By Gretchen Shelby, For The Miami Student
Signed on July 5, in the Umbrian Mountains of Perugia, Italy, the Alcatraz Accords and its participants condemn the incompetence of "large states" and their inability to successfully address environmental concerns as a whole.
"The assembled Micronations of the 3rd International Conference on Micronations, have reached the conclusion that the large states of the world have been ineffective and their efforts have been lacking in intention and execution concerning efforts to improve the environment, preserve existing natural resources and reduce carbon emissions to slow the change of the climate."
The nine original signing micronations of the agreement include Bundes Republik of Neustadt, the Empire of Angyalistan, the Fomoire Institute, the Free Republic of Alcatraz, the Grand Duchy of Flandrensis, Ladonia, Noseland, the Principality of Aigues-Mortes and the Republic of Bennylund. Since its signing, nine more have adopted the treaty.
With only five key terms and one clear demand directed toward the "large states," the Alcatraz Accords makes for an easy read that leaves little room for confusion.
As global concern for the disappearing bee populations has grown, representatives from Ladonia were adamant in their support regarding the inclusion of a clause encouraging the protection and preservation of native plant species. Such actions are encouraged by numerous sources with supporting research as a way to combat the decline. Expanding upon this, a dedication to environmental practices, such as water conservation, sustainable agriculture and the responsible use of natural resources was included.
The Grand Duchy of Flandrensis, a micronational champion of Antarctic conservation efforts, proposed the second term, which coincides with its deeply held beliefs regarding the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 (effective June 1961). Although renewed in 1991, the treaty calls for a renewal of commitments every 30 years. With the next expiration deadline only a few short years away, the signing micronations of the Alcatraz Accords have unanimously expressed their support for its second renewal, stating that the continent should remain a nature preserve made available only to scientific research.
Stemming from its success in creating a local sub-currency, the Principality of Aigues-Mortes proposed the third term, wherein micronations of adequate capability are encouraged to create their own currency. The rationale behind this proposition was that sub-currencies help to promote local consumption and production of goods, while also reducing the transportation costs and pollution associated with imports.
In October 2012, the Empire of Angyalistan announced that its territory had expanded beyond the horizon to include the aquatic "garbage patches" forming in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. These patches, guided by strong ocean gyres, are the result of microplastic accumulation. Angyalistan is the only nation, to my knowledge, in the world with the explicit goal of reducing the size of its physical territory. Their ambitions were officially translated into micronational agreement within the signing of the Alcatraz Accords. Those who have chosen to adopt the treaty have pledged to fund research and support efforts focused on the removal and/or reduction of the debris.
The final term of the agreement is by far the most noble. In a concerted effort to address global poverty and environmental exploitation as a whole, the signers have agreed that any financial systems created for their communities will actively work to reduce the impact of these issues upon their citizens.
Although some micronations are able to actively work toward these agreements, those without physical territory, a functioning economy, and in some cases, a substantial population will be unable to focus on these goals for some time.
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Technical flaws aside, this environmental treaty not only demonstrates a sincere concern for the environment while encouraging global citizenship, it also serves as evidence that nations with their own vested interests do have the ability to agree with one another on the issues which will affect generations to come.