Kiribati President To Build Floating ‘Lily-Pad’ Cities To Save Pacific Islands’ Inhabitants From Rising Sea

By Philip Ross on September 16, 2013 3:10 PM EDT

island nation
Kiribati is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean. It is made up of 32 low-lying atolls. It’s 100,000 inhabitants are threatened by rising sea levels brought on by climate change. (Photo: Flickr/ravilacoya)

Kiribati, a tropical island nation located in the center of the Pacific Ocean, is sinking. As is happening with many low-lying nations all over the globe, Kiribati is being inundated by rising sea levels brought on by climate change. According to National Post, Kiribati's highest point is just 6 feet above sea level.

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To save the island nation of over 100,000 inhabitants from rising sea water, Kiribati's president Anote Tong has devised a plan: Make the nation rise with it. Tong wants to turn Kiribati into a state of floating "lily-pad" cities. The president is working with Shimizu Corp., a Tokyo-based construction company, to come up with blueprints for the world's first floating country.

"The idea behind the Green Float project was first as a solution to the problem of a rapidly growing human population or as a city that would be immune to earthquakes and tsunami," project creator Masayuki Takeuchi told the Telegraph. "But we quickly realized that it could save islands from rising sea levels. We are still at the planning stage, of course, but we believe this is a feasible project."

The floating city would consist of a series of lily-pad-like islands, each with a central tower over half a mile high, or about twice as tall as New York's Empire State Building. The towers, which resemble giant satellites pointed directly towards the sky, would house about 30,000 people each and have space for offices, stores and services. These would be located in the top third of each structure, in the part that fans out like a satellite dish.

The central shaft of each tower would be used to grow fruits and vegetables. The base of each lily-pad island would have residential zones for about 10,000 people, as well as forests, beaches, arable land and port facilities. Each floating oasis would be secured to the ocean floor below (to see artist renditions of the world's first floating country, click here).

Tong has previously warned his people, who have lived on Kiribati's 32 atolls since 3000 BC, to leave the islands behind. "For our people to survive, then they will have to migrate," Tong said in April. "Either we can wait for the time when we have to move people en masse or we can prepare them - beginning from now."

Could a country really be built to float on top of the Pacific Ocean? At this point, it still seems farfetched. For one, the price of creating a floating city is about $505 billion, according to MSN. That alone is certainly a roadblock to the project's success.

Read more from iScience Times:

Global Warming Affects Polar Ice Caps: New Shipping Routes To Be Created As Melting Continues

Floating Nuclear Plant: Is Russian Energy Ship Safe?

Leaked UN Global Warming Report Says Scientists Are 95 Percent Sure Climate Change Is Manmade

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