In August 2015 their council in Caerphilly unanimously rejected mining company Miller-Argent’s proposal for a new open cast coal mine because of harmful pollution. But in January 2016, the mining company lodged an appeal with the Welsh Government. Now the community is trying to raise money to put strong representation at the Public Inquiry. They need £40,000.
“This community fought for four years to resist this proposal, which would see the company working right up to the doorsteps of the community for 15 years.” said Chris Austin of the United Valleys Action Group (UVAG), “this appeal has been hanging over us”.
In May 2016, as part of a worldwide outcry against fossil fuel expansion, citizens from across Europe gathered in the Welsh countryside and closed down the coal company’s existing coal mine for 24 hours. But as often happens in these situations, once the coal dust settles (in the lungs of local people and their children) business gets back to usual.
This resistance is mirrored in the United States where opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline is also reaching fever pitch. But here also, communities such as the Emery’s Rosebud reservation in South Dakota are relatively poor – many living below the poverty line.
“This is an example of the problem more generally”. said Fraser Brown the Founder of ACT who is based in Northern Ireland, “Communities can make a gallant effort at creating noise and even stopping developments in their tracks. But eventually corporate power and/or State power outweighs their meagre resources. No more. ACT is the World’s solution to this imbalance of power – it can amplify citizen voice and it can drive resources at any speed and any scale from a global community to ensure that schemes such as Miller Argent’s do not go ahead”.
ACT, an Ethereum blockchain based social action funding platform, is powered by smart contracts, which facilitate a decentralized proposal curation and voting system. Its Founders and backers believe that it could revolutionise the NGO world, and are calling it “NGO 2.0”.
It has already raised $190,000 from 293 participants to build the Decentralized Autonomous Organisation (DAO) on the Ethereum blockchain. It did this in just five days using a new decentralized crowdfunding method called an initial coin offering (ICO), which can only be funded with the Ether cryptocurrency. ACT’s “pre-ICO” started on Tuesday 18th July and runs until 1st August. ACT’s mission is to drive global change by supporting citizen action. It does this through a reliable, transparent and decentralized platform open to citizens worldwide.
Now ACT’s team has decided to support the United Valleys Action Group with a readiness grant as they prepare for a larger proposal on the ACT alpha platform which could be ready as soon as October 2017.
Chris Austin from the Welsh community group told the ACT community:
“I hope you can all share in our eventual win when we drive-off this onerous scheme once again.”