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Kiribati, a nation ripe for seasteading.

Home Forums Community IRL GTGs Kiribati, a nation ripe for seasteading.

This topic contains 15 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of OceanPhoenix OceanPhoenix 3 years ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
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  • #1577
    Avatar of elspru
    elspru
    Participant

    kiribati flag

    Kiribati: WYN Seasteading candidate.

    I mind-sensed Kiribati in my mind, many a time, months ago, and just recently.

    wikipedia

    Kiribati is expected to be the first country in which all land territory disappears due to global climate change. In June 2008, the Kiribati president Anote Tong said that the country has reached “the point of no return”; he added: “To plan for the day when you no longer have a country is indeed painful but I think we have to do that.”

    wikipedia quote

    Clearly they could be interested in seasteading solutions,

    both submersible buildings near the water-line, and floating solutions.

    Hexadecimally I like how they have 32 islands,

    Seasteadingly I like how they have 3.5 million square kilometers of ocean, for 100,000 people, that’s 35km per person.

    Symbolically I love the flag, the albatross, the waves, the sun, the dawn.

    Climate is equatorial, so mild and warm, sometimes hot.

    Also Kiribati is longitudinally on the dateline,

    so can sail to tommorrow or yesterday lol,

    sailing to Kiribati, is sailing to tomorrow.

    #14737
    Avatar of Winkerson
    Winkerson
    Participant

    Funny I was just mentioning this place in another post. I’d seen them int he news before (they were chair of one of the climate change committees, forget which) and just recently looked up a lot of info about them for one of many attempts at sci-fi novels, this looking for a convenient equatorial location for a particular type of cheap space launch solution that’s about 2500km long (so basically a small country that could be bribed to provide a hospital political and legal environment for what boils down to a 2.5k kilometer 3g acceleration maglev train without actually interfering in the running of it)(because once you gain the ability to routinely launch tonnage into space by the minute, game over, you win, you’re either completely untouchable militarily or if you’re a dick you can easily take over the planet with cheapo kinetic strike platforms and rocket fuel shipped up in bulk for positioning and orbit keeping, not tomention you can use some pretty low power lasers to fry pretty much any missile that raises up above the thickest couple kilometers of atmosphere, once yout ake that particular bit of high ground it only takes a minimal effort to remain the world power, to remain completely in control of it, until technology advances to the point where it’s feasible to cheaply launch large masses without easily detected and destoyed megastructures).

    Kiribati looked about perfect, again funny enough because the launch loop (the solution i was thinking of centering a near future type sci-fi novel around) is on the ocean, and calls for a large floating port (more the mega seasted span than what people are talking about here) to service it, it takes a lot of people or tonnageo f shipping coming in every minute to actually fully utilize its capabilites. And yeah, as worried as the people in Kiribati seem to be about global warming, man made or otherwise, being right on the verge of putting them under the sea with the little mermaid, they would probably love anyone who came around with a plan to put semi-permanent floating structures in their area, and even better to start a business with the goal of making large numbers of these things. Not only would it give them the hope of one day being able to either supplement for loss to rising sea levels with these or expand their population and their industry to currently flooded banks instead of being limited to their small islets, but it would provide a much needed source of jobs. From what I read most of the country’s wealth comes from leasing out their bountiful territorial waters to fishermen and financial aid from Australia and Japan and the US and a few other nations. There are only jobs there for a very small portion of their population (though the JSA is building a space port there, so construction there and later services and maintenance will probably provide a good injection for their economy), with most more or less living off aid and fishing dues, or working in tourism, or just living like they’ve always lived and not involved in the world economy at all (fishing and doing some limited farming, keeping their traditions up, etc). Their situation isn’t dire, I don’t think they have a lot of people starving to death (or at least I found nothing about it) but I would bet their gov’t would love the idea of drawing in some more western capital and technology on top of possibly providing a solution for rising sea levels that doesn’t require them all to eventually move to australia as an exile population (their current plan I believe, though I don’t remember all the details of what I read about them).

    So yeah, as soon as I found this site I thought the same thing, this place would be PERFECT. For building and for seastead habitation, there’s a lot of mostly abandoned islands and sand banks and shallows as well as a lot of depths, plenty of choice and great weather, assuming they were willing to be friendly to seasteaders (assuming in other words that the seasteaders made themselves valuable enough citizens). One major concern I had though; do they produce concrete locally? For any number of steads you’d almost certainly have to ship in your rebar and such (I’m pretty sure there’s no local iron/steel production) and that could be doable, especially depending on what labor costs are, but I think shipping in concrete would be a crippling expense.

    #14763
    Avatar of elspru
    elspru
    Participant

    Winkerson wrote:

    So yeah, as soon as I found this site I thought the same thing, this place would be PERFECT. For building and for seastead habitation, there’s a lot of mostly abandoned islands and sand banks and shallows as well as a lot of depths, plenty of choice and great weather, assuming they were willing to be friendly to seasteaders (assuming in other words that the seasteaders made themselves valuable enough citizens).

    I’m sure if we make materials and build shelters for them, we’d become a highly valued asset.

    One major concern I had though; do they produce concrete locally? For any number of steads you’d almost certainly have to ship in your rebar and such (I’m pretty sure there’s no local iron/steel production) and that could be doable, especially depending on what labor costs are, but I think shipping in concrete would be a crippling expense.

    All the islands have corals and thereby limestone beds, which can be made into cement.

    Banaba island which is the highest island, with the most controversial politics,

    has a phosphate mine, so they would likely be open to having a limestone mine also.

    Of course with cement production also have to grind it to fine powder, and heat it to over 1000C,

    they don’ t have coal, though possibly we could start it on a small scale with renewable energy sources.

    Perhaps some of those solar dishes that focus light, hooked to stirling engines, very reliable.

    Optimally this electric production facility would be on the water, as then the stirling engines could be more-easily water-cooled, increasing their efficiency,

    Technically as soon as we start producing products like electricity and cement we should start getting popular.

    In terms of iron/steel we could probably salvage from steel barges and such.

    Another thing is that Banaba has exceedingly good relations with Fiji,

    so likely trade should be easy, and Fiji has both rebar and cement.

    Iron is one of the most common elements in the periodic table, so if we look hard enough, likely we’ll find a nearby source. There are some underwater mountains nearby, perhaps they have geysers.

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    #14786
    Avatar of Winkerson
    Winkerson
    Participant

    No doubt at the very least there are probably a good number of sunken iron shipments nearby, if you could get some experienced salvagers in your crew. I don’t think they usually bother much with things like iron (after all, there’s copper and tin and other metals that can draw a few bucks) but it might be worth it when you consider the cost of shipping it in otherwise.

    I always loved the concentrated solar option, never understood why people use those inefficient panels. I assume you mean focusing it on a boiler to boil water in a steam generator, which from what I understand is extremely efficient (only real place for energy loss if you think about it is in your turbine, because you can get tons of reflectors in the high ninety percentile range as far as I know, even cheap mylar would work though it’d probably turn to dust in salt spray). Also there are some obvious benefits to doing it on the ocean if you can come up with a smart platform that’s very stable at least when you don’t have bad weather, perhaps floatation and counterweights that dwarf the weight of the reflector bobbing the tower.

    I’ve also read of a system somewhere that might be economical once you’ve grown a bit, basically just a solar cooling system on a large scale – a heat trapping/reflecting chimney shaped sort of like a rocket funnel is placed above the ocean, with a turbine in the neck. Pretty simple operation, you heat the air and it rises and it heats and speeds up more as it’s constricted towards the neck, turning the turbine. I believe it is even supposed to produce a lot of condensation along the inner walls of the funnels, which could be collected. Not quite sure what the system is called though.

    I love the sound of this place. Another concern though is with them making so much of their money off renting/contracting out their territorial fishing waters (at laest according to wiki which is admittedly only a semi-reliable source) might there not be some problems there, would there be a necessity to rent the fishing rights for an area around your seastead immediately or once you got enough people to be a serious drag on the fishing (assuming you didn’t get farming set up good, I can’t imagine why anyone would object to you fish farming except insomuch as you are taking up an area that would have otherwise hosted normal fish, but you’re getting much higher densities so that shouldn’t be expensive compared to what the commercial fishers are paying).

    Also yeah, I agree with a lot of your points. Especially if you set up near one of the more lightly inhabited islands they might really appreciate any electricity you can produce, and even if they aren’t interested in steads for themselves they’d probably appreciate someone producing cheap concrete prefab wall segments for strong buildings, and it would be easy to diversify into that both to get a little supportive cash and to befriend the locals. And they’d probably love someone making cheap prefab floating dock and breakwater sections as well, from what I read a ton of their population makes much of their sustenance fishing (makes sense).

    Another question, do you know much about the ammonia/cold water power plants? Supposedly best suited for the tropics, but if you’ve got a link I’d love to see an actual scientific article or study on the plants, their feasibility, their expense, how much of them could be cobbled together from cheap materials, etc. From what I’ve read they seem like a fan freaking tastic source of seasteading power, because at the same time you’re producing power you can also be bringing up and straining silt and sand from the bottom if you’re in shallow waters, and I can only imagine ocean silt has to have all kinds of useful goodies in it, would be nice for it to be a sideaffect of your power plant.

    Thanks for your answers btw :D I know I’ve been doing a lot of walls of text, but I just freaking love this idea. Never knew how close seasteading was to being possible until I saw elmer’s posts.

    #14790
    Avatar of SimianAngel
    SimianAngel
    Participant

    If the ammonia cold water power plants you are talking about are OTEC (ocean thermal energy conversion) plants then they need deep water. The deep water used is cold, and is used to condense steam after it turns a turbine. Since OTECs are very inefficient, they must pump up a vast amount of water for the electricity they generate. Luckily, this water is very useful for other things.

    I don’t know how easy it would be to cobble one together. If I remember correctly the technology hasn’t taken off because the prototypes that get built and tested keep sinking. There are some advantages to shore based power plants, such as stability and reduced need for underwater power transmission. If deep water is close to the shore, then I think this technology is very promising.

    A major reason that there are still uninhabited islands to this day is lack of fresh water. With OTEC we’d have that covered, as well as opportunities for fish farming, chilled-soil agriculture, air conditioning, mineral extraction, and the possibility of green fuel production.

    #14795
    Avatar of SimianAngel
    SimianAngel
    Participant

    Winkerson, you’ve piqued my interest with your story idea. If you need anyone to bounce ideas off of I’m down. This launch system, would it be a Lofstrom loop? I like the idea, but things like the need for a large section to be 80 km tall scare me off. Another way to do it would be a maglev assisted launch which would rely on power beamed via laser or microwave once the payload is airborne. Apparently NASA is looking into this type of approach. I guess the lasers would focus on a heat exchanger that’d vaporize liquid hydrogen. My favorite ideas for launch systems are the SpaceShaft concept for launching people an structures, and for other payloads hydrogen gas guns with maybe a laser powered upper stage instead of rocket.
    There’s this interesting startup company called QuickLaunch, I believe, that wants to eventually build kilometer long hydrogen gas gun at sea. They would use a small rocket on the upper stage to compensate for drag loss and to circularize the orbit. Of course lasers would be much more interesting.

    Back to the subject of Kiribati, anyone know if there’s deep waters near those islands?

    #14806
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    When you talk about Kiribati you really have to be specific about which islands you mean, since the “nation” is scattered across a huge area and composes many small islands.

    If you focus on Kiritimati, or Christmas Island (which composes more than 2/3 of the total land mass of Kiribati), then the sea level drops off very quickly. Just 20km from its shore you are already in 2500-3000m deep waters.

    If you are talking about Banaba, the western-most piece of land (and only actual island) in the chain, then the waters drop off to over 2000m only 5km or so from shore.

    Even the atoll of Tarawa, where the capital is, has ocean floor depths of over 2000m just 10km or so from shore.

    So there lots of very deep waters around there.

    Kiribati is one of my possible locations for armed invasion to create a seasteading nation, Kiritimati especially. The nation is dirt poor and the various atolls have very small populations with negligible police forces and no military at all. There are many small, unpaved airports scattered around the islands that nobody even monitors. You could easily grab one of the bigger atolls, or even one of the smaller uninhabited ones, without any problem.

    The only issue is the close ties Kiribati has with other developed nations like Japan and Australia. It’s even a member of the UN for all that’s worth. Still, it’s a tempting thought…

    #14819
    Avatar of Winkerson
    Winkerson
    Participant

    Probably shouldn’t be talking about armed invasions on the forums, especially against a nation which could be a great opportunity for seasteading, and who Japan would defend w/ more force than you’re likely to be able to summon. Kiribati gives them good prices on their fishing grounds from what I understand, I don’t know how essential they are to the Japanese food supply, but I’d imagine its enough to merit a few high altitude bombers or cruise missiles.

    The same aspects which seem to make it appeal to that route, however, make it a great potential partner. Seasteading coudl remove a lot of the nation’s stumbling blocks, and you just described a lot of square kilometers of shallows compared to how much actual land they have, not to mention there are plenty of seasteading options in deep water as well. I haven’t google earthed them lately, and i’m in the middle of some ersearch, but I also believe there are a couple banks or seamounts that are largish areas under a thousand meters inside the island group aren’t there?

    But yeah, say someone’s seriously planning on starting a seasteading outfit, perhaps someone with a bit of cash decides to fund ellmer to build him a couple submersible apartment complexes and kelp/fish processing factories and power plant platforms for a startup community, and they’re approaching the Kiribati gov’t about locating it in their waters, remaining autonomy and having a mutually beneficial relationship and whatnot. I’d imagine the leaders of kiribati know how to google too, and when they look up seasteading, maybe a mix of “seasteading” and “Kiribati” and start doing a little research…. lol, it wouldn’t do for them to see someone casually talking about taking ‘em over, though the likelyhood of that is tiny and even if they did they probably wouldn’t take it seriously, but you never know they might be feeling flighty at the time and decide that seasteaders have their eyes on the Kiribati island group as an ideal conquest.

    #14823
    Avatar of Shouri
    Shouri
    Participant

    JSA canceled it’s project like ages ago.. and rather than Kiribati i’d go for Tokelau. Tokelau has a gdp of 1-2m $s since their livelihood would be effected positively by the existence of seasteads i am sure they can be convinced on this subject Kiribati on the other hand has GDP of 620m $(ppp),150m $(nominal). And they have hundreds of millions of dollars in reserve which makes. Which country would be easier to convince i wonder…

    #14890
    Avatar of elspru
    elspru
    Participant

    Shouri wrote:

    JSA canceled it’s project like ages ago.. and rather than Kiribati i’d go for Tokelau. Tokelau has a gdp of 1-2m $s since their livelihood would be effected positively by the existence of seasteads i am sure they can be convinced on this subject Kiribati on the other hand has GDP of 620m $(ppp),150m $(nominal). And they have hundreds of millions of dollars in reserve which makes. Which country would be easier to convince i wonder…

    Tokelau is a territory of New Zealand, which has a GDP of 117Billion, and seems closer to hurricane zones.

    Also consider we aren’t brining money to the table, so we couldn’t sway them with bribes and such.

    Though yes, there are many smallish island nations to which we could be of sufficient benefit to have negotiations.

    Kiribati is relatively independent and has some of it’s own fiscal resources which it can invest in seastead development.

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    #14916
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    Winkerson wrote:
    Probably shouldn’t be talking about armed invasions on the forums, especially against a nation which could be a great opportunity for seasteading, and who Japan would defend w/ more force than you’re likely to be able to summon. Kiribati gives them good prices on their fishing grounds from what I understand, I don’t know how essential they are to the Japanese food supply, but I’d imagine its enough to merit a few high altitude bombers or cruise missiles.

    Where to begin? First, Japan doesn’t have a military so they can’t do anything to you. But your point is taken, which is why I mentioned Kiribati’s existing friendships as a negative. But there is no reason why we couldn’t continue all existing treaties and contracts…we don’t need the fishing grounds anyway. So there is a good chance we could take one of the major islands/atolls and not be bothered.

    Winkerson wrote:
    make it a great potential partner.

    Yeah, just like a lot of very rich people and international corporations thought that Switzerland would be a great banking partner and keep their records private. All it took was the US applying a little pressure and they caved, and the result is the U.S.-Swiss Income Tax Convention.

    You are going to build the foundation of seasteading on the back of some agreement worked out with the president who won’t even be in office longer than 12 years? No thanks. Plus they could cancel any agreement in a second if they get pressure from any of their existing parnters like New Zealand or Japan. I’m far more afraid of Japan’s economic weapons than I am their “cruise missles”.

    Now, if we had our own nation we could create our own registry and give all seasteads, regardless of their infrastructure or form of government, access to our flag of convenience. And we could do it for a small sum.

    Check out the Viva la revolution! thread. I really think that it would be a viable option for creating completely independant seasteads that do not need to compromise and fly the flag of some other existing nation.

    Winkerson wrote:
    I’d imagine the leaders of kiribati know how to google too,

    I don’t think they have Google. I think this is the height of their internet tech…

    #14964
    Avatar of Shouri
    Shouri
    Participant

    Tokelau is soon to be formally independent from New Zealand, they are already working on the legal framework elspru. And when i canditated such a location i didn’t think once about you and me going there to start this process but someone with required capital, though i might be able to acquire some capital enough for such project in not so far future i hope. Smith, Japan actually has a military, quite established one actually, even though they didn’t have a military for two and a half decades they did quite a good job to recreate their military in last few years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_Self-Defense_Forces even though it’s branded self-defence force it’s naval and aerial intervention ability is more than what you would expect from a country that didn’t have a military for so many years, they have some military facilities(airports, naval ports) on islands scattered around western pacific(you might say that they can’t deploy their forces outside their territory bu they can/did/will). I can assure you invasion, isn’t an option anymore at this point in our history for a non-governmental organization, only way to invade a pacific island is to do it with money. Besides i am sure that pacific islanders would adapt to seasteading far better/faster than us, it’s more fruitful to invade the people on those islands too.

    We need cash and a project that would appeal to islanders which will improve their livelihood and life standards. Compared to Kiribati people, Tokelau people are quite well off, they don’t earn much cash but they don’t really need it, they have better education; their lifestyle, health(mental and physical), and average age proves that liberterian ideals and communist ideals can actually be hybridized effectively in a small community(wheter it can be effective or not on large scales is open to debate…you might think these two ideals are contradicting each other but i think that’s not the case). And since they have such a small population New Zealand doesn’t invest more than she must to these islands, they don’t even have a port, not sewer infrastructure, no medical experts(currently a few atm, only one doctor as far as i know). They can sustain themselves quite well with fruits and fish yet they import most stuff from outside if they were to be acquianted with better way of self sustaining i am sure they would gladly adapt and be thankful for it.

    If we are planning an island-port to start this i still think Tokelau is a good candidate. Though i’d still go for shallow spots in ocean outside of eez and narrow their number down according to their location and resources to find the ideal spot for a semi-permanent (very low mobility) or a permanent base for seasteading activities and perhaps construction. I’d look for geothermal vents+high rainfall or high irradiation+potential seafloor mining candidates…

    All said, i have to agree on Kiribati is also a good place to start off. It doesn’t suit my ideal definition but it is quite a good place, their people is quite friendly too especially if they are convinced that you are the ‘good guy’. Even though our perspective to seasteading is quite different, and that i don’t have clue on the way to his madness( who is more sane is a question that is irrelevant to our subject) i still think that elspru and i think on the same line about many things regarding to seasteading (we name stuff quite differently though).

    Last Note: First we must get some state nation to accept the existence of seasteads to start and spread seasteading, and small island nations are the ‘ideal’ targets where both we and them can mutually benefit from seasteading.

    #15327
    Avatar of George-Wade
    George-Wade
    Participant

    Kiribati President Anote Tong Ponders Floating Island Due To Climate Change

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/07/kiribati-president-anote-tong-floating-island_n_952025.html

    AUCKLAND, New Zealand — The president of the Pacific island nation of Kiribati is so worried about climate change wiping out his country that he’s considering ideas as strange as building a floating island.

    President Anote Tong raised the notion Wednesday on the opening day of a meeting of Pacific leaders in Auckland. Climate change has become a central theme of this year’s Pacific Islands Forum thanks to the presence here of United Nations Secretary-General leader Ban Ki-moon, who has vowed to put the issue at the forefront of the U.N. agenda.

    Ban visited the Solomon Islands and Kiribati before coming to New Zealand and said it only strengthened his view that “something is seriously wrong with our current model of economic development.”

    …..

    #15332
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    Well technically Kiribati wouldn’t have to build a floating island. Even if the ocean levels rise 5m there would still be plenty of shallow areas to build up. The artificial islands wouldn’t have to float…they could easily rest on land that is now submerged. It’s much easier to build that than it is a floating structure of similar size.

    However, what is far more interesting is how the international community will handle the legal issues. If, even at high tide, there is no natural part of Kiribati poking up above the waves and the international community accepts an artificial island built in this shallow area as the sovereign nation of Kiribati…well then they have just legitimized seasteading. At least seasteads built where they are resting on solid land and not floating, like on a seamount.

    Now the problem is time. According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change the most pessimistic “business as usual” scenario has sea levels rising .9m by 2100. While this will be devastating for Kiribati…turning nearly all of their arable land into salt-crusted useless terrain…it won’t submerge them, no matter what their President says:

    “None of the atolls that make up our country are more than two metres above sea level. We will be submerged by the end of the century, as things stand right now,” Tong said at a WED 2008 meeting in Wellington

    At 2m elevation, and assuming that the sea levels rise .9m over a span of 110 years (from 1990 to 2100), Kiribati will not be fully submerged until the year 2234. I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to wait 223 years to see if the international community legitimizes seasteading.

    So I challenge everyone interested in seasteading to do whatever they can to move that day closer. Sell that Prius and buy a Hummer. Replace all your CFL bulbs with good ol’-fashioned energy-gobbling incandencent bulbs…and leave them on 24/7. Eat as many beans as possible and maximize your methane output. We need to increase CO2 emissions as much as we can to bring those sea levels up as fast as we can.

    If we all do our part then maybe we can see Kiribati submerged sooner rather than later.

    #15334
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    Not to bring up stuff from my other thread, but the Kiribati situation goes a long way to disproving the notion that, if we want to create a “seasteading nation”, we can purchase land from an existing country and peacefully secede:

    What he most wanted was to maintain the nation of Kiribati – wherever it might have to go – rather than see its people scattered about the world as climate change refugees.

    When asked whether any other countries had offered land which Kiribati could use as its own, he answers sadly: “Well, isn’t that the question. I think I’ve always appealed to the morality of humanity. And we are challenging humanity to answer that question.”

    He has some suggestions for countries with an island or two at their disposal.

    “Every time I fly to Auckland I see these huge land masses which they think are derelict islands. But we would love to have them. And we would love to have Tasmania, if you would give it to me.” (from a 08Sep2011 NZ Herald article)

    So if existing nations aren’t even willing to part with some dead and desolate outlying islands to save the lives of 100k people and rescue a nation, there’s no way they are giving up any land to a bunch of seasteaders.

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