Pacifica: The New Continent
An ecological, free, floating Pacific landmass built on plastic waste
In his 1995 novel “Distress” science fiction author Greg Egan described “Stateless” a floating man-made island in the Pacific. Stateless was, as its name suggests, an ex-territory with its own rules and had been constructed in quest for a better world.
It’s 2020. Most of the materials seem to be in place. I say let’s build it.
“The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” is a huge area in the middle of the pacific ocean that, due to the nature of oceanic currents, has become populated with all sorts of floating debris. It is a patch made of humanity’s discarded plastics and other floaters, a stain on the ocean we have created, and it’s huge.
By some estimates the size of the patch is more than 1.5 million square kilometers — more than twice the size of Texas and over four times the size of Germany.
This “garbage” has many useful properties. First of all — it floats. Second — it’s right where we need it and Third — it’s free. We can collect it and bind it together into a large floating mass. When it’s big enough, a research station will be built on it. Wind, solar and wave generated electricity can power the station. The technology exists and is available. At some point topsoil can be created from compost and sea sand. Crops can be grown and then livestock. Eco-tourism will be the initial source of revenue as young enthusiasts arrive to volunteer and work to enlarge the land area and enrich the new environment.
Let’s name it Pacifica and make sure it becomes a place of peace.
The garbage patch is not very dense in some areas. In order to collect enough material to construct the floating infrastructure for Pacifica a network of collector ships will be deployed. This technology already exists — it was designed to clean lakes and seas from this type of waste. The only difference is that the collected plastics and other floaters will be gathered into large nets that, when connected will create a large floating body. The nets themselves will be created from fibers that can be produced from the same plastic waste. This can be done aboard ships and later on a facility on Pacifica itself.
Clusters held together by polymer fibers will in turn be clustered together with thicker wires and so on. This scaling construction will ensure better durability and resilience of the Pacifica’s underlying structure. Even if something comes loose other capsules remain firm. The underlying structure must be big and robust enough to withstand waves and storms and create a steady plateau. Careful design will ensure the edge areas allow corals to settle and create natural reefs all around Pacifica.
Pacifica will begin as a small floating mass but soil manufacturing and planting of crops and trees can commence relatively early. The more resilient plant breeds will come first and set the stage for additional types of flora. As Pacifica grows and more land-mass is added additional permanent structures will be build. First compost and fiber manufacturing facilities along with crew quarters. Later a docking bay for ships, a landing pad for helicopters, offices, hotels and shops.
Pacifica will start with a working group of volunteers (The Pacifica Workgroup or PWG) that will coordinate the first steps and set up the first fundraising campaign. This campaign will collect the necessary funds for the first exploratory operations and planning.
Pacifica will be administered by a non-for profit organization that will be established when first funding for the project is received. The organization (“Org”) will be in charge of recruiting the necessary scientists, engineers and workers that will make Pacifica a reality. The Org will also recruit the necessary thinkers, writers and speakers that will detail the path of Pacifica’s society and make it a community many will wish to contribute to and join.
The Org will allocate shares to volunteers and residents of Pacifica in quarterly shareholder conventions by majority vote. The convention will appoint a chief executive officer to the Org who shall appoint officers as necessary to maintain and develop Pacifica and grow its landmass and civic services.
Special working groups shall be appointed during the first convention to formulate processes and procedures. Until such time as independence is declared the law of the land shall be determined by the Org under maritime convention.
At a time as chosen by the majority of shareholders but not before the number of permanent residents of Pacifica shall number one hundred thousand, a special working group shall be created to draft a constitution for Pacifica and make arrangements to declare its independance.
The constitution shall be drafted to ensure that Pacifica be dedicated to the progress of humanity, preservation of our home planet and furtherance of knowledge among all people.
And may the wind be at our backs