Otra Nation - A Disney-style eco fantasy or the way forward?

| 15th May 2017
The idea behind Otra Nation is to develop the world’s first ever shared territory, removing the need for a physical border between North America and Mexico
With what should perhaps be described as fantastic enthusiasm, a collective of architects, designers, engineers, urban planners and entrepreneurs have submitted a proposal to the Governments of the United States and Mexico to create a land with no borders. LAURA BRIGGS wonders if she should take the proposal seriously...
The optimistic timeframe for the new nation - should everything go to plan - would see the US and Mexico signing a bilateral agreement by 2018

Otra Nation is the brainchild of the MADE Collective - it will be an eco-focused "co-nation" proposed by members to create a sustainable, profitable land, reminiscent, perhaps, of a Disney World powered on green energy and positive thinking.

The idea behind Otra Nation is to develop the world's first ever shared territory, removing the need for a physical border between North America and Mexico.

So can it be taken seriously?

The campaigners have submitted their proposal but you could take the view that the utopia they describe reaches far beyond the capabilities of the collective's own expertise, and what has already been achieved in nations that have been happily working together for years.

The optimistic timeframe for the new nation - should everything go to plan - would see the US and Mexico signing a bilateral agreement by 2018. With infrastructure to build, and 40 million future members of Otra Nation to consider, the enthusiastic MADE Collective members think that 2022 would be achievable.

With interconnected solar farms stretching over 90,000sq kms, and a focus on the development of regenerative agriculture, the proposal for Otra Nation certainly presents an optimistic read in a time where the world is so unstable.

Think hyperloop transportation systems, no passports needed, just biometrics.

Proposing to save the US taxpayer $11-28 billion, which the Collective says would be reinvested into healthcare, education, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the arts, it also claims the idea would create 2 million jobs and $1 trillion in investment.

Within the proposal Otra Nation members have a number of aims, including to create clean energy by having an extraction-free zone (no oil or mining) and instead relying on solar farming and electric transportation.

The collaborative approach proposes to fully restore wetlands, forest, and the natural habitats of the boundary line, disabling borders between Mexico and the United States.

People in Otra Nation will "open, dignified, and happy to share" - the collective says it will shun any company that looks to minimize human employment by the use of drones and autonomous vehicles.

This is not, they argue, an anti-Trump proposal, but rather a Pro-North American proposal. "We believe it is something he would consider", the organisers add.

An independent local government would cover the 2,000km of Otra Nation, reaching 20km into each border and covering El Paso and San Diego so there's a lot of work to be done here - even if they get past the first hurdle.

The members of the MADE Collective are pretty secretive - humanitarian and architect Cameron Sinclair has put his name to it, but on its website the members are pictured wearing animal masks, though they say that their members have been recognised by the last three administrations of the United States.

There's a convincing website - and a petition for you to show support for the idea. The petition requires 250,000 signatures for it to be presented to President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Donald Trump of the United States, but at the time of writing the campaigners had garnered just 59 supporters for their Utopian plans.

As coined in its strapline - Otra Nation: The Ultimate Frontier, this may just be one frontier too many - but then stranger things have happened, and sometimes it's just nice to have an idea as perfect as this.

This Author

Laura Briggs is a regular contributor to the Ecologist.

You can follow her on Twitter @WordsbyBriggs

 

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