Climate Refugee Zone: Antarctic Coast

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by XCV330, Jul 25, 2020.

  1. XCV330

    XCV330 Premium Member

    Sep 24, 2017
    Just an idea I've had in my head and with nowhere else to throw it, here goes:

    There are going to be climate refugees in increasing numbers. The kind of backlash we've seen to unchecked immigration is nothing compared to what it will become. I am not debating the ethics of that decision. It will happen.

    What if a voluntary homeland for the homeless was created on the last true wilderness on earth, Antarctica? Right now it is protected from resource utilization and settlement by treaty but with an entirely continent barely guarded and almost unnoticed, at some point that real estate is going to look good for people with a few insulated shipping containers and solar panels. Could they make it? I wouldn't rule the odds out, but there would be massive losses while these little hydroponic fiefdoms got sorted out. And at most we're talking a few thousand people, a speck on a drop in a bucket, waiting to be rounded up by government patrols or the first natural disaster to kill them off.

    But a UN mandate allowed for a city, one city to be prefabbed on the coast, some real good could be done. Consider that as Antarctica is a desert, it does lend itself well to solar power generation. There is enough ice for melt water to provide drinking and hydroponic needs. The panels would need to be cleaned and maintained but that in itself would be valuable work that would need filling. Over time food necessities would have to be handed en-situ, as would education, governance and every other function of a city state. Antarctica is not a continent where the homesteading isolated colony dream is either workable or should it be. But containing human activities to a necessary minimum as a kind of space-settlement on land.

    Why it might work:

    Climate: Antartica is cold, but not as cold as Mars. It has breathable (and very clean) air, and humans have been living there year round now for decades, though in a non sustainable manner. It is much easier and cheaper to build there and for there than, say, for undersea environments, seasteading, or off-world settlment.

    Political: While multiple nations have territorial claims to Antartica none of them are enforced nor can they be, allowing for modification to the current treaty on this special case. The success or failure of the first city could provide a roadmap to future Antarctican communities if it were found to have little negative impact to the environment. Ultimately however, this must not be thought of as a refigee camp or temporary solution but a future self governening democratic city state.

    Resources: This is a negative and one for which I do not see an easy solution. Unlike space settlements, or for that matter the sea floor, Antarctica cannot be subjected to resource stripping. This does leave these hypothetical settlements dependent on outside sources for physical resources. While this is not necessarily a hindrance, as other communities have been able to thrive without much in the way of local minerals, such as Venice or Singapore, Antarticans would eventually need something to trade with. What that might be or how it could be managed is something for a lot of discussion.

    Just throwing this out there as a discussion.
  2. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 22, 2010
    Now I have heard it said that there was a plan to relocate ice to the interior.

    I want to see oil derricks spaced out from the tip of South America to the Antarctic spur that seems to reach out to it.

    Wind and wave power would be great—and over time I can see rails.

    I have seen maps of continents with higher or lower sea levels—but Africa seems largely unaffected compared to other places.