Ever Wanted To Start Your Own Country? With Your Help, We Can Try It!

Environment

Have you ever wanted to start your own country? We’ve probably all had that thought, especially around election time when politics are at their worst. Plus, if you were in charge of your very own country, you could run it the right way instead of watching the clowns run it, right? If I know CleanTechnica’s readers at all, my guess is that you’d want that little country to be run on nothing but renewables. Plus, the country’s mission would be a lot like Tesla’s mission: to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy.

The sad reality is, we can’t really start our own country. The people who run the existing countries obviously wouldn’t be very happy about that, and we also don’t want them thinking we’re dangerous extremists or anything (we all love our dogs). But, there’s nothing stopping us from making a tongue-in-cheek “micronation” to prove a point! Plus, we could do some good in the world, and have some fun along the way.

So, I hereby declare independence for the Mobile Micronation of CleanTechnia!

What Micronation? Where Is CleanTechnia? Why The Weird Hexagon Font & Logo?

You’ll never see CleanTechnia on a map, and to be honest, I couldn’t give you a latitude and longitude right now, either. You see, uh, we haven’t built it yet. Plus, it’s going to be portable, so it won’t always be in the same spot, so we definitely can’t put it on a map unless it’s an internet map we can change and update when it moves (we will do that).

What we can tell you is what it will look like.

Envision these Shiftpod “Burning Man” shelters with some solar panels set beside them to charge battery banks inside. Image by Shiftpod.

Next to the shelters, we’d have 4 or 8 of these solar panels, charging a Jackery battery bank (which we already have) and inverter. Picture by Jennifer Sensiba

Our little mobile micronation will be inside several Shiftpods (portable, insulated hexagon-shaped shelters). If you’re into Burning Man, you’ve probably seen these before. They’re like a tent, but they have some insulation in their walls and they can be set up and taken down in just a few seconds. Plus, they’re a lot lighter than the ice fishing shelters that they look like.

Having a little bit of insulation will help these little shelters be efficient with the solar-powered heating and cooling systems I’m getting for them.

What Point Are You Trying To Prove? (or, Why Do This?)

First, our “micronation” will show that it’s possible to not only travel on renewables like we do now with EVs, but to power comfortable temporary living space with just a few solar panels and a small lithium battery bank. No propane or other fossil fuels will be used in the mobile micronation, so this will prove that we don’t need fossil fuels to glamp. Its minimal weight and folded-up size will also allow minimum emissions when moving it. Even the shower and toilet will be designed for minimum environmental impact without major inconvenience.

I’m sure it will take some trial and error to get this setup to work right, but once it’s done, others will be able to do it without going through the testing we’d go through to make sure it all works well together. Unfortunately, the needed items are currently expensive because there’s not much demand for them. If we could all help popularize them, low-impact travel and camping like this could become a lot cheaper.

Pioneering this would also help EV drivers a LOT. If you want comfortable quarters out in the backcountry, the only easy option right now is to pull a camper along. Once we get the guesswork and techniques figured out, anybody will be able to put a few items in the back of their EV to do this, and they won’t have to worry about whether a big travel trailer would kill their range and leave them stranded.

There are also many homeless people in the developed world, impoverished people in developing countries, and people who have faced disaster who would love to have the kind of security and energy independence that such a shelter would provide. We hope that our efforts will make it possible for them to enjoy the benefits of clean energy like this, too.

One Other Thing We’d Like To Do: Tell The Untold EV & CleanTech Stories

The mobile shelter will also be used to chase the EV and clean technology stories that just don’t get told because they’re too expensive to travel to. Sure, when a big company has big dollars to bring journalists in to tell their story, they make sure to take care of things like plane tickets, hotels, and even meals. When the little guy needs to tell their story, or the story isn’t obvious, nobody wants to take a chance on going out there to see what’s going on and share it with readers.

By taking advantage of cheap and free camping space in rural areas, we can more cheaply chase these important stories to make sure they actually get told.

Being able to practice what we preach through low-impact travel and low-impact shelter on the road would also be a big plus. There’s already too much room for people to criticize clean technology advocates, and we want to shut them up for good with this.

What We Need Help Getting

The $30,900 for this project (you can find our Kickstarter here) will be used to purchase the following:

  • Money for 3 nights of paid camping space each month, for a year (other nights will be on public land or in free camping areas, up to 2 weeks per month)
  • Money for gas or DC fast charging (depending on whether our Nissan LEAF can reach the destination)
  • 12 months of Starlink service and the Starlink hardware
  • Two Shiftpod portable quick-deploy insulated shelters, plus a “tunnel” to connect them.
  • Efficient <250 watt low-power heating and cooling for the shelter (powered by our Jackery 1500 solar generator we already have, which needs two additional solar panels)
  • A low-power electric cooktop, non-plastic mess kits, etc
  • Fold-up camping furniture, solar shower bags, miscellaneous campsite items
  • A composting toilet
  • A small enclosed cargo trailer to carry all of this, plus two e-bikes we already have

If Our Readers Are Particularly Generous, & Overfund Us…

If we get overfunded, we have several flex goals:

At $40,000, we would add a third Shiftpod to our “micronation” complex for more room to work and record videos. This would require a second Jackery solar generator and more panels, another small HVAC unit, and another “tunnel.”

At $43,000, we would add one more mini shiftpod for bikepacking adventures in even more remote areas, with some related bikepacking gear. We already have the e-bikes to do this.

Our final flex goal ($130,000 max) would be to upgrade our Nissan LEAF to another electric vehicle with more range, so we could avoid burning gas on nearly all trips. Ideally, this would be a used Tesla Model X with a hitch to tow the small trailer mentioned above, but there are other EV options we could afford with less.

In other words, all donations, no matter how far above the goal we get, would be used to further the project.

 

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