Dr Alison Thompson of Third Wave Volunteers: Currency of the Heart on Crypto Clothesline Podcast
When we think of currency, we usually think of money, and how we can get more of it, manage it better, learn off the rich experts and all of that.
This week in the Money Season on the Clothesline however, we’re learning about currency of the heart… Transactions in love.
If we agree that we can define money as an exchange of mutually agreed value, then what better money than that which improves the human condition? That which sees the need, feels the compassion and acts on those emotional stimulants to step up and help out without expectation of recompense, recognition or even reimbursement.
Dr Alison Thompson started off her worldwide organisation after the 9/11 tragedy in New York in 2011. She was living in that city at the time, heard the news and rollerbladed straight down to the crisis site to do whatever she could to help out: collect limbs, dress wounds, offer tea, help with temporary toilets, hug people.
“It all started September 11th, 2001 and I woke up really early and they said a small plane had hit the building and I’d worked on Wall Street as an investment banker years earlier. All my friends were in the building, so I just knew I had to get there.
“I put on my rollerblades on and roller-bladed downtown as fast as I could. As I got towards the World Trade Center, I saw these people coming at me, kind of like zombies with cell phones to their ears, but no one was speaking and they had white salt on them. There were a lot of injuries and blood on people.
“Then I went down in a little further and it was really, really smoky and saw someone lying on the ground and I went to help them.
“After five or ten minutes I heard this great rumble and looked up and it was the World Trade Center right above me ready to, I mean collapsing.
“I just rolled right up the street as fast as I could, dived down under a track and started praying.
“A half an hour later I crawled out and everything was pitch black and that had been a really blue, sunny day.
“I just started walking around and then started to notice body parts and things….”
Her motto is Everyone’s Needed and in Third Wave Volunteers, where volunteers help out others in a crisis situation (caused by natural disasters like hurricanes or manmade disaster like war), in any part of the world, for people of any religion, of any colour, of any
She is a fulltime global humanitarian volunteer. She’s run large refugee camps, resilience hubs and field hospitals in most of the largest disasters around the world for the past 20 years, including September 11 the attacks in New York, the 2000 and forth tsunami in Sri Lanka and other places like Haiti, Philippines, Nepal, including the Syrian refugee crisis. She’s currently also working in Venezuela.
Can Crypto Currency Play A Part In What We Do In The Disasters?
We’re all familiar with the fact that every charity seems to always need more funds, and as citizens, it can be hard to know which ones are legit, and which will squirrel our hard-earned money into their personal legally justified cash hideaways.
Many ‘charitable’ organisations have been found wanting in this regard, and it has been claimed that blockchain technology can potentially help with this issue by ensuring that all funds are able to be tracked and monitored from the moment of contribution to the moment they are spent on food and supplies by the person in need for whom the original contribution was intended…
However, a legitimate crypto crowd-funding organisation actually scammed Alison in 2017, offering to raise funds for her organisation, promising all sorts to the people in need, gathering the donations from the well-intentioned, and then disappearing without passing on the money…
“We were really excited about Bitcoin and also cryptocurrency. We made an alliance with a crypto currency firm from here in the USA and to begin with, I feel like they did really want to set out to do something good. They actually came with us on some trips and they made all these promises to the locals that they were going to do solar panel systems and all sorts of things like that.
“And then pretty much in the end, they didn’t give us what they said they were going to do. They raised money in our name and gave a tiny bit, a little bit, but all that money that they raised in our name of doing good and collecting other people all over the world to join their currency.
“They didn’t follow through and we’ve never even heard from them again.
“So I got burnt, but I’m ready to jump back in because there’s always a bad one amongst everything, you know?”
Tech For Humans Helping Humans
Recently at a Women in Blockchain Perth meeting, we livestreamed with Alison from Florida, USA along with Stephen Alexander and Thomas Miller joining us live from Queensland, Australia.
Stephen and Thomas have been working on a number of outstanding projects, but one which touched me deeply was they’re creating ways of making intangible things like honesty and love and kindness, measurable, so that we can recognise the good things humans do and maybe even be rewarded within our communities for that.
(Check out our interview with Thomas Miller where we discuss this concept in detail.)
The physical audience was able to ask Alison questions about her work and come to understand more precisely the challenges she and her team experience in the field, as well as learn first-hand of the personal stories – tragedies and happy endings, that she shared.
Stephen and Thomas, and members of the audience, were then able to offer some suggestions about how holochain, blopckchain and other technologies may be able to respond to some of those challenges. The whole meeting generated a beautiful heart-feeling in the room, and we agreed to meet up again regularly to continue taking positive action steps towards realising ways that tech can help people, help people.
“What’s important about the tech guys discussing this, like when we’re out in the field – a lot of good field people want to go and help with their heart and all that… But we need business people to align with us and, and have strategies.
“It was so important to have those tech guys on and we’re going to follow through and we’re going to make a love token or a karma token that we can really move forward and raise money and do some good around them.”
Imagine A World Where The Karma Banks Are Overflowing…
We were first introduced to Alison Thompson through Noah Klein in an interview we were doing. He suggested we check out her TED Talk: Everyone’s Needed.
It really struck a chord with me because in our lives, we’re so busy chasing money on the outside. We’re so busy, we lose time and energy and positive experiences perhaps with our families and children and whoever we’re connected with. Often we’re just on this crazy race trying to keep up with the machinations of society.
This whole idea of being able to transact from the heart really touched me, transacting in terms of love and when we do something for someone else, sometimes we think we’re giving to them, but actually what we’re receiving in terms of a feeling of fulfillment and belonging and that joy of being able to give, is far greater than any brimming bank account balance.
“You don’t have to go shave your head and chant on a hill, but imagine a world where we all do our part, that the Karma banks are overflowing the blue chip stocks of compassion and we are all billionaires on the inside.”
“And I think that’s the way it was originally meant to be a, so why not inspire people to be better people: honesty, kindness, love and all that because that’s… that’s what wins in the end.
“You know, you can’t take the money stuff with you and it comes down to family and love and that’s it.”
Thomas Miller on Crypto Clothesline
Bonnie Yiu on Crypto Clothesline
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