Those locals who own the land, who could influence..... well... divide and conquer is one way of looking at it. Another is that even the locals are based in Malay, Kalibo, and have extended families of hundreds (if not thousands) who are not extremely concerned about the long term fate of one small island that they depend on to feed them till the Golden Goose runs out. Long term planning that benefits the common good.... a shaky concept.
Logically I should not be concerned either––and yet, I am. We must learn from the mistakes of the 20th century, we must go beyond growth for growth's sake, unbought and unsold condo units suddenly replacing what people lived with––not on top of––for millennia. Let's give a nice middle finger to the Trumps and the legions of similarly minded developers. Let's not let something that is perfect as is (and capable of supporting well-thought out in-fill development) become flash-sale material, desperate to attract pan-Asian package tourists and continue a tsunami force process of degradation.*
The questions concerning how fabric would function as a platform, taking advantage of the world's cloud infrastructure investments of the past decade, remain unclear. I do believe that it should be possible to leapfrog technologies that did not exist in the past, and create a new Google or Facebook-level experience. I do believe that many in the Silicon Valley community recognize that disruption is necessary, the more so as consolidation threatens to create a new hegemony and ruling class––profits parked meaninglessly in offshore accounts that beget outrageous luxury developments that are, by the way, threatening fabric.
A key question is what country to incorporate fabric in––I think it must be one that is adept in cross-national transactions and will allow money to flow in and out with minimal taxes. I do not want Uncle Sam to get 40 percent of fabric's profits (generated by Agoda/Priceline type transactions) before they get back to the local fabric region, funding necessary fabric projects.
At the same time, money inflow will need to be set up through NGO type structures wherever possible, such that the government of, say, the Philippines, does not take its own hefty non-transparent cut of the money going in. Local governments will need to be worked with, not against, ensuring that all money so allocated to a specific fabric region is used effectively––not in the usual ways. The key to why fabric can overcome these myriad systemic complexities is that money talks. Widely adopted, the platform will generate substantial revenue and have teeth. Very few local or national governments will refuse investment funds that create local employment. You can become a citizen of the US by investing a certain amount of money that creates x jobs. Of course money finds a way.
To really work, a platform of sustainability tied to transaction flows needs to function better than the system around it and like an insect molting, ultimately take over the husk of the unsustainable past––create a future in which growth itself is not the goal, but environmental sanity and Gross National Happiness.
Now I need to create quality descriptions of the businesses worth supporting, the places worth appreciating, not surveying. Lonely Planet style content, with a (to-be-defined) matrix of recommendation factors. Starting with a baseline that the business is interested in the longterm future of the place, is not a to-the-property-line developer. Considering that I have no money, this must happen on my own time, when and where it will. I am not a salesperson, just an impassioned earth citizen with a dream.
I wrote a complex cloud novel on my own time, I can do this.
*fabric will ultimately be designed for urban areas as well, this is the "loved to death" tropical island template.
What is Fabric?
Fabric is a (Facebook/Agoda-like) mobile app and (Wikipedia/Lonely Planet-like) desktop site. A knowledge resource that combines transactional capacities with fun, intuitive sharing and social media elements. Its aim is to describe and promote great businesses, events, artists, and other things going on in specific local regions (“fabrics”). Businesses are rated according to a sustainability-focused, locally curated matrix that includes elements such as recycling, preserving natural beauty and features, and other traditional elements of value, such as quality of food, ingredient sourcing practices, employee satisfaction, hygiene, and others.
The bottom line is that travelers now have a simple map-based array of consumption choices, pointing them toward places to spend money and enjoy their time in ways that minimally impact the natural beauty (that attracted them) and promote responsible green practices. Tourists too time-pressed to get to know which businesses are good and which are not now have a simple filtering and decision-making system at hand.
Map-based, geo located interface, green dots good, zoom in for detail, lots of simple filters “cheap eats” “happening music” “local fabric projects” “outdoor adventures” "romantic spots" etc. Click on a dot, a small Lonely Planet-style popup with a paragraph about the business/place appears.
The underpinning concept of this beta system is to create an organically growing network of fabrics around the world, urban and rural. Each fabric has a "board" that includes local sustainability-minded residents and business owners, as well as high level contributors––seasoned travelers, perceptive souls. Curated Lonely Planet content meets Tripadvisor, with transactional capacities that go where Agoda, Priceline, Hostelz, Uber, etc. go.
Sharing can be tied into existing social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, Medium, and set up as its own thing through a Wikipedia-like website that goes in depth and describes social-environmental issues facing each fabric in detail.
The disruptive aspect of fabric is that, not only does it direct commerce to worthy businesses, but 80 percent of the transaction fees (the 15 percent Agoda charges on each transaction) captured go directly back to on-the-ground NGOs, bypassing inefficient local governments in solving persistent issues, from trash and sewage, to planting trees, protecting land, sustainable development.
The ultimate aim is to use the infrastructure that Facebook and transaction providers have set up (and have sunk costs to recover from) in a more altruistic way that promotes Gross National Happiness and seeks to counter global warming and major habitat loss. Making use of renewable resources, creating a connected world of collective fabrics that share a common aim and have financial resources distributed locally, in ways that are most impactful.