Will an NFT sale for climate change make a difference? I think not (but please prove me wrong)

"La Déesse Hiti III" from "Illusions" by Namsa Leuba.
(Image credit: Namsa Leuba)

A group of fine art photographers have rallied together to launch a series of NFTs in an effort to battle climate change… but who is buying NFTs these days? It very much seems like they have had their heyday and, as much as I am here for climate-fighting initiatives, I can’t help but feel that selling NFTs isn’t the answer. 

In the last few months, it feels like AI has replaced NFTs as the latest tech trend. For a period of time, everyone from Instagram to the Associated Press was reportedly creating NFT marketplaces and selling NFTs – but since May 2022 the market has seriously dropped. 

• This is how I sell my photographs as NFTs

NFTs first became a huge craze when Beeple's collage, Everydays: The First 5000 Days, sold for a whopping $69 million (approximately £55 million / AU$104 million). Since then photographers have sold NFTs of Nirvana much to the annoyance of fans, Ashley Benson sold an erotic slasher film as an NFT, and Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, sold the first tweet for $2.9 million (£2.3 million / AU$4.4 million).

The three photographers joining forces to raise awareness and money for climate change are Yann-Arthus Bertrand, Nicolas Henry and Namsa Leuba. None of the photographers have ever had work minted and available to buy on a blockchain, so it seems like a strange move. However, they believe that selling NFTs is the most environmental way to reach a lot of people. 

European NFT platform Rhapsody Curated has been announced as the partner, while Ethereum will be the blockchain used to mint the collection. Although Ethereum is widely regarded as the most planet-friendly blockchain, and NFTs themselves are not particularly bad for the planet, in the past blockchain companies have faced criticism for the amount of energy required to mint NFTs. 

“It’s difficult to broadcast [our environmental] message,” Pierre-Elie de Pibrac, Rhapsody’s head of curation, told Decrypt. “You need to go to Paris, you need to see the art, to begin to communicate the ideas [represented]. But with NFTs, we can broadcast this message to many more people, and use this technology to allow people to buy pieces of art they couldn’t [otherwise] buy.”

Since Ethereum changed its minting model from a proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake-model, the company reportedly has its carbon footprint by 99.99% according to the Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute. There has been no statement about how much the NFTs will be on sale for but, if the trio are hoping to raise a serious amount of money, I can’t imagine they’ll be cheap. 

Each of the artworks available to buy as NFTs will be very different, as all three have a distinct style, but all have the same intention: to raise awareness and open conversation about climate change. While I can’t honestly say that I think the sale will make all that much difference, I truly hope I am wrong and that the trio is successful in raising lots of money for such an important cause. 

If you're asking "What are NFTs?", you're not alone! Follow these steps to make a photography NFT.

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.