World Game Beta

“I always say to myself, what is the most important thing we can think about at this extraordinary moment” —Buckminster Fuller

Not far from Brooklyn, in 1907 Leo Baekeland came up with a material that revolutionized the world: Plastic. The term plastic means capable of being formed into any shape and its adaptability and energy-efficient qualities have made it one of the leading global materials. Moreover, plastics have a significant lifecycle. A plastic bottle can last over 450 years, and its rate of degradation is even further slowed if it is floating on the ocean surface.

Currently, a “trash-patch” of about 3.5 million tons, 99% of which is composed of plastic, is floating towards the central vortex of the Mid-Pacific Gyre. The sub-tropical convergent zones have become highways transporting plastics from the coasts of California and Japan and carrying them to the Mid-Pacific Gyre, where they are “deposited”. These convergent zones are where the highest concentration of plastics is found. Moreover, this is not unique to the Pacific Ocean; there are 4 other gyres that are currently accumulating plastics all over the planet.

Our strategy is to start a global network based on the trim-tab principle. The purpose being to (1) increase awareness (2) get experts and interested individuals across different fields to propose and engage in integrative solutions (3) Link related marine industries and other existing infrastructures to participate in these solutions. The network is composed of a web-based interface or World Game Beta that displays how different stakeholders can dynamically interact to reduce the trash patch. Also, inspired by Bucky’s famous World Game anyone entering the web-interface can participate in a comprehensive role-playing experience based on this game based on available data of plastics and designed to simulate different economic scenarios with the goal of re-introducing the trash-patch into the global economy. By connecting people, multinational corporations and other interest groups we can act as a catalyst to produce unpredicted maximum advantageous change.

PROBLEM SPACE: Buckminster Fuller disliked specialization precisely because it rid people’s ability to think comprehensively to address global challenges, “I always start with the universe...” The network is a magnifying glass that allows people to connect more closely with the trash-patch. By bringing together “specialists” and “experts” alongside artists, students, fishermen, sailors, public users from different spheres, into a dynamic relationship with the trash-patch, the network will be an additive system portraying the most real scenarios and projected outcomes given the existing resources available.

The most ecological and anticipatory response is certainly not to wait until the problem gets worse. In 2050 the trash-patch will have accumulated at least 350,000 million more tons of plastic. Unless we create an integrated resource management system across industries, plastic disposal in the sea will continue to accumulate and virgin plastic will reach 500 million metric tons by 2100.

The elegance of Bucky’s ideas was the way in which he conceptualized small interventions to topple the largest systems. This was inherent in his conceptualization of the miniature rudder of ""trim-tab"" as a means of moving an entire ship. We feel these new models of networking, of Internet based economies, and of virtual environments can begin to readdress in this way some of the world’s most pressing environmental issues.

1. Research/Networking: development of a body of knowledge while creating a network of relationships between key players.
1.1 Scientific.
1.1.1 Meeting with chemists.
1.1.2 Meeting with plastics experts.
1.1.3 Meeting with environmental organizations engaged in the study of the ocean or the Trash Patch, e.g. Algalita.
1.2 Industry
1.2.1 Individuation of main players of plastics arena. Production. Recycling.
1.2.2. Meeting and discussion to assess interest in the project and receive feedback.
1.3 Infrastructure
1.3.1 Oil: discuss ocean infrastructure and trade routes.
1.3.2 Shipping: discuss existing and potential service routes through the patch.
1.3.3 Fisheries: investigating current routes and available fishing technologies applicable to plastics.
1.4 Technology
1.4.1 Satellite imagery.
1.4.2 Sorting devices. Different types of plastics. Plastics and marine life.
1.5 Policy
1.5.1 Consulting with maritime lawyers.
1.5.2 Consulting with transnational policymakers.
1.6 Compiling report on findings
2. Design Phase: set out design objectives for virtual (web) and realtime (relating to physical material) infrastructure.
2.1 Virtual
2.1.1 Schematic design: interface Public. Corporate. Industry. Education.
2.1.2 Design development. Work with programmers to develop web infrastructure. Work with programmers to develop role playing internet game. Feed existing information. Research data. Live content about the development of World Game Beta initiative. World Game Beta internet game. Feed real time information into website.
2.2 Realtime
2.2.1 Schematic design of IT platforms to monitor and track. Trash patch. Zooplankton and marine life. Movement of vessels. Plastics from grave to cradle.
2.2.2 Design Development. testing each IT platform. develop platform to integrate information from Integrating realtime data into website.