Bastia 2121: Declaring War FOR Ecology
The Ecotopia 2121 Project details the futures of 100 cities across the globe as though they've somehow overcome all the grave environmental challenges our age and grown to become super-Green and super-ecofriendly. This month, we highlight the future of Bastia.
Bastia is the major port of the French island of Corsica. In 1972, an Italian company dumped toxic waste off the Corsican coast creating a grotesque red mud around the island and causing dead porpoises to be washed upon the shores for weeks. Corsicans felt the French government terribly lax in their reaction for they did not make a complaint against Italy nor did they honor pledges to rehabilitate the environment.
At the time, France and Italy were negotiating trade agreements and the leaders didn’t want eco-quarrels to get in the way. This negligence seems to continue nowadays. Italian tankers leak oil near Corsica and Italian cruise ships sail roughshod through vulnerable Corsican marine zones. There are suspicions too, that radioactive and industrial waste is being dumped near Corsica by the mafia for the Italian Energy Ministry. The Corsicans take legal action but still Italy acts likes it owns the sea around Corsica.
Perhaps Emperor Napoleon’s legacy has some influence on this state of affairs since, although he was a native son of Corsica, born there in 1769, he only spoke condescendingly about the island and never cared to defend it.
In this scenario, Bastia 2121, the Corsica of the future gives rise to another Napoleon, Napoleon of Bastia. Born three-hundred years after Napoleon I, in 2069, he rises through the ranks of the island’s government to become Governor of Corsica. Unlike his namesake, though, the island’s wellbeing is at the forefront of his mind. The number of environmental laws approved for the Island skyrockets. For instance, he resurrects a 16th century law that all Corsicans must plant four trees a year (a fig, a mulberry, an olive and a chestnut). To top it all off, in 2121, he takes a strong stance against an Italian garbage-dumping vessel heading to Corsica, sending out fighter-planes to fire warning shots at them. The world is astonished to see military action taken to preserve the environment rather than to destroy it. The same year Napoleon of Bastia is voted in as President of France.