This is a floating garden in Bangladesh. Ever since the people in this region could remember they have been dealing with floods. As a result, in time some successful methods of coping had survived natural selection. That is, their floating gardens. Those platfroms provide people with a flood-safe source of food as well as refuge “ground” for when their land is under water. Although they won’t provide a secure future should the sea level increase permanently or the flooding becomes more violent, these floating gardens are quite an elegant starting platform to start from. To adapt to climate change, it’s probably time we start thinking more about how these examples can inspire solutions for ourselves.
To tie in to part 1, let’s consider this: can we build houses on big sturdy trees that can withstand the ocean? When the sea reclaims our continents, here’s something that will happen: the encroached upon land will become similar to salt marshes. The soil will be saltier and probably flooded with salty salty water. Of course, we can always build up. But relying on good old steel and concrete can have certain shortcomings: they can rust away and break apart; plus concrete and steel are expensive (both money- and environment-wise). Here’s the big idea: what if we use trees that are salt-resistant as the foundation instead? Imagine Waterworld meets an elf village, with scientific knowledge of large-scale construction using big old trees in the backgroud.
Buildings and trees have had a negating effect on each other in the past. We cut down forests for our cities, and our walls get cracked when a tree root grows underneath. Old enemies can be future allies, giving piggy backs for each other. Perhaps it’s time for our cities to hop on them trees.