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EcoEuros - The IES Abroad Community Currency

Community Currency


1. What


Money can be anything that people in a community will accept as a means of exchange for any given product. Throughout history many different forms of money have been created with a vast number of these forms being used simultaneously within the same community. In the IES Abroad Barcelona community we will be using our own currency known as EcoEuros that will be used in place of regular Euros. To promote the spending and accumulating of the newly created EcoEuros there are three main methods we at IES, as a whole, and the Sustainability Club will use: moral pressure, coercion, and economic incentives. For example, recycling at IES can be encouraged through education, regulations, or EcoEuro incentives. In order to create the best possible outcome of sustainability at IES all three of the advocacy methods will be implemented. However, the real fun and experiences come into play with the last method which is EcoEuro incentives.

The primary goal of the community currency within IES Abroad Barcelona is to promote more sustainability in the program. The community currency aims to advance IES’s sustainable efficiency by creating benefits and incentives for the IES Sustainability Club members, the IES community, and the world in return for their sustainable actions. The system in which this community currency functions by is mainly through exchanging sustainable volunteer work for the EcoEuros. Each action of sustainability will be worth a pre-determined amount of EcoEuros. People will then chart their actions on the sustainability club page or inform an administrator of the Sustainability Club of their action who will then chart the action on the webpage. The Students will be able to see the list of sustainable actions and how many EcoEuros the actions are worth by accessing the webpage.

The process of spending your EcoEuros is very simple. At any given time one will be able to exchange EcoEuros for certain ítems. Some of these ítems include a reuseable IES water bottle, a reuseable IES shopping bag, and even multiple different trips to nearby places that function in a sustainable manner.

2. Why


The establishment of a community currency, EcoEuros, in IES Abroad Barcelona will help create a more efficient and ecological environment within the IES Abroad Barcelona community. Not only will the EcoEuros benefit the IES community through encouraging the preservation of the environment but they will also give students the chance to learn more about the environment and how to be sustainable. The EcoEuros will help the IES Abroad Barcelona community and Barcelona to reduce their ecological footprints by motivating people to perform acts of reducing, reusing, and recycling. The EcoEuros will also help to positively change people’s attitudes towards sustainability in that people will now want to reduce, reuse, and recycle since they can actually see the positive correlation they have with being preservative.

Through the creation of the community currency it will reduce the dependency, stress, and amount of work it takes the faculty and staff at IES to be constantly striving towards maintaining a green and efficient environment within IES. If several students take part and help with accomplishing sustainable acts then the dependency on paper, electricity, water, and supplies will all be diminished. If the IES Sustainability Club and EcoEuros continue to operate over the years then the IES and Barcelona communities will have prospering long-term effects on waste reduction, energy reduction, and a much larger array of events and purchasable ítems that one can exchange for EcoEuros. If the EcoEuros continue to function within the IES Abroad Barcelona community then we can eventually begin to use some sort of FLOSS to keep track of EcoEuros and sustainable actions. At the moment we are monitoring EcoEuros through the Sustainability Club webpage. Within the webpage there is a Tiki feature that allows administrators to add, subtract, monitor, and create EcoEuros for everyone that is a member of the Club webpage.

2.1. Potential Benefits


A benefit is described as an advantage or profit gained from something (Webster’s Dictionary). The EcoEuro will have many potential benefits through its implementation into the IES Abroad Barcelona community. Primarily, it helps develop a local community structure within IES: actions are rewarded with a currency which is used to fund other items or services within the community. Every single sustainable action someone performs at IES benefits the community. Whether the action is watering the plants and garden on the terrace, turning off lights, or recycling your paper someone or something receives a gain. The people performing the “green” actions benefit by receiving EcoEuros. Those that are not performing the “green” actions gain from being in a cleaner and more ecofriendly environment. The IES community as a whole benefits by creating a sustainable community in which it provides fun and ecofriendly opportunities to students that continue to perform sustainable actions. Lastly, the EcoEuros will have a long term effect on the World by reducing IES’s ecological footprints and promoting people to continue their sustainable actions outside of IES Abroad Barcelona.


-Turning off lights: reduces the electricity use of IES and thus reduces its carbon footprint; reduces the electricity bill
-Buying organic food: supports (usually) local producers and thus develops a community network; improves health of the consumers; reduces the demand for and use of pesticides and fertilizers
-Collecting used printer paper: decreases waste by initiating a short cradle-to-cradle cycle before the paper is thrown out or recycled; reduces the ecological footprint of IES by reducing paper consumption
-Renting a bike: reduces fossil fuel consumption; reduces carbon footprint; promotes exercise and physical health
-Reusing course readers: reduces the ecological footprint of IES by reducing paper consumption
-Donating and reusing a cell phone: reduces the electronic waste of IES students as well as saving future IES students time and money by not having to buy a new phone
-Donating and reusing an electric appliance: reduces the electronic waste of IES students as well as saving future IES students time and money by not having to buy a new appliance
-Tending to the Terrace Garden: lowers CO2 levels in the IES terrace and from the transportation that would be used to get to a produce shop and creates cheap, fresh, and healthy food for the IES community

2.2. Potential Costs


The potential costs of this action include time, money, energy, and human resources. People will be needed to constantly monitor and maintain the EcoEuros system, money will be needed to cover the costs of EcoEuros trade-ins, and time and energy will be needed from those that participate in the EcoEuros system.

Potential costs include the time and energy it will take someone in order to process and keep track of the number of EcoEuros delegated to every person in the Program. This responsibility could lie in the hands of the Tresurer of the Sustainability Club once the students participating in the club elect an administrative council. As an incentive to be on the administrative council, the President, Secretary, and Treasurer could receive EcoEuros for the work that they conduct for the club. Other costs include the costs of establishing the incentives in which students can exchange their EcoEuros for. The costs of making the IES reusable shopping bags, water bottles, and trips are included in these costs.

Another potential cost is the risk that some students may try to take advantage of the system. Some may exaggerate the time they spent or the actions they carried out, and thus receive EcoEuros without earning them.

The major risk that the EcoEuros have revoloves around the IES Abroad Barcelona Sustainability Club and the future IES students. The potential risk is that the system might not be carried out by future IES students or Sustainability Club members. However, the main teacher that promotes the Sustainability course and club, Xavier de Pedro, is a very helpful and driven person that will greatly oversee and assist in developing these actions. With the way that the students, faculty, and staff are participating and acknowledging the club now there is no reason for failure to come.


3. How

The IES Sustainability Club will manage and record the number of EcoEuros allocated to each person who performs a sustainable action.

All IES Students will have the opportunity to earn EcoEuros for the sustainable activities they participate in. The IES Sustainability Club is responsible for managing the list of sustainable activities that students have the opportunity to participate in, and the corresponding number of EcoEuros students will receive for participation in those actions. The chart below illustrates some of the Sustainable Activities IES students can participate in and the corresponding number of EcoEuros a student would receive for completing that action.


Check bathroom lights 5 EcoEuros/person/week
Maintain facebook page 10 EcoEuros/person/month
Watering or working on terrace garden 10 EcoEuros/person/week
Sending out monthly newsletter 5 EcoEuros/monthly newsletter)
President of the Club 20 EcoEuros/semester)
Secretary of the Club 15 EcoEuros/semester
Treasurer of the Club 10 EcoEuros/semester
Donating a cell phone to be reused 1 EcoEuro/ phone
Collecting/reusing printer papers with only one side used 5 EcoEuros/person/week
Purchasing local/organic produce 2 EcoEuros/person/shopping session
Renting a bike 2 EcoEuros/person/session
Reusing course reader 5 EcoEuros/person/semester
Borrowing a reused cell phone 5 EcoEuros/person/semester
Collect money from Kit Fotanico Donation box 5 EcoEuros/person/month
Reusing an electric appliance 5 EcoEuros/person/semester
Maintaining Sustainability Club website 10 EcoEuros/person/month


Most likely, the Treasurer of the Sustainability Club will be responsible for allocating and recording the number of EcoEuros each student should receive for completing their actions. The Treasurer could use Floss Software to efficiently record how many EcoEuros each IES student earns. This information will also be posted on the official sustainability club Tiki webpage. This way, the information will not be centralized, and the same system will be more sustainable over the course of many semesters. With this system, all IES students also have the ability to easily view how many EcoEuros they have earned.

Students will contact the Treasurer of the club when they want to exchange their EcoEuros for other prizes at the rate of one EcoEuro to one Euro. Students will also be able to exchange their EcoEuros for prizes associated with sustainable living such as reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, or reusable grocery bags. It is still uncertain, however, how many reusable bags and water bottles IES faculty will fund for the project. The major incentives and bonuses in which people can exchange their EcoEuros for are sustainable field trips or trips that promote sustainability. There are many possible options for these sustainable trips including visits to local Squatter Communities where the citizens live entirely sustainably. More possible trips include visits to organic farms and urban gardens, special dinners with organically grown foods, and trips to sustainably motivated businesses. The Director of IES Abroad, César Alegre, said that he would fund the field trips and that there is no cap on the amount of people he will pay for as long as they are able to exchange him EcoEuros in order to pay for their trip fare. Talks are still being conducted with IES faculty and staff to see if it is possible to use EcoEuros towards regular IES field trips.

No other links or references were used in the creation of this page.

5. Students involved in this action

Conner- Leader
Emma- Helped fabricate the "How" section
Jack- Helped fabricate the "Benefits" section

 Assignment: Peer review form

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 Grades for this action report (From the PROFESSOR)

Items found: 1
In general: congratulations! A few comments about things that could be improved, if the action had to be re-designed in the future... "If several students take part and help with accomplishing sustainable acts then the dependency on paper, electricity, water, and supplies will all be diminished" This is not true. It's not dependency that will be diminished... but usage of those resources, which is different... "Why" section: very well argued. "At the moment we are monitoring EcoEuros through the Sustainability Club webpage." Provide link, reference to that page. "Within the webpage there is a Tiki feature that allows administrators to add, subtract, monitor, and create EcoEuros for everyone that is a member of the Club webpage." Provide link, reference to that page. "Tiki", "FLOSS", ... they should be explained for the reader, which might not know what they are or what they mean. "Primarily, it helps develop a local community structure within IES: actions are rewarded with a currency which is used to fund other items or services within the community." and the rest of the section "Potential Benefits" Very well spotted and pointed out! However, the main teacher that promotes the Sustainability course and club, Xavier de Pedro, is a very helpful and driven person that will greatly oversee and assist in developing these actions. Thanks for the compliments. I do my best with this initiative partially linked with the course that I'm requested to teach at IES Abroad Barcelona This information will also be posted on the official sustainability club Tiki webpage. This way, the information will not be centralized,... Well, its not that the information will not be centralized: the information will be centralized in a single website, but access to that that information will be shared among the group of people who need to have access to that information, for reading it, or managing the EcoEuro system. when they want to exchange their EcoEuros for other prizes at the rate of one EcoEuro to one Euro. Well, that was the initial goal, in case the Club had enough euros for that exchange rate. But it's unlikely to happen. Therefore, that exchange rate will probably have to be calculated each year, based on the total amount of EcoEuros gained by students "from scratch" (from our own banking system, without any reserve, in fact), divided by the total amount of Euros that the Club has been able to allocate for that semester. This point will have to be discussed further and agreed in some of the Sustainability Club (SC) meetings. The Director of IES Abroad, César Alegre, said that he would fund the field trips and that there is no cap on the amount of people he will pay for as long as they are able to exchange him EcoEuros in order to pay for their trip fare. Talks are still being conducted with IES faculty and staff to see if it is possible to use EcoEuros towards regular IES field trips. This is great news! Congratulations for talking to the Director or IES Abroad (Barcelona), so that they are exploring seriously these posibilities. No other links or references were used in the creation of this page. A pity, you could have used some , as stated above. At least the reference of the Sustainability Club website! Or to the documentation of the currency system we started to implement in that website (based on free software/FLOSS, and with open documentation with Creative Commons License, by the way). For the record, the best software in use worldwide so far for Community Currencies (and network of communities using it, and allowing intertrading among them, in some cases) is: CES - Community Exchange System ( http://www.ces.org.za/ ) . However, this is closed source software, coded in proprietary programing languages (asp), and also based on a centralized design, which is potentially less resilient to eventual disturbances (like wikileaks attacks and closing the ability to send them money to support them - See news in December 2010). A better solution will be either a FLOSS one (such as CCLite - http://sourceforge.net/projects/cclite/ ), or even better, a FLOSS one with a Peer to Peer (P2P) - decentralized - design, such as Bitcoin ( http://bitcoin.org ), as a proof of concept of such a system. I imagine lots of positive feedback (reinforcing) loops in this action and the other linked actions reported, and even more actions/effects. Presentation: well done. For next time, even better if you provide some "screenshot" of the screen where EcoEuros can be managed (for the treasurer, or others) even better. You could have even re-used some of the images at the documentation for the Tiki User Credit system: http://doc.tiki.org/Tiki+User+Credit , since they are "copylefted".


Page last modified on Wednesday 04 of April, 2012 17:13:35