Plastic Island

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s a massive floating plastic island of sustainability!

It has been a while since I have graced this blog with my presence- my apologies, hopefully I can make it up to you (or at least to my boss).

A while ago I wrote about my Enviro class that did a mock Conference of Parties on Climate Change and mentioned that my group represented the Maldives, a small island nation that is well… doomed, in short. The inhabitants are already experiencing frequent flooding in most areas, the reserves of fresh water are dwindling and severe climatic events, etc. The result will be a population of climate refugees that will seek somewhere to go in the near future (the island is expected to be the first nation made uninhabitable by climate change because on average the elevation is only 1.5m above sea level).

Our group came up with multiple solutions but my personal favourite was built off the idea that they could buy new real estate in another country and move their nation and population there, which would undoubtedly cause much social upheaval but potentially be easier in terms of maintaining identity if the civilization was adequately kept intact. I’m no sociologist, anthropologist, etc. but it makes sense to me anyways… other than the issue of finding some real estate. Who the heck would be up for giving a piece of their land away, in spite of how sparsely populated or much money they received?

Solution! I am not sure how legit this is but a Netherlands architecture group has this scheme to create an island out of all that plastic floating around in the ocean. My non-ENV/GEG friends can learn about this astounding floating gyre of plastic here. WHIM architecture suggests the development of this plastic into an island in the North Pacific Gyre, north-east of Hawaii and has achieved a grant for research.

Intriguing, if it works maybe it could house them Maldivians I got so worked up over last semester. I kind of think that we might have to beef up our plastics recycling program if this is going to work.

See plastic island proposal.

~merissa - campus sustainability coordinator
photo credit - http://www.protothema.gr

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