Sean Wolf

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Let's create man-made icebergs to help animals to cope with changing conditions in polar ecosystems.

With the increasing speed of ice melt on floating polar masses, the ability for animals to eat, rest, and sleep is diminishing. We can manufacture and deploy large, synthetic "ice" masses to provide some assurance that these animals might enjoy the fulfillment of their basic need to survive.

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    Apr 15 2012: Objection. Do you really think that is resources well spent? I'm not quite sure, but to me it sounds like you're talking about giant landmasses being made synthetically. Even though the name "iceberg" is of Dutch origin, I can't say it shares the same ideas when it comes to creating (reclaiming) land.

    I suppose you're talking about the Polar bears? Because the others aren't really found on ice. Polar foxes live on the Island of Svalbard and get most of their food from only one season of the year, which is the time when all the birds leave their big "Castle Rock" and take their youngsters out for a air dive.

    Same goes for polar bears, 3 of the 4 seasons they have a huge disadvantage already, they survive mostly on the killings of baby seal. Which are laid in so called snow caverns. That is when they, again, get most of their food for the rest of the year.

    So in conclusion, the creation of these ice bergs is going to be an intricate task. You'll have to recreate a whole ecosystem and design it to serve every need. Its a noble idea, but delirious.
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      Apr 16 2012: Kevin

      What can be done? Genetic preservation like the seed bank? both Seans idea and your post highlights a major possible extinction crisis on land and the oceans,you guys are very intelligent men,in your opinions or actually what would you guys do if you had the planets resources behind you?
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        Apr 16 2012: A problem indeed, but even with all the worlds resources the things we can do are limited. If we can't even feed the poorest among us and the take good care of the elderly, who are we to play judge for non-human animals. Who are we god?

        Even if I had all the resources, with current technology I would still not be able to achieve my goals. Lets first fix this energy crisis with renewable energy before anything else. If we can gain unlimited energy, or harness even 20% of the worlds energy the world could truly move forward.
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        Apr 16 2012: Fusion, people have been saying for the last 40 years that within 20 years we will have fusion, maybe even longer. The rest needs endless amounts of money for infrastructure to supply the world needs, which requires money we don't have. However, we can always go bankrupt and topple the system if that means a better world.

        All these projects are just a new form of megalomania caused by paranoia with insufficient funds. I do not say that these ideas are impossible, improbable yes, but then again for such approaches you need money. To buy what? Resources; labor, energy and raw materials. Over ambitious projects like these are not only a drain on the world economy, but also its destruction if they turn out to be empty promises.

        If you really want a wake up call I'd say read the OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050. A sober wake up call (though I found some of the equations a bit vague, as they didn't focus much on exponential growth) for most who read it. Projects are already being financed, but all out of self-interest.

        Self-interest is what drives innovation forward, not some philanthropic design for the next generation (sadly). In my opinion we have to focus better relations between research and business, create better organized clusters where there is already a capacity of expertise. And educate the new generation of scientists not only on today's models, but also with a focus for new NEEDED industry/infrastructure. In the Western world it is possible to implement these decisions, because we already have high-end infrastructure (water purification, energy grids) to lay a foundation for such projects. Something companies seem to forget when it comes to long-term growth and outsourcing.
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        Apr 16 2012: If I had all of the planets resources behind me? Find a way to convert inland wastes into fertile land and create renewable fresh water sources more effectively with the use of organic reclamation methods. I'm not talking about active desert ecosystems. I'm talking about actual wastelands, void of any recognizable form of life. Eventually, all the devices and resources we consume to create the structures built to capture that 'renewable' energy will be used up. We have a philosophy of 'not enough'. Unless you can create an organic system that captures and converts electricity, it will never truly be eco-friendly... Just more eco-friendly when compared to the previous zeitgeist. But if we can 'seed' wastelands into promotive ecosystems, then we will always be able to care for ourselves.
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          Apr 16 2012: I am not sure if such a feat is possible, at least not within a lifetime, though I could be mistaken when it comes to the technological part (there is probably enough speculation when it comes to Terra-forming). Nevertheless, I agree when it comes to initiative, we should protect the current border of vegetation (with some exceptions). Especially when it comes to protecting Eco-systems such as mangroves which protect whole islands chains and shorelines.

          We currently already use a system which captures energy, I mean what about fossil fuels? I think you're talking about algae plantations, am I right? Yes they do provide a solutions when farm-able land is absent. Still it has some complications, the efficiency is not economically feasible. Most algae plantations are set up through government initiatives to provoke innovation from practice.

          Why not focus our money and energy on educating the next generation and setting up an infrastructure for these new technologies? Solar-power can turn consumers into producers, the problem is that most infrastructure has been laid down half a century ago and is not suitable for energy input.
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      Apr 16 2012: I understand your objection. Look at artificial surfing reefs... Just less than ten have been built and have no true benefit to an ecosystem, only to create favorable conditions for humans to surf or body board, likely to boost tourism or to limit the amount of risk involved in surfing a particular shore.

      The beautiful thing about creating artificial landmass is that it can be used for things other than providing something to simply stand on. There could be commercially-viable applications. The 'ice stations' could provide for the extraction of possible oil and gas resources on the polar sea bed. These can also be used to monitor vibrations of shore structures in cold weather climate, a mystery that has had almost no intellectual attention, but is of concern to ships who operate in icy waters. They can be used as dock points for ships under duress. They can also be used to test and monitor conditions of ice melt, track mass drift with the ocean currents, and catalog the activity of microbial life. There are likely other uses that fail to come to mind at the moment.
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        Apr 16 2012: Magnificent work is done on the production of reefs, but there is a problem. Here we are talking about Genetic Engineering, a touchy topic, and there are regulations when it comes to releasing these specimens into the wild. A lot of testing has to be done, but as you know reefs take long to grow and even these take ages before they are suitable for testing.

        When you're talking about artificial landmasses, I immediately think about mountains made out of plastic grains from recycled bottles. If this is really what you mean then let me ask you: how are we going to produce all this plastic?! Last time I checked we're kind of starving for more oil. I don't think metals will be it either, prizes are too high and they will just disappear through redox-reactions (basically rust). So what is left? Ice? Again energy. We could perhaps create a system organisms/molecular machines which can grow such a platform from photosynthesis and in collaboration with other mechanisms. However, for this we need more knowledge on biology, especially micro/nano-biology.
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          Apr 16 2012: You mistook my example on artificial reefs. There are two types... one designed to promote an ecosystem and the other to alter surf conditions. My point was that we spend public money on only affecting something as irrelevant to our overall well-being as surfing.

          Yes, I imagine floating plastic landmasses.

          We have literally mountains of plastic. There are recycling programs constantly in action. Having worked in a plastic manufacturing facility, I know that the vast majority of plastic used in the manufacturing industry is reclaimed and recycled plastics. Plastic is not a concern. It isn't like the portion of oil we burn for fuel, when plastics are formed they are there for the long term.
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        Apr 16 2012: So if that is what we are doing, why not create a zoo? But instead of feeding the polar bears we have a big territory and we get throw in some seals and let nature do its business. Makes the whole thing of nature preservation a bit, well, pointless doesn't it? Why preserve if we can make it out of plastic. Which begins to sound something from a think tank (where people have been locked off from reality for months on end).

        I'll leave it here, even though the initiative is noble and might help it will require some more knowledge both about material properties and the activities of these animals. Not to mention that with the lack of resources I would rather spend my resources differently.