The U.S. is turning a significant portion of Micronesia into live fire and bombing ranges to train Marines. It has plans to completely take over one island for this purpose and has control of two-thirds of another island.
If people in the U.S. mainland understood the military’s plan for Micronesia they might be alarmed. But this is really happening to U.S. citizens living in America’s territories.
The last inhabited island on the Virginia side of the Chesapeake Bay covers barely 740 acres of marsh and sand, 1/3 of the area it had when it was first mapped in the 1850s. Tangier suffers from the dual onslaught of erosion and sea level rise. In a good year, the island loses 7 to 9 acres of land, while the westernmost beach recedes 4 meters, exposing homes, gardens, and even graves to the Chesapeake’s unrelenting waves. The town, situated on three sandy ridges, rises to a high point just 1.2 meters above sea level. As salt water incursion and erosion deplete trees and other vegetation, erosion will increase. With a conservative projection of mean sea level rise of 4.4 millimeters per year for the southern Chesapeake Bay, the highest point in town, if it manages to stave off the inexorable erosion, would be completely underwater in 270 years. Tangier will be uninhabitable centuries before that.
Crab shacks in the main harbor. Photo by author.
The Chesapeake Bay and mid-Atlantic coastlines are hot spots for climate change, expecting greater than average sea level rise and more frequent and intense storms. Though the residents of the conservative community on tangier are skeptical, the evidence for human-induced climate change’s impact on the island and the effect of sea level rise is undeniable. Intensifying storms and more dramatic temperature shifts have and will continue to exacerbate erosion. Many residents believe that, had Hurricane Sandy made landfall over the Chesapeake Bay, rather than further north, Tangier would already be largely abandoned. Even the glancing blow from Sandy left significant damage in its wake.
One big storm could spell the end for this 350-year-old community. Read More
On January 1, 2016, the Southern Fried Science central server began uploading blog posts apparently circa 2041. Due to a related corruption of the contemporary database, we are, at this time, unable to remove these Field Notes from the Future or prevent the uploading of additional posts. Please enjoy this glimpse into the ocean future while we attempt to rectify the situation.
The first floating city, Aquapolis, set sail in 1975 at the Okinawa World Expo. Aquapolis was intended to be a symbol of the infinite possibilities of life at sea. It would herald a new era of seasteading and create permanent colonies, even nations, that existed exclusively at sea.
Aquapolis was sold for scrap in 2000, her vision unrealized.
From Sealand to the Seasteading Institute, from the Republic of Rockall to China’s Reclaimed Island Territories to the tech pirates harbored aboard The World, the dream of a micro-nation at sea renews itself with every new generation.
It shouldn’t be surprising that catastrophic sea level rise was the catalyst that finally ignited the first self-sufficient floating colonies. This tiny island chain, none more than a meter above sea level, had two advantages: The Maldives had already invested in developing floating platforms to expand their territory and develop novel luxury hotels and the Maldives were rich. Read More