Dryland: Artificial Islands as New Oceanscapes

by Fabrizio Bozzato


Climate change induced sea level rise now threatens to redraw the physical geographical map of  the world, radically altering coastlines and creating new ocean areas. Not since the submersion of the  legendary Atlantis has the world witnessed the actual physical disappearance of a state. The extreme  vulnerability of low-lying coastal areas and islands to sea encroachment is now notorious, with the  most serious threat being to the continued viability and actual existence of island states such as Tuvalu,  Kiribati and the Marshall Islands. Among the likely scenarios for some of these vanishing islands  countries in the course of the next century, there is the possibility that, by relocating their populations  on artificial islands, they could continue having some sort of status analogous to statehood even if  they were to lose all territory. As some political leaders in the Pacific Islands Region have already  suggested, such man-made structures could become alternative human habitats for landless island  peoples. This paper argues that the idea of using artificial islands as new national territories and / or  futuristic human habitats is noteworthy, and yet to be taken under consideration by both the scientific  and political communities.

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