Al Gore has become the honorary first citizen of a new country called the Trash Isles.
In partnership with the website LADbible and the Plastic Oceans Foundation, the former vice president submitted a petition to the United Nations to recognize the Trash Isles as the 196th country on the planet.
All together, the archipelago of garbage floating in the Pacific amounts to the same size as France. “We want to shrink this nation,” Gore said in a promotional video.
The Trash Isles are operating based on the theory that a country’s statehood is independent of recognition. It has established the basic necessities for statehood: defined borders, a government, a communications system for interacting with others and a population.
Including Al Gore, more than 100,000 people signed the petition to become citizens of the floating trash country. The Trash Isles also have a flag, currency (debris), and passports — all created from recycled materials.
The campaign is meant to draw attention to the horrific ocean pollution. “By becoming a country, other countries are obliged to clean up the Trash Isles,” according to the country’s campaign.
But even if the campaign for statehood fails, it will bring awareness to the “country-sized problem” in the North Pacific Ocean.
Scientists believe that pieces of plastic litter in the ocean will outnumber fish by 2050, if patterns continue.
Although the Trash Isles are unlikely to ever become a tourist destination, pollution and climate change are affecting many other beloved locations around the world. Venice, the Great Barrier Reef, and even Stonehenge have all experience recent changes due to climate change.