Published on March 7th, 2010 | by Susan Kraemer12
The Maldives Buys a New Island – That Floats
Sea level rise creates new business opportunity and “green jobs” that we’ll see more of, borne from the effects of climate change, as sea levels rise. The first floating island has just been commissioned this week by the sinking island nation of the Maldives, from Dutch Docklands, whose past work includes part of the artificial islands comprising The World off the coast of Dubai.
Humanity is faced with possibly its worst problem in all of its history, in climate change. It takes political imagination to make the changes needed to turn around the disaster bearing down on us. Half of us have an IQ under 100, so making this change and convincing all of us that we can do it (by switching to renewable energy sources) will be very much harder than just inventing fire was (perhaps our last comparable climate change challenge).
Perhaps we can’t save ourselves, and adaptation may be our only chance. Dutch Docklands is predicated on solving one result of this failure; rising sea levels – by inventing and engineering floating islands. Like inventing imitation glaciers, it’s an example of the kind of lateral thinking that we’ll need more of.
The company specializes in solutions for places where sea levels are rising, land is sinking or where sand shortages make traditional erosion control reclamation prohibitively expensive. Underneath one of its artificial islands, marine life can adhere to the floating platform.
The floating island can be moored to land so that it is somewhat stable. In very rough seas (like when there’s cyclones) there would be some movement but most of the time it would feel like a solid island, not like being on a boat covered in sand.
The beach is completely floating and just as comfortable as a normal beach, ecologically sound and erosion free. Under the sand would be a foam and concrete platform, gradually sloping down underwater, that to some extent cups the sand in the container shape. The company tries to use methods and procedures that reduce impact on underwater life and minimize changes to coastal morphology.
Dutch Docklands claims to be able to retain the natural interconnection between tides, waves and current intact while creating miles of new beaches for permanent coastal expansion.
The CEO Paul van de Camp moved to Dubai from Holland because of the “anything is possible” spirit in Dubai, where he engineered the Australasian section of The World. The design for the floating beach design is essentially the same as for some new floating islands Dutch Docklands is building to indulge the sheik in Dubai, in the shape of a rather cryptic phrase in Arabic.
By the end of the century, quite a bit of Dubai itself will also be underwater due to rising sea levels as a result of climate change. The floating island commissioned by the Sheik should ensure the survival of a home for the 22nd century princely offspring.
But for the Maldives, replacing its land is already a matter of life or death.
Image: Dutch Docklands
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