(An extract from the forthcoming Special Anniversary Edition of Interplanetary Geographic Magazine, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Angel States and taking a look at the inception of a world we now take for granted by our Special Correspondent Dan Hack (magazine available this August 6th 2230).)
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On January 10th 2030, the States of California and Hawaii seceded from the Union of the United States of America to become an independent nation state, much to the chagrin of the American Oligarchy.
Fossil fuels were subsequently outlawed, as were non organic recyclable plastics and other environmental pollutants.
The ‘Angel States’ (as they became known) generated all their energy from solar-electric, wave, tidal and wind power. The vast surplus of power became effectively free to the ‘Angelinos’ themselves. At least half of the power produced was sold off at cost to the nation states formerly known as Mexico and Canada.
Car ownership, whilst not illegal, was at least frowned upon as a throwback and was mostly indulged in by older citizens. Most Angelinos preferred to summon a self driving electric car as and when needed.
Plane travel decreased as the Hyperloop networks increased their extensive coverage. Hyperloop was in any event both faster and cheaper than air travel. There was even talk of extending the network through the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii.
Needless the say the Old United States with its entrenched Oligarchy and near hysterical climate change denial was less than thrilled with its new neighbors. The US economy, heavily reliant on hydrocarbons and paying the cost of cascading climate and pollution catastrophes saw its own economy shrinking alongside its trade with the rest of the world.
Many pointed to the irony that America’s shrinking economy seemed almost in step with its shrinking land mass as coastal cities flooded. Washington DC rolled back history, becoming once again the swamp its detractors had always accused it of being.
Los Angeles, the new capital of the Angel States now resembled a vertical farm of vast proportions, looking from a distance more like a mountainously scaled up rain forest. The change in the climate simply from having such concentrated verdant abundance and micro-climates in LA, San Francisco, San Diego etc. had increased rainfall in the surrounding regions significantly, increasing crop yield there. This, together with a no-insecticide policy had increased the state’s food output tenfold, almost as an incidental byproduct. The Angel States now exported food and water to arid Mexico and the impoverished Mid-West.
During this time a troop of Orangutans escaped from Los Angeles Zoo. They were never successfully rounded up and their colony remains successfully integrated into the vertical farms of the Griffith Park area to this day.
Angelinos themselves were considered rich by the standards of the rest of the world at the time.
In order to farm and maintain its growing 21st century infrastructure and technology base, Angelinos had, after some serious thought, voted to maximize the use of robotics and AI. This led to a substantial reduction in the amount of menial jobs for humans. Whilst some complained, most were happy to live on the generous Universal Living Wage every citizen received regardless of their employment situation. This was paid for by a tax on wealth created by robots and AI and was at least equivalent to an average salary prior to its implementation. After some adjustment the population got wholly behind the notion of robots doing the menial and soul destroying work they had once coveted. Every new position filled by the use of robots meant a small but collectively significant increase in the Universal Wage.
Angelinos, now with no money worries (both food and energy are effectively free, remember) or time constraints turned their attention to the things in life that mattered most to them. Families and friends spent significantly more time together. The Angel States became arguably the cultural and artistic capital of the world. Needless to say, surfing became the National Sport.
The US was now hemorrhaging citizens to the new Angel States. In an effort to keep its own population in, America resorted to building a wall along the old Californian border.
This was unsuccessful for several reasons but mostly because the Angelinos saw the wall as an outrageous waste of resources. As fast as the metal sheeting went up it was torn down from the Californian side and recycled – often as the raw materials for the vast City Ships being built off the coast of California. Occasionally an artwork made from the fencing was sent to Washington by way of thanks for the raw materials.
As an answer to the increasing population of the Angel States, the afore mentioned City Ships were built. These floating cities, each resembling a quarter sized version of Manhattan but with significantly more parkland and beaches, were built (aside from US border fence donations) from minerals captured from ocean water and also from the metal ore asteroids now regularly towed into orbit by California based space mining companies such as “Interplanetary Resources” and “SpaceX”.
Each floating city could house, feed and provide for a population of several million. Wave power and sea farms provided the raw materials for the ‘Floaters’ as they called themselves (their term, not mine!) and their sophisticated metropolitan lifestyle.
The hulls of the gradually drifting ships provided an array of new environments for sea life to move into, some enjoying the habitats beneath the hulls. Other creatures thrived on the artificial reefs surrounding the cities and which served as protection from the worst Pacific storms.
Needless to say this did not improve relations with the US. Punitive sanctions were introduced by the US but had no effect on the Angel States. The truth was, the old USA had very little the Angelinos wanted.
Matters however came to a head, when a vote was held throughout the population of the Angel States to effectively open their doors. Citizenship was offered to anyone on Earth who wanted it.
In this 21st century, fully sustainable economy there was more than enough room for everyone now that the city ships were opening up limitless and sea-level-proof living space just as the world’s land masses were shrinking.
This was an epic undertaking but to the Angelinos way of thinking, what was the point in surviving the climate bottleneck if you couldn’t take the rest of the world with you?
Many took up the offer and lived in and contributed to the cultural diversity of the Angel States. Others preferred to remake their own countries along the same model as that offered by the (by now), worlds most successful economy.
By 2170 the Angel states formed a collective including the vast majority of the former countries on Earth. Even Bradbury, and Clarke, Elon Musk’s domed cities on Mars, worked in close union with the Angel States of Earth, offering free trade, science and immigration between the two planets.
The only serious resistance came in 2084 when both the failing American and Russian Oligarchies decided an example would have to be made of these break-away states offering freedoms and opportunities which were undermining their own power bases. The Russian and American populations were becoming increasingly difficult to maintain any control over as they demonstrated for political change and Angel State inclusion. Some form of action was called for.
It was well known, that the Angel States had no military capability. The Angelinos were proud not to have any involvement with offensive weapons from side arms to nuclear missiles.
On March 19th 2084 joint nuclear missile strikes were launched from both sides of the pacific at the former states of Hawaii and California. Complete annihilation seemed assured and even if the leveling of the nascent states did cause significant radioactive fall out, it was deemed worth it to put a stop to this menace.
Of course the truth was that the Angel States needed no military or defensive capability.
“Friendly AIs” (as they were called), banned in the US and Russia but actively encouraged in California for over 60 years, hacked and neutralized the ICBMS within seconds of launch. Most were sent harmlessly into low earth orbit to await collection by the Angel State’s by now mature space infrastructure. Other’s lacking orbital capability were sent into the pacific where they were also recovered.
All missiles were decommissioned, and the rockets recycled into various space and earthbound infrastructure. A few were kept as reminders to anyone else offended by the Angel States’ stance on sustainable living and freedom for all people. The discredited oligarchs of Russia and America lasted a matter of weeks following the failed strike.
By 2150, populations had stabilized somewhat and even the CO2 content of the atmosphere had gone into a small but sustained reverse. It was beginning to look as if Humanity might well have survived the bottleneck of climate change and warming with – as the Angelinos liked to say – “no small degree of style”.