The Embassy of the North Sea, founded in The Hague in 2018, listens to and involves the voices of plants, animals, microbes, and people in and around the North Sea. Founded on the principle that the sea owns itself, the Embassy makes political space for sea-emancipation through connection, imagination and representation. We plotted a route through to 2030, firstly learning to listen to the sea before we learn to speak with it. Finally, we will negotiate on behalf of the North Sea and all the life that it encapsulates.

Today’s most pressing ecological and technological issues transcend borders and species, yet we mostly approach them from the nation-state perspective. For example, the largest mass extinction has been going on for 65 million years, but which country feels responsible for it? Countries are only accountable to one another, and their politicians only accountable to their electors, rather than to all life under threat. The Embassy of the North Sea highlights this crisis in our democracies – non-human lives are insufficiently and ineffectively represented, jeopardising the lives of future humans and non-humans alike.

The embassy listens to, and acts on behalf of the sea to create a new, fully-fledged political player representing the sea in all its diversity. Direct political representation of the sea and the life within it is necessary. The North Sea owns itself, and we are investigating if it could be seen an independent legal entity.