Parliament approves culture programs, territorial changes, health and environment ministry

SEATTLE – At a meeting on Independence Day, 6 March, Parliament approved the King’s proposals for new cultural programs, territorial reforms, and a broadening of the environment ministry’s portfolio to include health.

Two of the four acts empower the Minister for Culture to give government sanction to aspects of national and local culture by publishing them on official lists. The Holidays and Observances Act defines six state holidays and directs the minister to maintain a Holiday and Observance List. The list will recognize cultural holidays and other observances observed by Überstadtis generally and by specific cultural and religious groups. This act also permits government workers leave on state holidays and cultural holidays they observe.

The Monuments and Heritage Act similarly establishes a National Monuments List and a National Heritage List to record sites, artifacts, and intangible heritage of national significance.

The Territory Act’s most important provisions clarified aspects of Überstadt’s territorial philosophy. It declared that Überstadt’s oldest territory, Edmount Island in Lake Ballinger, is a claim of “historical and cultural significance to the Kingdom and an acknowledgement of stewardship, not an assertion of exclusive control or usufruct rights.” The act also asserts that Überstadt may exercise sovereignty over parts of buildings without claiming spaces above and below them, essentially allowing territorial claims of individual units in multifamily residences. These changes follow King Adam’s speech at MicroCon 2019 that urged micronations in historical settler colonies to rethink their approach to land claims and reflects the increasing number of citizens who live in dense urban neighborhoods.

The Territory Act also created the county as a subdivision of the Kingdom’s duchies and relinquished Überstadt’s claim to Creekbed Colony, a small piece of parkland near the capital, Rosewood.

This meeting’s final agenda item was the Health and Environment Act, which renames the Ministry for the Environment to the Ministry for Health and the Environment. It requires the minister to publish quarterly reports on public health in Überstadt and an annual report on environmental issues.

Dead tree cut near Independence Spire

ROSEWOOD – An American company removed most of a dead Douglas fir next to Überstadt’s Independence Spire early this evening. The tree died well over a year ago for unknown reasons, and the Baron Ballinger arranged its disposal.

The fir was not very old, being about a foot in diameter. A stump several feet high was left standing at the request of the environment ministry. Standing deadwood in is known to benefit wildlife in traditionally wooded areas, such as the Puget Sound basin.

Leftover pieces of log will either be exported or used in Überstadt for fuel or building material.

tree-cut
An American tree surgeon cuts the dead fir. The Independence Spire, Überstadt’s only monument, is concealed by the shed. (Photo: The Baroness Rosewood)

Überstadt joins Alcatraz Treaty

ROSEWOOD – In the opening seconds of 2016, King Adam of Überstadt brought in the new year by signing the Alcatraz Environmental Treaty, which has been ratified by many other micronations and related entities.

Adam moved for Überstadti ratification of the treaty following an end-of-year appeal by Princess Olivia of Aigues-mortes for as many nations as possible to accede to it. It has become the largest environmental treaty in micronational history, with a growing number of signatories that cannot be precisely tallied at press time, though estimated to number at least 15 and rising.

The Alcatraz Treaty was drafted at PoliNation 2015: The 3rd International Conference of Micronations, hosted by the Free Republic of Alcatraz. Delegations from nine countries signed the agreement at the conference on 5 July. It calls upon signatories to conserve natural resources and support localized economic activity, declares their belief that Antarctica must remain a scientific preserve, and demands reparations from “large landed nations” for land lost to rising sea levels.

King Adam signed a copy of the treaty, which will be sent to President Jacopo Fo of Alcatraz, the official repository of the original document.

Creekbed: Überstadt’s natural wealth

A seasonal creek runs through a wooded park in Mountlake Terrace, a commuter town in Washington State. This stream is not named by the American government. To Überstadtis, however,  it is known as Edmount’s Finger. This name was coined by President David Salapa of Ultamiya, so called because  the rocky bed represents the furthest reach of Überstadti influence. The Kingdom’s sole colony, called Creekbed, lies on the banks of Edmount’s Finger.

Salapa hails from perhaps the most prominent mining micronation. The Ultamian Mining Company has excavated coal, pyrite, and manganese, as well as the sandstone ubiquitous throughout Appalachia. Überstadt, however, lacks such mineral wealth. The rocks of Edmount are useless glacial till. Instead, our wealth grows in the moist humus of Creekbed. The beautiful forest is what makes our country rich.

Creekbed is a gentle slope, shaded by towering Douglas firs and blanketed in moss and blackberry vines. The beauty of the colony reflects the landscape that still exists throughout vast swathes of the Pacific Northwest. Tourism and forestry are common macronational uses of such land, neither of which are sustainable in such a small territory as Creekbed. The colony’s economic value lies not in its beauty or in the trees, but in the shrubbery.

Creekbed Colony
Creekbed in the afternoon

Before there were artificial pills and tablets with which to treat illness, there were natural remedies. King Adam, who like many micronationalists fills several different roles in his nation’s public life, had this in mind when he established the Überstadti private sector.

“Where nature causes a body harm or inconvenience, she often provides a treatment or cure. A great many of the plants of my region have proven medicinal value, usable without any processing. That’s why I knew Apotheker would be a success.”

Apotheker is the mainstay of Überstadt’s economy, a pharmaceutical company that owns one hundred square feet of the plant-filled enclave. Apotheker’s simple remedies are harvested from its plot of greenery.

Fern
Underside of a sword fern frond

Sword ferns are the most valuable plants of Creekbed. The underside of each of the distinct jagged leaves of the male fern, whose species grows with great density in the northwestern United States, bears one to two dozen sori (spore-producing pods). These sori break apart into a yellow-orange powder that effectively counteracts the small dose of poison injected by stinging nettles, soothing the pain of the rash. The powder is made by Apotheker simply by scraping the spore pods off of each leaf, a practice that is harmless to the plant. The powder is sold under the name of Sporum, and has been succesfully shipped to California.

The red huckleberry (in fact a member of the blueberry family) is the second most common medicinal plant in the colony. The tart red berries of the shrub make for good eating, but it is the leaves that are of the greatest use to the ill. Huckleberry leaves fall from the plant every winter, and can thus be collected in the fall without harming the bush. These leaves may be dried and made into a tea, which soothes a sore throat when gargled due to their astringent properties.

Blackberry vines are plentiful, as well. While they lack medical use, they yield sweet berries when given proper nutrition. The Edmount’s Finger Half-Dam, which forms a simple stone that spans half of the creek, has significantly increased the deposit of nutrient-rich silt in Creekbed, which may be used to fertilize the blackberries in the hope of cultivating a plentiful berry crop.

The plants of Creekbed form Überstadt’s natural wealth, a set of living resources with the ability to relieve human pain while aiding the development of the Überstadti economy. They prove that our planet rewards mankind when properly cared for. May all micronations maximize the utility of their natural resources while simultaneously preserving them for their nations’ futures.