Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

World's First Floating City to Combat Rising Sea Levels

Popular
A "floating city" like this could be built off the coast of French Polynesia. Photo credit: YouTube/seasteading

Sea level rise is an increasing threat to low-lying island nations around the world. Many islands in French Polynesia could lose their coastlines or even disappear due to global warming.

In an effort to adapt to climate change, French Polynesian government officials signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" with San Francisco's Seasteading Institute to jumpstart the development of the world's first self-sufficient floating city.

"Our venture is poised to launch a seasteading industry that will provide environmental resiliency to the millions of people threatened by rising sea levels, provide economic opportunities to people in remote and economically deprived environments, and provide humanity with new opportunities for organizing societies and governments," Seasteading Institute Executive Director Randolph Hencken wrote in a blog post about the agreement signed on Jan. 13.

As described by Ensia, the Seasteading Institute has worked to establish independent city-states in the open ocean since 2008. According to a 2013 survey administered by institute, more than 1,000 people expressed interest in moving to these floating cities.

This vision, however, has its critics, who have described the idea as economically unfeasible "techie island fantasy." Additionally, the project was once attached to controversial Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who threw in around $1.7 million into the concept in 2008, envisioning it as "a sort of libertarian utopia." Thiel, however, is no longer involved.

Even if some consider the idea far-fetched, seasteading has taken a major step in becoming reality. Now that an agreement has been signed, the next step is for the French Polynesian government and the Seasteading Institute to establish a legal structure for these "seazones" to have a "special governing framework" by the end of 2017. Site-specific environmental studies and economic impact studies will also need to be conducted.

Reason.com has posted a copy of the memorandum on its website. "The government of French Polynesia recognizes that the rising waters threaten its lands, its inhabitants and their precious way of life," the document states. "The Government of French Polynesia publicly committed to 'make every effort to preserve the Polynesian natural and cultural heritage to become a global showcase of sustainable development.'"

The memorandum touts that the project "will bring new technologies, new research horizons and new economic activities to French Polynesia."

"The Seasteading Institute's project is an opportunity to develop new living spaces on the sea and offers the possibility of multiplying this type of sustainable habitats in other places," it states. "It opens the capability of gaining new living spaces for countries threatened by rising water levels, overpopulation, or other dangerous phenomena."

While the exact location and construction details were not revealed, the seastead will consist of innovative floating platforms and will utilize renewable energy resources. The video below shows how solar arrays and wave-driven turbines will power the man-made floating city.

If everything goes to plan, construction will start in 2019.

Hencken told Huffington Post that once it's constructed, the floating city can be a major site for oceanographic and climate resilience research and implementation, including experiments with wave and tidal energy, combatting rising ocean heat and acidification, as well as developing new ways to trap atmospheric carbon on the sea floor.

"The possibilities are endless," Hencken said.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana has been converted to a 1,000-bed field hospital for coronavirus patients to alleviate stress on local hospitals. Chris Graythen / Getty Images

An area in Louisiana whose predominantly black and brown residents are hard-hit by health problems from industry overdevelopment is experiencing one of the highest death rates from coronavirus of any county in the United States.

Read More Show Less
A woman lies in bed with the flu. marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A central player in the fight against the novel coronavirus is our immune system. It protects us against the invader and can even be helpful for its therapy. But sometimes it can turn against us.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Several flower species, including the orchid, can recover quickly from severe injury, scientists have found. cunfek / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Calling someone a delicate flower may not sting like it used to, according to new research. Scientists have found that many delicate flowers are actually remarkably hearty and able to bounce back from severe injury.

Read More Show Less
A Boeing 727 flies over approach lights with a trail of black-smoke from the engines on April 9, 2018. aviation-images.com / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

With global air travel at a near standstill, the airline industry is looking to rewrite the rules it agreed to tackle global emissions. The Guardian reports that the airline is billing it as a matter of survival, while environmental activists are accusing the industry of trying to dodge their obligations.

Read More Show Less
A National Guard member works on election day at a polling location on April 7, 2020 in Madison, Wisconsin. Andy Manis / Getty Images.

ByJulia Baumel

The outbreak of COVID-19 across the U.S. has touched every facet of our society, and our democracy has been no exception.

Read More Show Less