From rights in the metaverse to community forests

Jay Owen Trendspotting, Wealth of Networks, Beyond GDP, Latest Headlines

“Ethical Markets welcomes this focus by the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the idiocies of Silicon Valley’s promotion of virtual reality and the so-called: “metaverse”! We have been following these dangerous trends for several years, see my “Steering Social Media Toward Sanity”  and my forthcoming article:

“ENSLAVING OURSELVES TO INFOTECH SPEED AND VIRTUAL REALITY:  Progress or Collective Insanity?”, coming Dec 4, 2021.

~Hazel Henderson, Editor”




Everything is meta. Or soon will be.

With more companies leaping into the fast-growing digital world, and with everything from virtual goods to AI-powered avatars, ownership and privacy rights are being pushed into unchartered territory.

Putting more of ourselves into digital worlds will offer a wealth of new data that can be captured, recorded and sold, and some of the thorniest issues around the metaverse revolve around users’ personal data and privacy rights, reports Sonia Elks.                       

“That is why the public needs to be a part of the conversation and have a say … otherwise tech becomes a part of your life without you ever having made that choice,” said Fredrik Hellberg, co-founder of digital architecture studio Space Popular.


Visitors are pictured in front of an immersive art installation titled “Machine Hallucinations – Space: Metaverse” by media artist Refik Anadol, which will be converted into NFT and auctioned online at Sotheby’s, at the Digital Art Fair, in Hong Kong, China September 30, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Meanwhile, as a down-to-earth solution to creating urban and rural green spaces that involve residents in conservation efforts, community forests are taking root across the United States, reports Carey L. Biron.

A federal programme helped establish dozens of them across the country in the past decade to help meet local aims including conservation, tourism and watershed protection, as well as halting Black land loss and helping Native American tribes regain their land.

Now, the movement could get another boost with the “Build Back Better” package under discussion in Congress, which includes $100 million for acquisitions of urban and community forests.

“These forests are permanently conserved, and the benefits from that land are flowing directly to the community and reflecting their values,” said Shelby Semmes, a director with the nonprofit Trust for Public Land.

A birdwatcher stands in the Bethel Community Forest in Bethel, Maine. Handout photo by Jerry and Marcy Monkman courtesy of the Trust for Public Land

And finally, can advertising agencies glamorise climate solutions? The industry has been criticised for being complicit in greenwashing campaigns and for promoting excessive consumption.

But it could play a major role in driving greener choices, as the industry attracts some of the most creative, inventive and persuasive people, reports Laurie Goering.

“The major impact of the advertising industry is its ‘brainprint’, the emissions of influence, the ability to normalise, obfuscate (or) greenwash some of the bad practice we see around the world,” said Solitaire Townsend, co-founder of Futerra, a creative agency focused on sustainability.