This is an out-of-the-box idea originally suggested by the sustainability director of a major international bank. He had looked at the matter closely and recognised that many countries, such as the US, only become properly functional when they become independent. Several of the stories in the anthology mention the solution such as Blue Nation, Oasis and Penang Fairhaven: A Visitor’s Guide. There are signs that some of the ideas in the last two stories such as floating cities are already becoming reality.
The idea of giving rights to nature is beginning to take off. For example, in 2008 Ecuador enshrined the legal rights of nature in its national constitution, paving the way for other countries to follow – see this excellent article which describes the process.
Our experts have classified it as an ‘audacious’ solution (high gain / high risk).
How does this solution rate on:
|Climate impact: tonnes of carbon saved/removed
|The proper management of the Ocean would enable the improved sequestration of millions and eventually billions of tonnes of CO2, as well as addressing the crucial ocean pH issue.
|Social justice i.e. addresses inequalities, diversity, inclusion
|High. Helps all communities, especially coastal communities.
Refugees will also be greatly helped, as the Ocean will be the obvious body to be responsible for the displaced and to assist in their relocation.
|Cost of action needed to progress goal
|Land countries would start to pay fees for services rendered, which they would view as a cost, but would represent payment for the externalised free service they have been taking for free for centuries.
|Which location is the solution most needed/applicable
|The whole Ocean.
|High. This proposal is likely to meet severe resistance from existing nation-states – no one wants to give up a slave, or a vassal state, after all.
|Of all the ideas listed, this is the most radical as well as the most impactful. A government of the Ocean would need to be established.
Do your own research on the solution
These videos from Just Have a Think should explain the solution and the issue it is solving.
Interested in progressing this solution further?
|Actions for policymakers
|Urge the UN to accept the Ocean as an independent nation.
|Actions for funding bodies
|Actions for business
|Pay the fees that the ocean charges for services rendered.
|Actions for public
|Social media campaigns & lobbying of governments.
Find your government representative or Member of Parliament and email them, whether you are in Australia; Canada; UK; USA or elsewhere.
Join campaigns such as about Surfers Against Sewage | Environmental charity tackling plastic pollution (sas.org.uk).