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Introducing... Nature Data Union!

Today's essay features a compelling idea to give 'Nature' its own wallet and pay those that help nurture and look after it from another winning team of SNI's Winter 2022 Hackathon Challenge... Enjoy! — SNI

NatureUnion: A Chance For Nature To Take Back Control and Own Its Data

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Robin Lehmann, and I’m the Co-Founder and CEO/CTO of the DataUnion Foundation. Together with my Co-Founder and CCO, Dr. Mark Siebert, we are building a DataUnions-as-a-Service platform to create unions that produce AI-ready data and co-owned insights. 

We started this business as a result of participating in the Odyssey Momentum Hackathon in 2020. Through this experience, we quickly learned the power of collaborative thinking and coming together to create an idea far bigger than the sum of its parts. Today, with a team of 21 dedicated individuals distributed worldwide, we continue to build on our shared beliefs that bind us all together. 

Our Beliefs:

  1. The world is a positive-sum game and collaboration offers us all the greatest opportunity for innovation and growth.
  2. DataUnions have the potential to positively impact a large portion of the global population by sharing the value of data, as well as the insights created from it, and rewarding contributions, as part of a new data economy.
  3. We must build responsible and inclusive AI.

During SNI’s Winter 2022 Hackathon Challenge, we came together with partners, old and new, to develop a simple yet powerful concept to allow nature to share the value created with its data. 

Imagine a world where Nature has its own wallet and pays those that help nurture and look after it. 


Introducing NatureUnion

A DataUnion is a simple yet often misunderstood concept. When organizations, companies, and individuals come together to pool, annotate, and verify their data contributions, they create an asset with far greater value than those doing so siloed off by themselves. 

These data sets then provide value to those looking to train algorithms on that data. With our DataUnions-as-a-Service, everyone involved in that ecosystem now shares the value created by that union. 

Our NatureUnion concept is built on the fundamentals of our platform to allow everyone a chance to build something bigger than themselves. A DataUnion where one of the key stakeholders is Nature itself. 

Charities, scientists, organizations, and individuals can use NatureUnion to bring together the most comprehensive data sets about nature. These data sets could include plant life growth, wildlife preservation, satellite images, temperature readings, weather reports, and nature acoustic recordings.


In traditional models, data and insights have always looked a lot like this: 

Data Collected > Data Set Validated > Insight Created


With DataUnion, we’re creating a new ecosystem that shares the value created with all the participants (including Nature itself!). The more insights generated on the shared data, the more value created for the NatureUnion as a whole.


DataUnion’s Inspiration

For years, both myself, and my co-founder Dr. Mark Siebert, worked in data for varying industries. After a combined 30 years of experience, we realized that the old model was inefficient, took longer than it needed, was resource-intensive, and worst of all, created data sets that were often used once and then forgotten. There had to be a better way! And now, there is. 

The Web3.0 movement is all about democratization and re-distribution of ownership of data. Both are at the heart of everything we do. DataUnions offer everybody a chance to participate and share in the value created – something that has been overlooked in the past. Data has now become the new oil in the economy. DataUnions become the refineries and brokers in this new economy.

By shifting away from single points of data ownership and creating the technology to allow all that want to be a part of an ecosystem to contribute and share the value created, we can build a more inclusive and better future for all involved and our planet. 

NatureUnion’s Future

After SNI’s hackathon, we came together with the partners we had met before and during the event and continued the conversation. Thanks to the incredible people at Yoma Foundation and Nyasa, we’ve started to build something that truly is bigger than all of us individually. We’re currently onboarding new partners that would like to be involved in the project. Our community has been supporting us by getting involved and helping shape the future of the NatureUnion. 

As part of that journey, we’ve moved to a more collaborative way of sharing our content. More specifically, we created our first Invitation to Collaborate piece of content focused on the NatureUnion at the SNI hackathon. If you’re reading this and you want to be a part of the NatureUnion, we have a dedicated channel in our Discord that’s right for you. Simply join us, and you can be a part of this project, too. 

Sovereign Nature Means One Thing

For me personally, growing up always included a lot of time outdoors. Today, life moves fast, and often we forget about monumentally important experiences that are not always part of our day-to-day routines. I try every day to walk down to the lake near my house and take a swim. Nature is the world’s biggest and most beautiful playground. 

As humans, we haven’t always done things right when it comes to Nature. That’s why we want NatureUnion to give Nature its own wallet so it can share in the value created from its data. The ultimate goal is for Nature to take control of its future by rewarding those that look after and positively engage with it. 

We’ve only got one planet (so far), so we all need to do our part to make it the best possible planet!

To connect with DataUnion’s Co-Founders, contact Robin Lehman on Twitter and LinkedIn and Dr. Mark Siebert on LinkedIn. Additionally, check out NatureUnion’s mobile app screenshots, web portal screenshots, and their Miro Board. Finally, to learn more about the DataUnion team, please visit their website, follow them on Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, and join their Discord and Telegram channels.