How Liberty Will Save the Seas

As reported on

“19-year-old Boyan Slat has unveiled plans to create an Ocean Cleanup Array that could remove 7,250,000 tons of plastic waste from the world’s oceans.

The device consists of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms that could be dispatched to garbage patches around the world. Instead of moving through the ocean, the array would span the radius of a garbage patch, acting as a giant funnel. The angle of the booms would force plastic in the direction of the platforms, where it would be separated from plankton, filtered and stored for recycling.”

Smart people like this young man, who have an entrepreneurial urge for solving big problems close to their hearts are why we need not despair about seemingly insurmountable environmental issues.

As long as there are individuals living under political systems that allow them at least some (but ideally the maximum) freedom to think, act and acquire property to use in any way they wish, there will emerge amazing solutions from the minds of brilliant individuals to our biggest environmental challenges. If there’s a solution, then someone will find it. We must trust in liberty. We must trust in the power of the human mind and, most importantly, work towards societies which maximize the economic freedom for individuals to pursue whatever passions burn deep inside their hearts.

Based on human history it’s very reasonable to expect every environmental challenge facing humanity to be overcome – as long as individual liberty isn’t crushed entirely by expanding governments in this century or the next.

Mainstream environmentalists tend to be quite pessimistic about the future of our environment and to advocate the expansion of government powers to address environmental issues because they greatly overestimate what coercion can achieve whilst vastly underestimating what peaceful, voluntary exchange and cooperation in the form of free market capitalism achieves.

According to the project’s website:

“On 3 June 2014, we presented The Ocean Cleanup’s feasibility study – a 530-page report, authored by 70 scientists and engineers – proposing a viable method to clean half of the so-called ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ within ten years’ time. At the same time, a crowd funding campaign was launched, aiming to collect US$ 2 million within 100 days. Within 98 days, the US$ 2 million target had been reached. After completion, US$ 2,154,282 had been raised, making it ‘the most successful non-profit crowd funding campaign in history’, according to crowd funding platform ABN AMRO’s SEEDS, who facilitated the campaign.”

The project is currently in its pilot phase. Let’s just hope government doesn’t get in the way too much or put a regulatory spanner in the works.

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