Imagine if you will the year is 2230, the Big Plastic Empire has just declared war on the sub aquatic population of the Dura-Pack democratic nation. To understand how we got here we must go back 200 years to the year 2030. At this time the world has not reached its sustainability goals and the plastic island in the Pacific Ocean is still some how not that important of an issue. Statistics state that the world IQ has dropped .5% from 2020 for unknown reasons. Companies like Dura-Pack have tried to revolutionize the product packaging and recycling game, but politicians have dedicated their focuses to how they are perceived through their Instagram accounts. This has led to more and more scientists’ opinions being ignored and an unpredicted resurgence of the classic “duck face” selfie. Packaging companies whose interests are profit margins and cheap alternatives have been able to run rampant with their cheap plastics and over complicated packaging policies. By 2045 the packaging game is bipartisan. One side of the isle is backed by “big plastic” money, going as far as to ware fully plastic high fashion clothing lines which see a 1.3% spike in social media following per post. The other party has begun to support Dura-Plasic and her sister companies. They have seen little success in the public eye due to seeming too worried about the environment and less worried about the real issues like which Kardashiouuun will look best with fully cybernetic lip prosthetics.
Its mid-morning 2045 the average American IQ has dropped 4% from 2030 though no one has taken much interest in this issue. Big plastic politicians have a 24hr live stream on holoprojectors arguing the finer points of whether or not Derick Kardashiouuun’s dreamy eyes will pair with the prosthetics over Stacie Kardashiouuun’s bulbous nose. Dura-Packs team is desperately trying to appeal to the public’s humanity, but for some reason their campaign just can seem to gain and ground. The election comes and goes, big plastic wins again…and again….and again. 2057 rolls around and the Dura-Plastic has become a 3rd party, public education is at record lows due to having few citizens educated enough to teach the next generation. The major parties are now light and heavy plastics. Both strive to increase packaging profits and make up a large percent of the world’s employment force. Species are becoming extinct at breakneck speeds. The world oceans are filled with plastics and a new sovereign nation is beginning to form on the pacific plastic “land” mass. All of its funding is going into technology and precious metals.
2100….Dura-Pack has become a R&D team of less then 12 people. They tried to create a nonprofit education program to keep science alive but can only take on 20 students per year. Air and water quality are not the #1 cause of death in the world. Dura-Pack has begun research on a project dubbed “Atlantis” its goal is to create deep underwater cities utilizing the plastics readily found in the open ocean. Through its media outlets Dura-Pack tries to gain support for the project. Big plastics representative is short stocky man whose underbelly pokes out of his ill-fitting suite. His face is always flushed red and has a habit of sweating profusely during speeches. He rallies the pubic into an ignorant rage by claiming that Dura-Pack is a treat to their way of life and only want to clean the environment so that they can educate children to rebel and convince them to hate their parents. Dura-Pack has enough and hires a gruff looking private detective to investigate big plastics factories. The detective is in his mid 30’s but due to the surface environment he appears much older. His dark overcoat is tattered and dusty, but his steal blue eyes have an intensity that speak of years of experience and expertise. After 5 years of investigation Durra-Pack has lost its corporate identity and has become a small thriving community of science. Launch day comes and the first subaquatic dome is being prepped for full functionality. The detective finds himself trapped in a storage locker after narrowly escaping big plastics death squads. He had just downloaded a file that describes big plastics unrealistic success over the past 100 years from the heavily guarded desk of its CEO. He franticly attempts to contact Dura-Packs community leader but there is no answer. As the city begins its victorious decent into unpolluted deep water the detective is found by the death squad. In his last moments of freedom, he activates a remote upload device that transfers all the data to an undisclosed computer system. Somewhere in a dark room a read light is brought to life and weakly blinks. Dura-Pack is left with only an audio recording of the detective struggling while being apprehended.
2120, due to Dura-Pack making its research available to the public for free, big plastic has crudely recreated the domes but are only able to get them working above land. The world’s population is dwindling due to pollution and those that can secure a spot in the domes do so and leave the rest of humanity to suffocate in the now toxic atmosphere. Big plastic has been putting out doctored footage of the detective committing various forms of arson and terrorist activity for the past 15 years while keeping him prisoner. He is scheduled for trial but the verdict has already been reached. He is sentenced to death by public execution. It is at this point that the atmosphere on the surface has reached a toxicity level that can kill a human within 2minutes of exposure. The execution will be held on live holocast. Leaders of Dura-Packs commune tune in to see the sad steal blue eyes of their detective looking directly into them. He is chained to a large podium alongside a man in dark black-purple robes with his hands on a large red lever. “do you have any last words” says the executioner. The detective takes a moment, knowing these are his last words he wants to make them count. He rifles off “34.048927, -111.093735” and falls silent. The executioner scoffs and says, “nonsense won’t help you now” and pulls the lever. The podium slowly rises to the top of the dome and a kind of skylight opens that leads to the outside of the dome above him. As the detective is brought to meet a polluted atmosphere, he breaths in the small plastic particulates left from a hundred years of poor packaging material. He smiles and is unconscious within moments. The big plastic nation breaths a wheezing sigh of relief while the Dura-Packing colony begins its preparations to the location the detective had just given them. The highest IQ within the big plastic nation is less than half of those within the Dura-Pack colonies, so it isn’t surprising that they have forgotten something as simple as basic geographic coordinates.
A small red light still blinks.
Dura-Packs exploration team finds the detectives remote drive with ease and decodes the data file. On it they find that 100 years ago big plastic companies began to include a microchemical layer within its products designed to lower the IQ of those who came in contact with it over extended periods of time. As the companies merged into one mega corporation, they developed stronger and stronger compounds that hastened the dumbing down process. Keeping the public distracted became an easy task and gaining political power came just as easy by altering the compound to increase product loyalty. The Dura-Packs community leader decided to dive the settlements deeper to escape big plastics potential reach. Over the next 80 years they would develop specialized liberation teams that would come to the surface to take newborns from big plastics grasp in an effort to grow and educate their population. By 2200 they have become known as the “bogyman from the depths”. 2220 saw an increase in the technology of the big plastic kingdom whose single ruler declared the subaquatic nation as a “world threat”. Now finally back to 2230, The last of the Kardashiouuuns have died out and the big plastic empire morns. War is declared on the Dura-Pack population. Dura-Packs democratically elected leaders have launched technological marvels that will reverse the worlds necrotic state and have decided to traverse from deep water into deep space. The only question is if they will be able to prepare their population in time. Big plastics actions have not gone unnoticed and represent a vary real threat.
Essay by: Joseph Powell
Arizona State University