8th BioMarine International Business Convention
1-3 oct 2017, Rimouski Qc, Canada View Location

Aug 6

Back to the future….

Summer is always a good time to look back at what we have already accomplished. But if this time we try to look back to the future?
Enjoy you summer fiction.


August 4th, 2034,
Location: North Atlantic Ocean, 39.39 N, 18.96 W. off the coast of Azores
Azores ‘region Floating Colony…

The summer is slowly withering away. Within the next ten days, storms will begin their devastating runs up to the heart of the old continent. This year, I did not have enough time to go ashore and visit the continent. For now, I’m enjoying the last hours of my six day vacation, watching the sun disappear over the horizon while sipping a nice bottle of algae wine vintage 2022.

The 2018 Great Depression left more than 1.8 billion people unemployed with no real prospects. After Leonardo DiCaprio’ historical speech at the World Council of Federated States however, Africa United, the European Federal Government, the CANUSMEX – North American federation, the United States of Asia, the Middle East Federation – which Iran and Israel joined in 2022, and United States of South America decided to develop new strategies based on sustainable use of the oceans to revive our global economy.
This major crisis in the history of mankind had the potential to reshuffle the deck significantly. African Federated countries instigated global economic revival as their terrestrial and marine natural wealth led to unprecedented levels economic re-development. It must be said that the Law on the Exploitation of Natural Genetic Heritage which passed in 2020 allowed for the development of a new innovative biotechnology industry. Funds from the United States of Asia and those from the Federation of Middle East poured into Africa, which rapidly became a central business hub.
The former United States of America was ravaged by the extensive exploitation of shale gas. Over the past decade, civil strife has spread throughout the country and caused all major industries and finance firms to relocate offshore. The dollar was depreciated due to constant attacks from the newly relocated offshore hedge funds in the 2020s. In 2015, China began to sell the treasury bonds it has accumulated. A downward spiral was initiated and without the active support of Canada and Mexico, which invited them to join CANUSMEX, it would have taken more than fifty years for the USA to recover.
In Europe, the situation remained unclear for many years. The first European Federation – finalized in 2020 under the pressure of Portugal, Ireland, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries – has had the difficult task of addressing the total collapse of France, which since the 2000s dramatically increased its deficits, expecting of a potential economic recovery. Given that more than 60% of the workforce are civil servants, they did not anticipate this collapse and were left without any resources. Three years of martial law and the financial contribution of all other federal states finally prevented the final collapse of the country. The subsequent disappearance of nation states and the creation of 102 autonomous regions in 2030, enabled Europe to reinvent itself. In 2016, following the extension of the continental shelf, Portugal began the sustainable development of its new economic wealth while creating in 2021 a sovereign fund which guaranteed economic stability for future generations.
Now every major federation has a maritime façade ensuring a full access to this new El Dorado. The World Council of Federated States guaranteed compliance with environmental rules accepted by all federations. Penalties for any infringements are steep: the temporary removal of all major underwater and space exploration programs will make offenders think twice.
With the peak of pollution that we experienced in the 2020s, the melting of the polar ice cap in Antarctica has caused the sea to rise by 2.75 meters. All island nations have disappeared. Despite its notorious inefficiency, the United Nations in the 2020s contributed to the establishment of the new status called “floating Nation” which allows for the development of a controlled exploitation of the oceans in the following years. Despite some nostalgics regretting the disappearance of the United Nations in 2021, the new World Council of the Federated States’ efficiency in managing international affairs was a welcomed change. With only 10% of the workforce of the United Nations, a budget worthy of the best international company accountable to the last “Gaia” (the new global currency introduced in 2022), the World Council allowed nations to prepare for the large settlements initiated in the year 2028.

orsos-island-79-cropIt came first as floating islands. The objective and function of these islands, which were launched in 2014, quickly evolved. Completely autonomous, with populations ranging from 500 to 5,000 people on areas of 45 to 200 acres, these islands have become the nerve centers of the off-shore economy. With advances in biotechnology and genetics, Federated States have developed new species of pelagic herbivores farmed in huge underwater cages, fed by algae and microalgae cultivated on these same platforms. Energy collected from the sun, wind, waves and thermal sources make these islands completely autonomous. Seawater is desalinated for day to day consumption and the surplus will be redirected to the electrolysis station where we crack and store H2 in large honeycomb tanks under the island. If necessary, the same H2 can feed fuel cells that produce electricity.
These floating islands have quickly adapted to the new status of “floating Nation.” Many investment funds have set up their head-quarters on them. Others quickly became floating laboratories producing the necessary ingredients to feed human settlements and extract valuables required for nutraceuticals, cosmetics and new generations of pharmaceuticals and anti-cancer drugs. It is true that marine products have significantly improved our lifestyle. We now grow all kinds of algae, echinoderms, mollusks, sponges, bacteria that are necessary to the manufacturing of new generations of products and bio materials.
I must tell you that in the year 2014, one US based company pioneered the revolution of bioplastics from algae. All major groups have followed this route for obvious financial reasons. Plastics produced from petroleum were subjected to new environmental taxes and were shortly abandoned. The production of algae has flourished, pushed by African and South East Asian countries who were the first to invest heavily in this domain.
Since 2026, the international space program involving terra forming Mars amplified the phenomenon. This time it was the turn of micro algae. We had massive production of different microalgae strain, one to inoculate into the Martian atmosphere, one to meet the fuel requirement of living units on the space ship, one to feed the crew and future settlers, and the others for the remediation of effluents and oxygen production.
But you can really consider that the blue revolution began in the 2030s with the colonization of the ocean floor. Deep sea stations allowed access to the minerals needed to create the space elevator that will allow shuttles from Mars to unload their precious content. The Board of the World Council of Federated States closely monitored the implementation of the first stations to ensure that the environmental impact was reversible and compensated…
This evening, as I watch the sun disappear below the horizon, I think of all that we still need to accomplish. We finally succeeded after years of major crises to share our research, the energy and vital resources to feed 12 billion people. Public awareness and education ran for decades before we were able to convince the new generations of what we could achieve. What is lost will never be recovered, and the history of Earth is made of dramatic disappearances and chronic cataclysms. It is now time to prepare our incoming generations for future challenges. The old remaining bioethical laws established in 2000s will have to be revisited as we will address these new challenges. Should humans ever conquer the deep ocean, they will need gills instead of lungs. They will have more capability to build the first underwater cities and adapt to the new environment. We must also prepare for the great challenges of human space exploration in our solar system. How to adapt man to life in weightlessness?
For sure I have some ideas…. but the sun has just disappeared and I think it will take another bottle of this famous Algae wine to elaborate and philosophize about this becoming.

Pierre Erwes
Chairman BioMarine