Blockchain-based carbon offset company sparks 35,000 acre forest fire

Land Life is a company that offers “Technology-driven reforestation at scale,” the kind of business that boasts buzzwords like this:

Land Life Company is committed to its high-tech approach to smart reforestation, and applies it every step of the way: from beginning the process with detailed climate analysis to using specialized machines to mechanically speed up the planting of biodiverse species to then monitoring growth with our proprietary terrestrial monitoring app and drones.

Basically, they sell carbon offsets in the form of trees. However, it’s not entirely clear how much carbon they’ve actually offset with their reforestation programs, especially given that, back in 2018, Land Life scored € 3.5 million in Series A Funding by promising “Patented planting technologies, autonomous planting, remote monitoring and blockchain verification. ” That sounds like it could potentially be pretty carbon intensive!

And anyway, they started the fire, and it wasn’t always burning since the world was turning. Via Vice:

The fire started in Bubierca, a province of Zaragoza, the capital of autonomous community Aragon, when a Land Life contractor planting trees accidentally set off sparks that ignited nearby plant life.

“The fire started while one of our contractors was using a retro-spider excavator to prepare the soil to plant trees later this winter,” Land Life said in a statement on Thursday. “The operators alerted the emergency services. The emergency teams are working non-stop to control the fire and have fortunately established the fire perimeter. Nonetheless, we are devastated by the latest estimate that the damage will be around 14,000 hectares,” or roughly 35,000 acres. “

35,000 acres, FWIW, is likely more than the company had actually planted thus far. They also caused a similar fire just about one month ago, although that one only wiped out about 50 acres of forest. According to a local news source in Spain, this most recent fire caused more than 2,000 people to be evacuated from five municipalities in the vicinity of the 35,000-acre fire.

To be fair, large swaths of Spanish land were already on fire thanks in part to the heat wave that’s been going on. But clearly Land Life’s efforts aren’t doing much to help with that whole climate change thing!

Corporate Carbon Offset Company Accidentally Starts Devastating Wildfire [Edward Ongweso Jr and Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai / Vice]

Image: Cameron Strandberg / Flickr (CC-BY-SA 2.0)



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