Let’s talk seriously about Seasteading

I just finished the book Seasteading by Joe Quirk. I highly recommend it. It presents a vision of new floating autonomous cities and tracks the stories of a number of aquapreneurs. After reading it I am convinced that it is not a question of if, but when this vision will manifest. Actually, right now would be a great time to see it all really take off. It is a great idea on so many levels. When you think about our globe taking on 9 billion people by 2050 and all of the climate refugees, the numbers just don’t add up for how we can live sustainably. But what if we could use the space in the oceans? What if 11% of the globe’s population lived at sea? Imagine that in the future we had:

  1. Floating hospitals. Health care tourism is booming and entrepreneurs such has Na’ama Moran have plans to provide revolutionary services of care to patients of all kinds. Floating hospitals could also be able to provide immediate relief to disaster stricken regions.
  2. Hubs of innovation. By necessity, Seasteads need to become resilient and will naturally create novel ways to deliver goods and services. They are by nature a large test bed for research, development and deployment for everything raging from science to sociology. Each seasted will create a community by design and be in a continuous state of learning and improvement.
  3. Self-sustaining communities. Technologies can use both the sun and the power of the oceans can provide sufficient energy. They could also deal with waste. These communities can grow crops hydroponically, and harvest fish and algae. By design, the entire system must mimic nature and be regenerative.
  4. Efficient supply chains. Imagine that ships could stop by and resupply with specific products that are produced on the seasted and more efficiently stocked.  
  5. Autonomous nations. While seasteads can begin as experiments of different nations, over time these communities will grow and be able to create new forms of governance independent of other nation states.
  6. Open to immigrants and impoverished. By design, these new cities will be open to the impoverished and enable upward mobility for workers who are part of it. This will establish unique melting pots that uplift humanity.
  7. Able to manage carbon in the oceans. Each year we add between 12-13 ppm of carbon dioxide to the oceans. When the oceans absorb carbon, they acidify (a major reason for coral reef die off). These data show the unfortunate reality that the carbon pool we’ve been relying on to stop half of our carbon from reaching the atmosphere is no longer working as hard. True drawdown means that in addition to drawing down CO2 from the atmosphere we must drawdown CO2 from the oceans. Through upswelling and growing seaweed, these communities can be on the front lines of addressing the carbon removal challenge and contributing to activating the ocean to become a carbon sink.

So all I ask is that if you haven’t heard about seasteading before that you take it seriously.

If the technology and knowhow were there, why shouldn’t this be a frontier upon which we can lend our ingenuity?


Also published on Medium.

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