Towards a complementary green world currency? The Crocus in 20 short questions!


 A new kind of money to impulse climate change mitigation : the Crocus !

1)     What is it?


An international currency that could be created by the UN.


(Parallel to the current monetary and financial system, with no interaction between them at first, see below).


2) What would its purpose be?


To tackle atmospheric CO2 for mitigating climate change, and ensure that all living beings have healthy food and drinking water.


3) On what basis, on what principle?


Backed by (= indexed upon = pegged to) terrestrial healthy living biomass, this currency would reflect the dynamics of the vital processes within natural ecosystems as well as sustainable human agro-ecosystems.


The Crocus I © Hélène Nivoix The Crocus I © Hélène Nivoix


4) What mechanism would encourage countries to act in a virtuous way?


The payment of a certain sum if healthy biomass of that country is increased.


5)     In practical terms, what should be done?


Three possibilities:

-        Regeneration, preservation or increase in size of all forests, wetlands, natural prairies, and generally any environment where biodiversity must be preserved;


-        Preservation or growth of ethical agro-ecosystems (ecologically intensive agriculture, small scale farming and sustainable farming, and  all kinds of organic farming);


-    Transformation of arable land that is currently farmed with a conventional agriculture (chemical fertilizers, pesticidies, GMO’s, etc) into a sustainable and virtuous model, ideally,  permaculture.


Attributing Crocuses would prove and reward the efforts a government makes in order to increase the value of its territory on a long term basis, to promote employment, to feed its people, and contribute to slowing down global warming (it has been proven that the biomass – oceans included – is the most powerful carbon sink… together with putting a stop to the huge waste and mismanagement of fossil fuels use, of course).


6)     Why a currency?


Because it’s the way to get committed people to cooperate and exchange with each other.


Because all that is green is naturally inflationary, while necessarily remaining within reasonable limits.


7)     Where would the funds come from?


The currency supply in Crocuses would be created by the OMF: Organic Monetary Fund, a new “branch” of the UN.


This organization would be in charge of the financial coordination, the deployment of a scientific and technical observation-tool, as well as a supporting role for the countries willing to become involved in the process.


8)     How would the first attribution be done?


Each country would be granted a quota of Crocuses according to the current state of its biomass (agricultural and natural environments), and probably also in terms of its population:  socio-economic factors should be taken into account at this stage. For example: This would be the case of countries already affected by climate change.


9)     Would the Crocus be convertible Into Euros, Dollars, or any other currency?


No not for the moment. For that to happen, a financial system to deal with an international clearing house would have to be created. This would be  similar to the Bancor project (proposal of a world-currency) imagined by J.M. Keynes, which was discussed during the Bretton-Woods summit in 1944, but not accepted. Studies are underway for a similar project applicable to the present day.

However, the Crocus currency would be convertible with societal local currencies.


10) Apart from testifying to the improvement of the biosphere’s global health, what else would this currency be used for?


It would allow countries to exchange with each other (on an agricultural basis and in other ways too).


In the countries involved (and upon democratic decision voted by parliament), the Crocus could be linked to other societal currencies created by communauties and local authorities (the government supervising it only a posteriori).


11)  Who would be in charge of certifying the improvement of natural and agricultural environments?


The scientific community would be able to carry out the first evaluation, and then observe its evolution, (on an annual basis for example).


Initially, a worldwide meeting of specialists would allow open assessments  for every type of ecosystem, according to scales relative to different latitudes (climate zones) : soils in temperate countries, for example, don’t have the same capacity to generate humus compared to those of tropical, warm and humid countries.


Humanity has more than enough scientific and technical means (satellites, computers, supercalculators ...) to rigorously and transparently manage  the necessary databases.


12)  Could we use the biomass as a source of energy?


Yes, but on condition that it doesn’t compromise the quality of the soils. Therefore it would only be with the sustainable label.


13)  Why now?


Because big decisions about climate change must be taken in Paris in November 2015.


The urgency is here and now, because due to climate change, agriculture may become increasingly compromised, and its efficiency more and more erratic ...


 © Hélène Nivoix © Hélène Nivoix


14)  Why should we link the currency to something material? The experience of indexing the pound sterling to gold was a disaster…


More than something material, the biomass is a dynamic and fertile natural phenomenon, expressing the extensive capacities of plant life, and more generally of living organisms, to transform and stock solar energy.


With the biodiversity that relies on it, biomass is an indicator of the health of the environment, which is the true wealth on this Earth.


15)  Are there any risks of adverse effects?


There’s no shortage of failed attempts:

-      the actual “Green capitalism” treates biodiversity as a commodity

-      environmental compensation systems loosing  all credibility

-       inefficient or manipulated carbon market

-      failure of the Yasuni project falling short its initial objectives


This would really be a joint effort by humanity to save themselves from climate catastrophe (expected collapse of the Earth ecosystems), that’s why all of us should work for its success, and be vigilant as to how it is implemented.


16) Is private property the problem?


It’s an issue, but only partly. In so far as autonomy in the food domain and money supply are attributes of the sovereignty of the countries (or groups of countries, such as the European Union), the governments can strongly influence how farmland is used.


17)  What about the corporate power of multinational companies?


The Crocus would confer a stronger legitimacy and incentives to countries to preserve their lands against any “land-grabbing” exploitation.


The accreditation of a country within the Crocus system would be on condition of  the respect of farm workers trade-union rights, to democratic reforms, and to the fight against corruption.


18)  Wouldn’t the Crocus generate land speculation?


Not as long as it is the governments who receive the Crocuses.


19)  Wouldn’t such a system be too expensive for the international community? The UN is poor, and relies mainly on the United States’ goodwill…


If only one tenth of the total cost of all the international institutions (compared to the actual wellbeing they provide to  people) was allotted to this new institution, it would already have the means to considerably push forward the essential ecological progress, towards which mankind will have to go anyway.


Now that the United States has finally recognized the reality of climate change, they should logically understand that, unless we act now, the cost of the damage that is being done will rocket to astronomical heights.


20)  Practically, how can we push ahead with this idea?


For things to start moving, this proposal should find an echo among the scientific, intellectual and artistic communities, who, like us, are scared by the turn our world is taking. There’s no lack of such people, but we have to  spread the idea around us so it gains ground!


This launching could happen on the occasion of the World Day of soils (December 5). The 68th UN General Assembly declared 2015 the International Year of Soils (IYS), which aims to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem functions.


I ask you: what do we expect ??!!


Crocus vernus © Crocus vernus ©


    Thank you for your attention.

    ( - 2014-10-17)


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