The Blue Revolution (in food production): Blazing the Trail to the Ocean Frontier
The ‘Blue’ Revolution is a movement whose perspective is that oceans are frontiers with abundant space and renewable resources that can and should be sustainably developed to meet many of humanity’s most urgent needs. Few people, however, conceptualize the Ocean as a frontier yet to be settled–in much the same way that few people believed the inhospitable desert regions surrounding Las Vegas and Dubai would ever host cities.
The Seasteading Institute is among the few groups committed to furthering the Blue Revolution, and thereby (further) opening the Ocean frontier. The Seasteading Institute’s motivation for doing so is two-fold. One, because the world needs places to innovate social and political systems that serve Humanity better than existing governments (and if we need to develop sea-based city communities in order to do so, We fucking will).
Two, because there are a billion chronically hungry people, and many more than that are malnourished. Humanity urgently needs more food, but land-based agriculture cannot provide it due to a dearth of additional agricultural territory, unsustainable agriculture methods, and limited freshwater resources. At sea, however, is abundant space and plentiful, renewable, and currently fallow agricultural resources. The Blue Revolution ideal is to realize, at sea, the successes of the Green Revolution (attributed to Human Hero Norman Borlaug), which vastly increased global food production capacity by giving the developing world tools to grow their own food.
The oceans and rich marine environments surrounding even the poorest coastal countries can be sustainably and cleanly farmed to improve nutrition among the over 1 billion chronically undernourished humans and provide greatly needed employment and enterprise opportunities. Realizing the ocean’s potential to sustainably feed Humanity is the Blue Revolution’s overarching motive , and achieving it unlocks enormous human potential.
In June, 2012, The Seasteading Institute hosted a conference (lots of conference videos at the link) focused on the technologies, discoveries, and partnerships that could soon unlock the oceans’ vast potential. (This was surprising to the media in attendance, which expected vigorous debates about politics or ideology; for instance the idea of self-establishing asylum in sea-based communities, because that’s how to really live under your own roof!)
The Ocean Frontier will see sea-farmers ‘herding’ mobile (drifting or self-powered) polyculture sea-farms that produce mass amounts of seafood and macroalgae (seaweeds) simply by harnessing the ocean’s natural trophic cycle. (On this point, see Dr. Ricardo Radulovich’s Seasteading Conference presentation. Dr. Radulovich’s duplicable sea-farm models can immediately be implemented in even the poorest of coastal countries, and he has also experimented with floating greenhouse-like pods (growing tomatoes, citrus, and other traditional foods) that uptake nutrients from the sea and capture freshwater from the atmosphere (condensation). One day fruit orchards will drift at sea, to be herded near shore at harvest time.)
And are you aware that macroalgae, which grows like a weed, is a renewable source of polymers, the building blocks of plastic? The talk around the Seasteading conference was the increasingly feasible idea of growing mass amounts of macroalgae on the open ocean to supply processing ships that reduce macroalgage polymers into biodegradable 3-D printer feedstock.
Hell, jet fuel can be created from ocean thermal energy conversion.
Big ideas spawn innovation creating new technologies, particularly when the State gets out of the way. On that point, a primary feature of all frontiers is relative space from cloistered, stagnant homelands. The Ocean is no different.
The people and companies that take advantage of Frontiers will have a great say in the rules systems that will ‘govern’ the high seas. The World has a frontier–the Ocean–with virtually endless space and resources, and it would be better if Seasteaders and Libertopians are first footers shaping the rule systems that in time will ‘govern’ the high seas.
ps: Credit, to my knowledge, for coining the term ‘Blue Revolution,’ and laboring for many years to effect it, belongs to Professor Emeritus (of the University of Hawai’i) Patrick Takahashi. See also Neil Sims, who is at the very tip of the open ocean fish-farming spear.