles Clément, Le Tiers Paysage http://www.gillesclement.com/cat-tierspaysage-tit-le-Tiers-Paysage)

# 2

Permaculture, a contraction of "permanent agriculture", is about designing ecological human habitats and food production systems with a great capacity for resilience (adapting to change) when faced with the hazards of life (climate, illness, etc). It strives for the harmonious integration of human dwellings, microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, soils, and water into stable, productive communities. The focus is not on these elements themselves, but rather on the relationships created among them. The founding principle is based on the observation of nature and its models; it unites the traditional knowledge of the ancients and recent scientific discoveries.

The goals of permaculture are simple: decreasing the stress on humans, improving the use of energy in all its forms (waste becoming resources), working in cooperation with nature and not against it.

The pioneers in this field are the American J. Russell Smith, author of Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture (1929), the Australian PA Yeomans (Water for every farm, 1964), the Japanese Masanobu Fukuoka (One revolution straw, 1975). The Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, authors of Permaculture 1 (1978), are the two co-founders of the concept as it exists today, and which covers much broader concerns that the only agricultural component.

# 3

See this (french) Article by Sylvestre Huet: « The cover of the Earth at a 300m approximation » (the European Space Agency has established a complete mapping of terrestrial soils, by satellite) http://sciences.blogs.liberation.fr/home/2014/10/la-couverture-de-la-terre-%C3%A0-300-m-pr%C3%A8s.html

and also:

« SMAP, a NASA satellite that tracks soil moisture » (computer graphics), french


# 4

Ecosystems and Human Well-being by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment - United Nations, March 2005

(on page 50, see: Box Figure A, « Illustration of Linkages between Ecosystem Services and Human Well-being »)


# 5

Source: « The environment, why nobody cares » (french)


# 6

As Claude Bourguignon, a specialist in soil biology, puts it: « You sow a seed ,you harvest a hundred, Who could do better ? »

# 7

See François Roddier, astrophysicist, author of Thermodynamics of evolution: An essay of thermo-bio-sociology, (french) Editions Parole, 2012

# 8

"From a technical point of view the priority solutions must associate cultures that combine various species and varieties, complementary in space and in time, so it can intercept the sunlight for the best and transform the maximum light energy into food calories, through photosynthesis »

Source: « This rich expertise of farmers in the South », by Marc Dufumier (Le Monde Diplomatique, April 2006, p. 11), french

# 9

"The work of nature is a whole. The atmosphere and biosphere interact. The plant needs water, and even destroys some of it to make energy out of it. The oxygen which comes out escapes immediately. But to capture CO2 with a larger molecule, plants must open pores in their green foliage. Then fresh water steam escapes under pressure. (...) This transpiration of trees, about 200 l a summer day for a plane-tree aged a hundred and fifty years, proves very pure water. It recharges the clouds and swells the rain , it refreshes the atmosphere in the city and near busy roads. It soaks suspended particles, makes them heavier and brings them down , thus making the air lighter." (Marie-Paule Nougaret, author of La Cité des Plantes, Actes Sud publishing)

# 10

As Claude Bourguignon, who certainly has a gift for words puts it : "It’s not the climate that makes the soil but the soil makes the climate"

# 11

« Forests, what carbon footprint? » Cabinet Lamy Environment (french)


Attention however: burning wood produces pollutants, mostly fine particles, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), sources of public health problems.

# 12

Geoff Lawton explains his project "greening the desert" in Jordan, and discusses its evolution (fruit trees being planted in desertic environments; how to revegetate an arid environment with a limited amount of water, creating fruit forests or food forest, with ecological methods) Video added on Jan 23, 2014, duration 36 minutes. 33:

Permaculture-Greening the Desert (Geoff Lawton) vo / Fr – YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2wvrH9amrA

# 13

« Current storage technologies and their mature state » (french) - IFPEN (IFP - Energies nouvelles, former French Petroleum Institute)


# 14

The famous American biologist and Harvard professor Edward O. Wilson, who introduced the term biodiversity in the scientific literature in 1986, proposes to devote half of the Earth's surface to the preservation of biodiversity.

Edward O. Wilson Half-Earth, Our Planet's Fight for Life (A Liveright book, to be published on march 2016) http://books.wwnorton.com/books/detail.aspx?ID=4294989875

See « Setting aside half the Earth for 'rewilding': the ethical dimension » https://theconversation.com/setting-aside-half-the-earth-for-rewilding-the-ethical-dimension-46121

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