Climate change: Floating islands may soon be a reality
AUSTRALIAN housing prices getting you down? Good news! This glamorous floating paradise is coming soon to an ocean near you.
Gavin [email protected]
news.com.auMay 23, 201810:58pm
AUSTRALIAN house prices getting you down? Want a change of government? Grossed out by our new $10 bills?
Maybe you should consider moving to this modern infrastructural paradise, soon to be planted in the middle of the ocean according to its proponents.
It’s long been considered nothing but science fiction, but the world’s very first “floating” city is set to launch in a few years, less than 8000 kilometres from the Australian coast.
The Seasteading Institute, a non-profit San Francisco-based organisation, has been working on the project with the government of French Polynesia since early 2017.
The institute, co-founded by billionaire Peter Thiel, has an ambitious plan to build 300 houses on an island which will be independently governed and use its own unique cryptocurrency.
The floating structures would feature healthcare, medical research facilities and aquaculture farms.
The pilot island is expected to be completed by 2022 and will cost around $US50 million.
“There is significance to this project being trialled in the Polynesian Islands. This is the region where land is resting on coral and will disappear with rising sea levels,” political scientist Nathalie Mezza-Garcia told CNBC.
“If you don’t want to live under a particular government, people will be able to just take their house and float away to another island.”
The city is also seen as an answer to rising sea levels. She said it could one day house refugees displaced by climate change — a view echoed by Seasteading Institute president Joe Quirk.
“We will be living on the oceans long before we live on Mars,” he told Business Insider. “Floating islands solve two of the biggest problems in the world: Sea level change and the lack of start-up innovation in governance.”
The whole point of the island is to encourage sustainability and give power to its residents. If all goes well, its houses could feature roofs made of bamboo and coconut fibre, and recycled materials.
It may sound far-fetched, but Quirk said he can see these tiny floating sub-cities catching on. “I want to see floating cities by 2050, thousands of them hopefully, each of them offering different ways of governance,” he told the New York Times last year. “The more people moving among them, the more choices we’ll have and the more likely it is we can have peace prosperity and innovation.”
Seasteading is not a brand new concept. Use of the term dates back to 1981, when sailor Ken Neumeyer wrote a book called “Sailing the Farm”, which discussed sustainable living on a boat.
The Seasteading Institute was set up a decade ago, under the notion that it would one day become a viable option.
In 2010, a prototype was planned for San Francisco Bay, but it didn’t take off.
There may be a few more years yet until we see this one play out, but for now, we’ll just enjoy the idyllic photos from our depressing work desks.