The Ring of Hope.
Country 2.0 — a place to retreat.
I’m a father of two beautiful sons and like every parent I would like their future to be as bright as possible. It is up to us to provide the best conditions for them to make it happen, but so far we are not doing a good job in terms of leaving a safe place for our children to thrive. This article is about a sci-fi like vision of what could be on our common home, Earth. Some proposals to our current and future problems are given. Some were already discussed previously, but also new solutions are proposed here to discuss.
We have been overconsuming mindlessly, and now everyone is realising that infinite growth is not good for us anymore. We need to find another mode of living. The world is in some state of transformation right now. There is no direction, we don’t know where we are heading as a global civilisation. Many people say it is going nowhere, some people talk about doomsday. I want to think that we are going to level up, that humanity as a whole may have been in a state like a voracious caterpillar so far which has now stopped to eat, and could be preparing to turn into a beautiful butterfly soon. The last state won’t happen by itself unless we make it happen deliberately.
To build something beautiful together we need to be in a safe place firsthand. No one wants and can work under conditions where they are bullied constantly, for example by Nature (the climate change consequences like droughts and floods). That is why we need to be making a cocoon, a shelter where we can find our wings and prepare ourselves to fly, and maybe to leave the planet if we want to.
I propose to transform our planet into a paradize where we retreat to our hightech shelters, and leave Nature alone in the long term. For the moment, I suggest we should cohabitate with Nature by understanding ways to connect to it. For that to happen, there are some rules to use we didn’t know existed until recently. It is tempting to blame our ignorant behaviour so far but it would be silly to continue to do it as it doesn’t allow us to move ahead. Instead we can collaborate with Nature and make Earth safe very soon, at least in terms of controlling droughts, heatwaves, wildfires and floods.
But there are still potential risks to humanity like mega eruptions of volcanoes, meteorites etc. Some people like Elon Musk and others are worrying about the future of humanity and making it possible to spread our species to other planets, by building rockets. But these are highly polluting and very expensive. If something happens, the majority of us cannot go anywhere from this bottom of the ocean we call the atmosphere.
What if we could build something so high that reaches space? It looks impossible, but we are humans and we defy impossibility. I’ve written about this possibility here and here. The structure is designed to be strong like the structure of diamond. It can be built in any shape thanks to the modular approach. Modules offer enough room to live, to grow food, to recycle waste. If built high enough it allows us to use wind energy. The most important feature of the structure is that it has shafts to be used for space elevators. But the structure is rather unusual for our perception and needs lots of work to make it cosy and comfortable to live in.
Many people are concentrating their attention on building the metaverse like in the movie “Ready Player One”. Just like in the movie we are not paying much attention to building the real infrastructure, a protected place where we could enjoy the possibilities offered by the metaverse. The proposed structure could be a real home for the virtual counterpart.
Our children and grandchildren will have many problems to solve. According to scientists, the biggest problem they will face is demographic collapse. Among other reasons, people are avoiding having kids because of the lack of resources, that is, because of lack of hope for the future. It looks like we can have an abundance of energy, food, water, and shelter if we spend enough money on research. If our generation can give hope to the next ones, they could continue to build on this hope, and maybe they can avoid the problems they will face.
More population is good for us. If you had to choose between the brain of a fly or that of an elephant what brain would you choose? Just like the number of neurons in our head it is better to have more humans to tackle the neverending problems. On the other hand, as a result of high population density, pandemies are unavoidable. Our future buildings need to take this into account. The next confinements we are going to have don’t have to be as miserable, instead we could make them more enjoyable. We need to work on this actively.
If the concept of the hightech shelter described above is feasible it needs to belong to all humanity not only to a certain country. That’s why I am wondering if it may be pertinent to think about country 2.0, a startup country? Countries are the places where humans decided to live together. Some day we can build a country in space. But before it has to be built on Earth. The problem is where to find an empty territory to build it on. No country is willing to give its territories for free. What if we promise them unlimited access to space (and to treasures of the Moon) when we finish the structure(s) so they can lease a small part of their territory for us to build these structures? Maybe after many generations we won’t be attached to the territories we occupy presently and we will retreat into these structures/shelters in the form of a ring around the planet leaving Nature alone. Maybe this idea is too ahead of its time, maybe not, it is up to us.
Meanwhile, here is a more concrete scenario. The design of the module is not finished yet and it is important to make sure that we build using a standard module everywhere. So, to make it happen we can use a business model, let’s say, to build a hotel. We can build a chain of hotels based on the modules, we can iterate by improving the modules and then we will see if we want to continue to build them into cities, then into countries reaching space. If the latter will come true, it will be cheaper to bring materials to build a spaceship around Earth.
“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us,” said Sir Winston Churchill. Let’s build high functional shelters where we and our children can be safe and thrive together. Let’s shape our buildings accordingly.