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

World's First Floating City to Combat Rising Sea Levels

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.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Energy
An activist adjusts his hat while protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline during the Native Nations Rise protest on March 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. The KXL has been at the center of a contentious fight for a decade. Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

KXL Pipeline Developer Plans to Start Construction in 2019

Construction on the long-delayed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline is planned for 2019, developer TransCanada said Monday.

"Keystone XL has undergone years of extensive environmental review by federal and state regulators," TransCanada spokesman Matthew John told Omaha World-Herald. "All of these evaluations show that Keystone XL can be built safely and with minimal impact to the environment."

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Artist Ricky Lee Gordon paints his mural, Wings of Paradise, on a building in Long Beach, California. David McNew / Ricky Lee Gordo / Greenpeace

Wings of Paradise: Drawing Attention to Rainforest Destruction

By Alexander Navarro

For too long the story of Indonesian forests has been painted with the darkness of burning rainforests, disappearing species and displaced communities. Greedy palm oil companies, that only seem to be driven by the bottom line whatever the cost to humanity or biodiversity, have played a major role in this.

Keep reading... Show less
Science
The ICESat-2 will point lasers at Earth's ice sheets. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

NASA's New Space Laser to Measure Earth's Changing Ice

NASA will soon activate the "most advanced laser instrument of its kind" to study Earth's changing polar ice.

The incredibly precise Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) is the main feature of the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) that successfully launched into space from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sept. 15.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
The Atlantic wolffish is already at risk from oxygen depletion. Nilfanion, via Wikimedia Commons

Oxygen Loss in Canada Linked to Climate Change

By Tim Radford

Oceanographers have identified an act of slow suffocation, as oxygen loss grows near one of the world's richest fishing grounds, and are linking the change to human-triggered global warming.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Business
A Co-op grocery store location in Shoreditch, London. The Co-op Group / CC BY 2.0

Supermarket Becomes First in UK to Replace Single-Use Plastic Bags With Compostable Alternative

Since 2015, all large stores in England have been required by law to charge five pence for single-use plastic bags in an attempt to reduce plastic pollution.

Now, major UK supermarket chain the Co-op is taking that one step further by phasing out plastic bags entirely and replacing them with compostable alternatives, becoming the first supermarket in the UK to do so, The Guardian reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Tiger: Bernard DuPont (CC BY-SA 2.0); Wolf: John and Karen Hollingsworth /USFWS

Tigers and Wolves: The Reigning Cats and Dogs in Conservation?

By John R. Platt

Do the species most in need of conservation also receive the most scientific research?

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Animals
A tiger in Dhikala, Nepal. Ranjith Kumar 2016 / CC BY-SA 4.0

Wild Tiger Population Nearly Doubles in Nepal

Thanks to dedicated conservation efforts, Nepal now has an estimated 235 wild tigers in the country, a nearly twofold increase from its baseline of 121 individuals in 2009, the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) announced Sunday on the occasion of Nepal's National Conservation Day.

The South Asian nation is now on track to become the first country to double its tiger population as part of WWF's "TX2" goal to double the world's wild tiger population by 2022—the next year of the tiger on the Chinese zodiac.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
North Carolina hog CAFO in Hurricane Florence floodwaters, Sept. 18. Larry Baldwin / Crystal Coast Waterkeeper / Waterkeeper Alliance

In a Warming World, Carolina CAFOs Are a Disaster for Farmers, Animals and Public Health

By Karen Perry Stillerman

In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, I've joined millions who've watched with horror as the Carolinas have been inundated with floodwaters and worried about the various hazards those waters can contain. We've seen heavy metal-laden coal ash spills, a nuclear plant go on alert (thankfully without incident), and sewage treatment plants get swamped. But the biggest and most widely reported hazard associated with Florence appears to be the hog waste that is spilling from many of the state's thousands of CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations), and which threatens lasting havoc on public health and the local economy.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!