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Addressing Climate Change Through Floating Cities

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As scientists warn us about the environmental disasters that are likely to occur due to climate change, one organization is taking matters into its own hands in an effort to address the deleterious effects of climate change. The Seasteading Institute, based in California, has secured a deal with the government of French Polynesia to build a city of floating islands in the South Pacific, according to the New York Times.

The institute has raised around $2.5 million from more than 1,000 donors, and work on the islands could start as early as next year, pending environmental and feasibility studies, said Randolph Hencken, the Seasteading Institute’s executive director. According to Hencken, the impetus for building this city of floating islands is to help people who are threatened by rising sea levels brought on by climate change.

Further, the institute hopes to create a nautical version of a special economic zone, and is planning on showcasing innovations in solar power, aquaculture, and ocean-based wind farms, thus making this project not just an exercise in avoiding the effects of climate change, but also, an experiment with multiple forms of clean energy and therefore a way to fight climate change head-on. However, this noble project is likely to cost anywhere between $10 and $50 million, and will house only a few dozen people, according to the Seasteading Institute.

For sure, many hurdles exist, such as how to handle waste management, the potentially very high cost of not only building the islands but also purchasing housing on the islands, not to mention the fact that building housing on the high seas leaves residents at the mercy of corrosive salt water as well as Mother Nature itself.

Additionally, critics cite potential environmental effects as a reason to be very cautious about embarking on such ventures, as well as huge opportunity costs, as the money could be spent on education or health care in many of the world’s poorest countries.

However, any attempts at dealing with climate change are noteworthy, as according to the New York Times, recent climate models predict that the globe’s oceans could rise five to six feet by the year 2100, which would be twice as large as the increase reported by the United Nations in 2013.

Thus, this is not the time to mire ourselves in endless deliberation, as our refusal or inability to act may end up further threatening the planet as well as the livelihoods of potentially billions of people on Earth. Through projects such as building sustainable, self-contained communities on the ocean, we could not only address climate change but also provide much inspiration to people all over the world who are looking to improve their standard of living and experience an entirely new way of life.

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