The Renaissance of the 14th to 17th centuries was a time of great growth, not just in terms of culture, art, civility and economy a rebirth following the Middle Ages but also in terms of the human spirit. It coincided with the Scientific Revolution, traditionally assumed to have started with 1543’s Copernican Revolution. It is perhaps historical irony that now, more so than any other time in Antiquity, that there are a growing number of humans who believe that the world is flat.
In the face of growing income gap, a contagious plague and a new breed of capitalist aristocracy, Aaron Olivera stands out as a beacon on a darkening horizon. As governments hoard vaccines and political parties debate the veracity of climate change, the 42-year-old Gibraltar native wants to build a high-tech nuclear-powered ship equipped with state-of-the-art technology not to explore not the final frontier, but the one that is in our backyard.
Ironically more than 80 per cent of our ocean is unmapped, unobserved and unexplored. The Earth 300, with its liquid metal walls and advanced robotics, is Olivera’s dream-given form. At the cost of US$700 million, the 300 metre-long megayacht will be home to 160 of the brightest minds on the planet, working in a “science sphere” of 22 laboratories. With the backing of Martin Yates, Dell Technologies’ chief technology officer for international smart digital cities, we can think of Earth 300 as a seafaring Starship Enterprise, a vessel dedicated to science and exploration with 20 “experts in residence” spanning across all fields, over 160 support staff and of course, students the next generation of scientists.
Diving off the coast of his resort development in 2015, Olivera saw the bleached coral reef in the Maldives (editor’s note: 800 kilometres of the Great Barrier Reef died in 2016 due to bleaching, a consequence of climate change), triggering his next project, and perhaps humanity’s best hope.
Describe your perspective of Earth, are we missing an opportunity to use the pandemic to reset how capitalism functions?
I have tremendous faith in humanity. I believe that given the chance, we would all rather be constructive than destructive; be open and friendly rather than closed and hostile. It is often our circumstances, and not always choice, that make us who we are.
For the first time in human history, Covid-19 is allowing the world to truly experience an existential global problem in unison. We have seen how international trade and travel have been affected and we have all come to realise that “sustainability” is something as important as the air we breathe. Capitalism needs to factor in the environment, as you cannot do business on a dead planet. It is insanity to continue to pursue ROI without factoring in the environment – the very life support system that allows us to exist. Health, as the great Emerson said, is the first wealth. And so without the health of the planet, nothing else matters.
It is often argued that capitalism is a change driver when it comes to adopting new, sustainable technologies, are we on track or could we go a little faster?
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