The Creative Coral Project is a collaboration in regenerative art to initiate ecological restoration specifically in response to a large-scale construction project in the port of Lamu, Kenya. The project integrates local art to help restore and heal the damaged habitats and simultaneously develop new economic opportunities for local artists and dhow operators.
Lamu archipelago hosts a unique mix of coral and fish species due to the convergence of the East African Coastal Current (EACC) and the cold upwelling of the Somali current. The Lamu Port construction has damaged coral in the area, due to dredging to deepen the channels for ships. The dredging causes turbidity that limits photosynthesis and causes sediments to settle onto the reef, suffocating coral and other essential organisms.
The fishing and trading communities of Lamu Island have survived for thousands of years. Damaged reef affects tourism and fishing. As the fish disappear and the overall ecosystem health declines, increased hardship and loss of sustenance will have expanding, negative reverberations into the human, economic and social dimensions. Steps need to be taken to help the coral reefs heal and thrive so that human communities can also prosper.
This project seeks to reintegrate cultural, economic and ecological dynamics. We are initiating art projects with local Swahili sculptors who will create art that can serve as a regenerative underwater garden for new coral growth. In addition, we will employ decentralized finance, Web3 and blockchain technologies (via NFT art and smart contracts) to distribute project resources directly back into the local economy and ecology. Our unique "oikalogical" model re-couples the local economy and ecology.
The Creative Coral Project is an ongoing collaboration between Oika, The Collective Sovereignty Community Organization, The Marine Foundation and a team of International advisors. Together we are securing adequate funding and working with several technology partners to build the necessary Web3 infrastructure. In addition, we have teamed up with ecological research and conservation organizations to ensure proper coral gardening techniques, preliminary site assessment and ongoing ecological monitoring.
In addition to the efforts at the international level, we depend on local-level coordination. This begins with the Collective Sovereignty Community Organization in Lamu who is working closely with island-based Swahili artists and local business partners that include dhow and tourism operators, fishermen and women's collectives. Part of true ecological intelligence is sensitivity and responsiveness to the full spectrum of ecological health and cultural norms.
At present we are focused on additional fundraising, engaging with appropriate artists, acquiring the scientific skills for coral seeding and building the Web3 architecture. Our most immediate need is assistance in the design of smart contracts that can effectively integrate real-world, quantitative ecological data into the blockchain. We seek a developer in Solidity, Node.js or React Web3.js to help us code and deploy this functionality. Note: as we wish to minimize carbon footprint, we are hoping to launch shortly after the Ethereum Merge.