- 1 Geography
- 2 History
- 3 Politics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Culture
- 6 Religion & Spirituality
- 7 Demography & Languages
- 8 International Affairs
- 9 Puppet Nations
Ecopoeia is an archipelago off the coast of the continent of Alçaera, to the east and south-east of Tavast-Carelia. The total number of islands that come under Ecopoeian jurisdiction is 79, though most of these are very small and uninhabited. Under the terms of the Constitution, only six islands have permanent settlements: Viriditas, Chryse, Isidis, Elysium, Syrtis and Hellas. The northernmost islands, including Hellas and Argyre, are a little south of the Tropic of Capricorn. They are extensively forested and have warm, wet climates. The major islands sit in the northern reaches of the Tanking Sound. The largest island by some distance is Viriditas. Syrtis, Elysium and the southern reaches of Viriditas (Ochayeopoeia) are highly mountainous, with a not insignificant incidence of earthquakes and a temperate climate. The largest mountain (Schiehallion) and longest river (Marineris) are found on Viriditas.
Tanking sound, Satakunta channel, Alçaeran ocean
The Cloud-Water Community successfully petitioned for Argyre Islands to be placed on the World Heritage List in 2004. Controversially, The Misbehaving Sultanate of Cluichstan had the rest of the islands listed in March 2006 in a bid to illustrate the deficiencies of the resolution that instated the WHL. Subsequent negotiations have resolved the diplomatic conflict, with the result that Ecopoeia is now a declared supporter of repeal and only Argyre remains on the List.
saki monkeys, fish, etc
The Colonial Period
The earliest settlers of the Ecopoeian island chain are thought to be the Vanu’a. Subsequent migrations by Nteki and Anshasi from Alçaera's eastern seaboard, plus Tavast and Nicopolean adventuring over the course of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries proved highly inflammatory, the islands consequently blighted by territorialism and conflict. There was certainly no sense of national identity.
In the late sixteenth century, the Mercantiles occupied the major islands and carried out systematic enslavement and oppression of the existing population. The Vanu’a were particularly resistant to this oppression and were very nearly exterminated. Relief of sorts came in the mid-seventeenth century when the Mercantiles withdrew under threat from the expansionist Celdonian, Caselonian and Guo Lengi empires.
Possession of the islands passed back and forth between these powers for around half a century, the demographic make-up of the islands drastically altering in light of not only the corresponding influxes of citizens of the empires, but also the arrival of Paristani revolutionaries and the Muslim hijra. Eventually, Celdonia established itself as the indisputable ruler and gave the islands their first enduring name, Unta (an acronym of sorts, derived from the early ethnic divisions: Vanu’a, Nteki, Tavast and Anshasi). Celdonian rule proved relatively benevolent.
Unta remained a Celdonian protectorate until early in the twentieth century, when domestic problems led to the empire effectively selling the islands to locally based oligarchs of Celdonian origin in 1909. These oligarchs saw little need to seduce the islanders with promises of self-determination and representation, instead using the abandoned military facilities to subject the Untans to a new period of repression. Over time, the oligarchs condensed into a corporate government, effectively a police state.
The Bogdanovist Revolution
News of the social and political upheaval in the former colonial powers began to filter through to the Untans. Early revolutionary groups were disorganised, guileless and all too easy to pick off. However, lessons were learned and, gradually, highly co-ordinated organisations emerged. Most significant of these were the Bogdanovists, named after the fiery socialist, Arkady Bogdanov. Bogdanov’s followers made their play in 1968. Unfortunately, their fellow would-be revolutionaries were not ready and, critically, the Bogdanovists themselves had been infiltrated by government agents. The revolution was mercilessly crushed and almost all Bogdanovists that weren’t killed in battle were publicly executed shortly after. Remarkably, Bogdanov himself survived, albeit with severe burns and injuries. The other revolutionary groups retreated underground, shocked and in disarray.
The Revolutionaries Regroup
The revolution was not, however, a complete failure. It attracted the attention of the East Hackney government. Increasingly aware of its burgeoning power in Alçaera and keen to flex its muscles, the government sanctioned the smuggling of arms – the absence of which had been another major factor in the failure of the first revolution – and supplies to the islands. Contact was made with a mysterious Anshasi known only as ‘Coyote’, who introduced the Hackney insurgents to a couple of the less demoralised revolutionary cells.
Over the course of the 1970s, a disparate band of socialists, liberationists, nationalists and even environmentalists and spiritualists steadily accumulated support. The influence of the latter two groups cannot be understated. The Wilderness League, a collective of radical deep greens, engaged in a highly effective campaign to disrupt and destroy environmentally damaging projects undertaken by government-backed corporations. At the same time, the enigmatic Hiroko Ai and her disciples spread Viriditan spiritualism amongst the masses. A synthesis of Sufism, Daoism and others, the simple message of the greening force held great appeal to a generation of Untans who wanted to hear that life may yet be beautiful and peaceful.
All this may yet have been too little were it not for the emergence of more moderate figures who attracted those Untans previously put off by the extremist tendencies within the revolutionary movements: John Boone, folksy friend to the masses; Maya Toitovna, formidable driving force and early feminist icon; Frank Chalmers, unsentimental master of diplomacy. Most significant of all, though, was Nirgal. Young son of Hiroko Ai (and rumour has it, Coyote), Nirgal had the extraordinary ability to charm all who met him. Even Boone made enemies – notably Chalmers – but Nirgal was impossible to dislike. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. His crucial contribution to the movement’s politics was to unify the reds and the greens with his philosophy of ‘ecopoetry’, the beauty of the land expressed through the freedom and happiness of those who dwell on it.
The Ecopoetry Revolution
All these elements came together in the spring of 1979. Government plans to develop settled land on the edge of the town of Dorsa Brevia for industrial purposes drew the inevitable attentions of the Wilderness League. The response was extraordinary in its severity. The military were called in to make an example of the saboteurs. What the government did not realise was that Dorsa Brevia was the centre point of the revolutionary movement. The town arose almost as one to confront the military. What happened next is one of those events that goes down in history as unresolvable. Did a senior officer panic? Did the government or the contracted corporation order a display of power? Whatever the reasoning, shots were fired into the crowd. Carnage ensued. Hidden caches of armaments were emptied and the military were massacred.
News swiftly reached the capital city, Underhill. The government offices were stormed and, in the confusion, Prime Minister Phyllis Boyle was murdered. Even now, the nature of her death is not fully known. Much innuendo has been spread about Toitovna’s involvement in Boyle’s death, but no substantive proof has been offered and the accused has remained reticent on the matter.
Within a fortnight, the islands were in the hands of the provisional government. Elections followed and Mikhail Yangel was elected first President of the Community of Ecopoeia.
The Community of Ecopoeia
The honeymoon period was short. International support for the new government was in short supply. Only East Hackney and a handful of socialist states recognised the new nation at first. With time, Ecopoeia’s leaders grew bitter. The nation retreated into isolationism almost as soon as it was born. By the middle of the 1990s, cynicism and discontent was widespread. Democracy was proving increasingly illusory as the administration of Jackie Boone (daughter of John) clamped down on political freedoms. In 2001, immigration was completely halted. For the old hands of the revolution, this was a step too far. The islands had been born from multiple migrations. The ecopoets had inspired in the populace a sense of pride in their diversity; the government’s actions flew in the face of this pride. It was time for a change.
The Wertewandel Revolution
It was vital for those plotting the overthrow that violence played no part in proceedings. Over the next two years, Nirgal, the Viriditans, revolutionary Sufis and others spread their philosophy from town to town, attempting to determine what people wanted, what would make their lives better. They listened and from these discussions they formulated the concept of wertewandel – the mutation of values. People wanted something new. Meanwhile, the economy was crumbling. On 19th November 2003, crowds gathered around government offices across the nation and delegates were nominated to address the occupants. After seven hours of negotiations and demonstrations carried out in a carnival atmosphere, the government resigned. The third revolution, the wertewandel, was over.
The following weeks were crammed with public deliberation on the nature of the society that was to be formed. Finally, on 23rd December 2003, Ecopoeia – now a Cloud-Water Community – had a new constitution. Elections followed, with many figures from the nation’s revolutionary past elected to serve in the much reduced government.
The Cloud-Water Community
The Cloud-Water Community has since joined the UN and the ACA (whose members recently elected Ecopoeia its official delegate to the UN) and reversed its isolationist position, forging close ties with many nations. The first years of the Cloud-Water era have not been without their difficulties, especially economic instability and catastrophic storms ravaging Hellas. Time will tell if the islands’ latest incarnation will be more enduring than its predecessors.
Ecopoeia prides itself on its free and open political system. To many an outsider, however, the system consists of a bewildering and unceasing avalanche of elections and referenda that rarely deliver anything like a decisive outcome.
The executive branch of the government is elected on an annual basis, on the anniversary of the Wertewandel Revolution (23rd December). The elected representatives are known as Speakers. With so much power devolved to the local level and the Congress, some of the executive positions are largely ceremonial. However, most Ecopoeians take a relaxed approach to life and few begrudge the Speakers an easy ride.
- Peter Sumaye, Home Affairs
- Varia Yefremova, International Relations
- Liisa-Marija Raatikainen, the Economy
- Sebastian de Brissac, Trade
- Chisato Nakamura, the Environment
- Essi Kettunen, Education
- Uljas Kivijakola, Health
- Catriona Bruin, Rights & Wellbeing
- Wamai Lusweti, Industry
- Tani Quai, Agriculture
- Njoki Cheromei, Science
- Melanie Rousset, Culture
- Kinji Mizumaki, Transport
- Rabia Hamdani, Spirituality
- Andrew Douglas, Leisure
- Galya Pitoeva, Legal Affairs
- Kyle Springbank, the Wee Dram ('People's Speaker')
Executive structure (from the constitution):
- The Council of Speakers shall be ... elected by the vote of all Ecopoeian nationals over sixteen years of age. Speakers must be Ecopoeian residents at the time of their election and at least sixteen years of age. Individuals elected to the Council shall hold their office for up to eight years, with elections held every year ... In addition, an honorary 'People's Speaker' will be elected on a yearly basis, representing a portfolio of their choosing.
- Deputies for each position excepting the honorary Speaker shall be elected by the vote of all Ecopoeian nationals over sixteen years of age. Deputy Speakers must be Ecopoeian residents at the time of their election and at least sixteen years of age.
Powers granted to the Council of Speakers by the constitution:
- 1 – The Council of Speakers shall have the power, subject to the review and approval of the congress and electorate, to make treaties with international political and economic bodies.
- 2 – The Council of Speakers shall be responsible for the upholding and enforcement of the constitution in Ecopoeia.
- 3 – Each individual Speaker shall be ultimately responsible for the enactment of laws pertaining to their department and the success and representation of their department.
Towns and Settlements
- UN economy rating: Good
- National government spending priorities: education (32%), environmental protection (22%), social equality & justice (20%), social welfare (16%)
National versus local spending
The Ecopoeian economic system, like its political system, is markedly devolved. The current national government has adopted a policy of devoting absolutely no funds towards defence, law and order, commerce or spirituality, instead opting to leave expenditure in these areas to the towns and communities. As stated above, the principal spending priority is education, with universal, free at the point of access schooling available to all Ecopoeians up to the age of 18. Tertiary education is heavily subsidised. In addition to the spending areas listed above, the government also substantially funds healthcare and inter-community transport.
By contrast, communities focus more on law and order, healthcare (though spending in this area is expected to fall sharply once the national health service is up and running) and local transport, with defence, commerce and welfare being secondary priorities. Around a third of communities plough substantial funds into religious institutions; by contrast, another third devote next to nothing to such organisations. Virtually nothing is spent at the local level on social equality - this is regarded as a national responsibility.
Domestic and international contrasts
Though regarded as an anti-capitalist nation, Ecopoeia has a remarkably open internal market. The executive does very little to regulate beyond the conditions of the constitution. Indeed, the Environmental Court and, to a lesser extent, Congress are much more likely to intervene in domestic economic affairs. Some small communities, especially in Syrtis and Chryse, operate what are regarded rather sniffily (and not wholly accurately) by some Ecopoeians as borderline anarcho-capitalist economies.
Externally, policies are very different. Steep tariff walls are applied to most imports and the country refuses point blank to deal with foreign entities that it regards as falling short of its strict ethical criteria for trade. This ensures that Ecopoeian economic activity is whiter than white, so to speak, but significantly curtails its trading options and could cause problems should there be an economic downturn.
There is concern that the UN's increasingly pro-market outlook may damage Ecopoeian interests. The executive has made clear that it will call a referendum on UN membership if it feels that events make Ecopoeia's position untenable. Polling indicates that the public will readily support withdrawal.
Article 5 of the constitution lists individual rights. The following specifically place constraints on private enterprise:
- 9 – Right to choice of employment
- 10 – Right to the majority of the economic benefits of one’s labour
- 11 – Right to a meaningful part in the management of one’s work
- 12 – Right to a minimum living wage for life
- 13 – Right to proper healthcare and education
The Constitutional Court has the following powers specifically pertaining to economic activity:
- The Constitutional Court shall oversee an economic commission of twelve members. The Court shall appoint three members, all Ecopoeian nationals of at least sixteen years of age, to terms of four years. The other nine members shall be appointed or elected by guild co-operatives representing the various professions and trades practised in Ecopoeia. The economic commission shall submit for legislative approval a body of economic law and practices which will combine publicly owned not-for-profit basic services and privately owned enterprises; specify what the public services shall be and how they will be regulated; set legal size limits on all private enterprises; establish legal guidelines for private enterprises which insure that employees own their enterprises and the capital and profits associated with them; and oversee the welfare of a participatory, democratic economy.
Ecopoeia is indisputably a poor country. There are a variety of factors contributing to the economic malaise, historical and current. The pseudo-anarchic manner in which the country is structured certainly doesn't help matters, with no coherent national economic system in place. Many areas operate barter or gift economies and the national currency - the 'gift' - carries little value or significance for most Ecopoeians. The tiny national government has very little influence on economic policy. In essence, the communities and townships do as they wish provided they do not contravene the constitution or come into conflict with the Environmental Court.
Ecopoeia is short on natural resources, lamentably disorganised and prone to abandon economic progress in order to pursue environmental and social goals. Additionally, Ecopoeians are infamous for their lethargy and lack of willingness to sacrifice leisure and community duties for work. This attitude makes for strong social bonds and high levels of contendness but undoubtedly hinders economic development.
Several large areas of the islands (though mostly of low population density) are devoted to a low-tech existence and are regarded by external agencies - most notably the United Nations - as desperately poor, though the people themselves would disagree. The UN measure of Ecopoeia's rich-poor divide is damning principally because of such voluntary poverty.
Finally, there lurks the spectre of the black market. Some more caustic commentators have opined that Ecopoeia is nothing but black market; this is hyperbole, though not without foundation. The national government spends next to nothing on security, law and order and thus devotes no resources to tracking the numerous sea-based illicit traders. Most of these marine black marketeers are benign and carry out their activities with often positive consequences for the communities they come into contact with. However, a minority have a pernicious influence and are a genuine threat to stability, economic, social and political.
Despite all of these problems, the Ecopoeian economy is growing and looking at its healthiest for decades. The restoration of trade with the Alçaeran nations, East Hackney, Tavast-Carelia and Rehochipe has provided a real fillip, entry into IFTA has so far progressed smoothly and redevelopment efforts in Hellas are progressing well. Eco-tourism is being promoted as a means of attracting foreign cash and recently liberalised policies concerning the establishment of small businesses seem to be encouraging economic growth at a local level.
Perhaps most vital to Ecopoeia's continuing economic development is its status as an ethical source of certain crops and goods - especially coffee - that are notorious elsewhere for being unfairly traded. Efforts are being made at all levels of society to help promote Ecopoeia's positive image internationally and early signs are positive.
The executive's resources, as stated earlier, are small. However, much improved management (administration spending has plummeted in the last two years) and carefully re-evaluated fiscal priorities have yielded tangible rewards. The stated aim of the current government is to maintain existing education spending, increase funding of health and medical services and further cut outlay on social welfare and equality. Infrastructure is to receive close attention.
kavajava, hedonism, theatre
Religion & Spirituality
Distribution of Major Religions
Viriditas (17%), Sufism (7%), Daoism (6%) - all figures approx. There are numerous minor religions accounting for perhaps another 7-8% of the populace. At least a quarter of Ecopoeians regard themselves as agnostic, with around 10% declared atheists and the remainder either deist or undeclared.
Ecopoeia is home to a small population of Sufis who arrived at the islands in the early nineteenth century following expulsion from the Hackneys. The ferocious clashes between the fundamentalist Hindu west and secular east had left little room for pacifist minority faiths. Sufis in the west were routinely executed; those in the east regarded themselves as fortunate to escape with banishment.
Sufism has had an appreciable impact on both spiritual and political life in Ecopoeia; indeed, it was a major inspiration in the emergence of the eco-spiritualist Viriditas movement that played such a major role in the 1979 Ecopoetry Revolution. Unlike Viriditas, however, Sufism is not now in decline in Ecopoeia.
See also Islam.
Demography & Languages
14 million (approx; capped).
Ethnic mix: specific info concerning the Vanu'a, etc
Underhill (the capital, Chryse Island, approximately 290,000 inhabitants), Burroughs (Isidis, ~330,000), Sabishii (Viriditas, ~270,000), Senzeni Na (Viriditas, ~260,000), Odessa (Hellas, 80-140,000 - estimates vary widely due to influence of 2004 storms), South Fossa (Isidis, ~90,000), Echus Overlook (Chryse, ~70,000), Acheron (Viriditas, ~70,000)
Celdonian (understood as primary or supplementary language by approximately 78% of the populace), Caselonian (~26%), Tavast (~14%), Paristani (~9%), Nteki (~7%), Anshase (~5%), Lengi (~3%), Vanu (<1%)
NB: all estimates have an error margin of 1-2%, with the exception of that for Vanu.
- Member and current Chair of Alçaeran Union (AU)
A founder member of the AU, Ecopoeia was randomly selected as the first Chair, granting it the privilege of hosting the AU's inauguration ceremony, to be held in the town of Senzeni Na.
Ecopoeia maintains strong relations with many of its continental neighbours, though its resistance to to joining the Coalition of Anticapitalist Economies (CACE) or signing the International Fair Trade Agreement (IFTA) (see below) has caused some tensions, both in Alçaera and the northern continent of Aperin, home to many of Alçaera's former colonial overlords.
- Member and former UN Delegate of Anticapitalist Alliance (ACA)
- Current ACA ambassador to: The Order of Valiant States, International Democratic Union (IDU), Allied States of EuroIslanders (ASE)
- Former ACA ambassador to: the Anarcho Communist Alliance (tACA), Lavinium
Ecopoeia joined the ACA in February 2004 and rapidly established itself as a constructive though sometimes contrary member. In the summer of 2005, the nation served a full four months term as UN Delegate, overseeing a significant increase in membership and UN voter participation. Ecopoeia remains an active member and is the ACA's ambassador to several regions.
- IFTA signatory
Ecopoeia recently reversed a longstanding policy of opposition to IFTA. following the expiry of trade exemptions with its traditional Alçaeran allies, East Hackney, Tavast-Carelia and Rehochipe, as well as the ACA founder, ParEcon. Ecopoeia's refusal to sign hinged on a number of complaints, chief among them the inherently statist and isolationist nature of their terms. However, with the exemption expired and global economic conditions not moving in the country's favour, a referendum was called seeking the people's approval for membership. The response was - marginally - positive and the nation reluctantly signed up.
The process of gaining the trading exemptions highlighted Ecopoeia's ongoing distrust of the Aperin nations that once ruled much of Alçaera. Indeed, rather than moving closer to the northern powers, Ecopoeia appears to be dragging its allies away - Tavast-Carelia recently resigned from CACE and the two nations have signed a provisional mutual defence pact.
- Member of: United Nations (UN), United Nations Old Guard (UNOG), The Pretenama Panel (TPP), Green Think Tank (GTT)
Ecopoeia joined the UN shortly after the establishment of the Cloud-Water Community, ending decades of international isolation. Over the course of the past two years, the nation has established for itself a solid reputation that belies its lack of stature, to the extent that it is a co-founder of the shadowy yet influential UN Old Guard and an original member of The Pretenama Panel. More recently the nation joined the Green Think Tank. Most impressively, Ecopoeia authored Resolution #115, Freedom of Conscience, a measure to significantly increase human rights protections.
Significant Ecopoeians in the UN:
- Speaker to the UN - Lata Chakrabarti (pictured right)
- Deputy Speaker to the UN - Mathieu Vergniaud
- Representative on TPP - Josephine Nyerere
- Former Speaker to the UN - Varia Yefremova
Ecopoeia's future in the UN is in doubt. Upcoming free trade agreements potentially compromise too greatly national economic policy and resignation is a possibility. In any case, participation in UN affairs is in decline; the nation's period of extroversion appears to have come to an end regardless of continued membership. A referendum on continued membership is imminent.
The following may be regarded as expressions of Ecopoeia, each embodying a concept or group that shape the nation. Ecopoetry (and its synonyms) was at the heart of the 1979 revolution; Cloud-Water (resistance to definition) and Wertewandel (the mutation of values) the velvet revolution of 2003. Werteswandel (a linguistic corruption) has been claimed as a badge of honour by a minority that feel Ecopoeia has unwisely eschewed full liberation from government action. Viriditana represents the Viriditas cult, Rice and Salt the moderate Sufis of Syrtis that have not fully embraced the more permissive elements of Ecopoeian culture.
Ecopoesis - The Order of Valiant States
Ecopoesy - IDU
Ecopoetry - tACA
Ecopoets - Lavinium
Wertewandel - UNOG Works Canteen