Ocean colonization 

By: Grace Helmke 

We live in a society based upon development. We develop our minds through education, our beings through spirituality and religion, and our cities through unusual thinking. It is no surprise that unorthodox ideas should emerge, especially when we are faced with issues of increasing population.

Ocean colonization has been proposed as a possible solution to modern issues such as overpopulation and climate change. It is believed to be a sustainable development which could aid in our world’s healing process. But upon looking closer, is this really the case? 

Ocean colonization is the theory of extending society to the water. Settlements would be created either as floating platforms, or as underwear habitats. There is the potential for practically anything in these habitats; buildings could be created atop a floating platform, cattle could be raised, a city could be built on the sea floor with a lid to create atmosphere, buildings could be built with their own systems of oxygen, bubbles suspended in the ocean could be created. Almost anything is possible.

The most popular design plan, and at this point in time most feasible, is the floating structure. The Seasteading Institute is a non-profit think tank promoting the creation of floating ocean cities. They have already finished their crowdfunding campaign and have created the company Blue Frontiers, who actually construct the floating islands.

These platforms are made of reinforced concrete that will last longer than a century. The design was meant to be flexible, so that they can be rearranged to fit the needs of its citizens. On top of these platforms, bungalow villas will be created, accommodating around 2000 residents. But, because of the design’s flexibility, platforms can be added to accommodate for the growing population.

Image taken from: https://www.businessinsider.com/
seasteading-institute-floating-cities-by-2020-2016-3

One of the best regions to implement ocean colonies is the Atlantic Ocean, near the equator. Tsunamis and earthquakes are incredibly rare here, therefore destruction due to natural disasters would be incredibly rare. The water is also very temperate compared to other oceans. This would be appealing because it could create a tourist industry for those seeking a vacation destination or a place of work. 

Another argument which promotes ocean colonization is the pursuit of science. Creating structures in the middle of the ocean would allow scientists to further explore the mystery that is our ocean. It would also force us to come up with long term solutions to water pressure and corrosion.

While this sounds like a great idea, it is only that in theory.

The development of structures in aquatic environments actually disrupts marine ecosystems and destroys the natural environment. The construction process of many of these design plans would involve the demolition of part of the ocean floor. This would destroy vital ecosystems such as coral reefs and kelp forests, which are vital in slowing down the rise in carbon dioxide. These ecosystems are legitimately maintaining a liveable planet. Their destruction would accelerate the rate at which our earth becomes uninhabitable. 

In addition to the demolition of natural habitats, immense amounts of pollution will be created. The construction process is not in an enclosed area. This is the open ocean; debris, chemicals, and gases are bound to enter the water. What this does is kill off animal and plant life, cause eutrophication, and make the area uninhabitable to native wildlife. 

Colonizing the ocean could bring about a lot of good: new industries, new living spaces, advancements in science, and so much more. But something far more important is the evil it can do as well. If these structures were to be implemented, our oceans would continue on a downwards spiral. Life would die off, and our home would be put in danger. 

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