The Problem: Social Need
Global climate change is a social issue that has captured the imagination of the world’s population. This issue is discussed in mass media and social media platforms. According to analysts, change is good. However, it is not a welcome development when it comes to the realm of the natural environment.
The planet’s natural environment ceases to function correctly in the absence of requirements. It is imperative that the factors needed to sustain life are at optimum levels. Scientists sounded the alarm when they noticed abnormal levels of greenhouses gases in the earth’s atmosphere.
The imbalance created negative consequences, such as an overheated planet and the melting of polar ice caps. It is difficult to fully appreciate the importance of ice caps and their role in the maintenance of biodiversity. It is best to consider polar ice caps as gigantic landmasses containing great deposits of icebergs and other large-sized ice deposits.
The melting of the polar ice caps creates a displacement of seawater. This simply means that the liquid water from the melted icebergs increases seawater levels. The impact becomes evident through the alarming increase in seawater levels all over the world. A simple observation of islands that are visible during low tide, and invisible during high tide will reveal the negative impact of the melting icebergs in the North and South poles.
National leaders and world-class scientists are responsible for creating forecasts and anticipate the consequences of Global Warming. Since there is a high probability of significant seawater level increases in the coming decades, then, it is prudent to develop a solution for communities living in coastal areas (Bijker 13).
The Solution: Underwater Dwellings
The logical solution to the problem above is forced evacuation. Residents in coastal areas will be compelled to leave their present dwellings, and exchange it for the safety of elevated areas. A government-backed initiative is enough to force them out of their homes in order to save them from the inevitable calamity of rapid seawater rising. Although this solution is a logical step towards solving the Global Warming crisis, it is not a practical way to resolve the issue of endangered communities near coastal areas.
A pragmatic approach will reveal that unless national governments are willing to declare Martial Law, it is impossible to force people to leave their current place of residence. In addition, it is extremely difficult to provide an accurate timeline regarding extreme weather patterns. In other words, no one knows the exact year when the waters of the oceans precipitate into a deluge that will overwhelm communities near coastal areas.
There is however a limited solution to the said problem. It is a limited solution because, at this point, it is not affordable and accessible to people from all walks of life. The solution is only accessible to rich people who are able to afford the cost of building underwater dwellings. Nevertheless, the overwhelming consumer response to the product will inevitably reduce the cost of production, as more companies will participate and provide different alternatives to a differentiated target market.
The solution calls for the construction of underwater dwellings inspired by the invention of the bathyscaphes and deep-water submersibles. This is a feasible undertaking because, on September 17, 1965, Captain Cousteau commanded the Conshelf, an undersea dwelling located several hundred feet below the surface of the deep (Marx 182). It was a spherical undersea living quarter that was 18 feet in diameter (Marx 182).
In this cramped space, underwater scientists were able to squeeze sleeping quarters, sanitation facilities, and a storeroom for equipment and supplies. The Conshelf was made capable to support human life because of the presence of heliox – a breathing mixture of 98 percent helium and 2 percent oxygen (Marx 183). In other words, the scientists who built the structure were able to mimic the earth’s atmosphere, therefore, people were able to live underwater.
The solution will be offered to rich people who are able to afford the astronomical cost of underwater dwellings (Schivelbusch 134). The end product is an expensive proposition because it is a novel idea. Thus, there are only a few companies that will be willing to finance the cost of the said undertaking. Aside from the cost of production, the underwater dwelling is also expensive due to the innovative technology that is needed to make it a sustainable place where people can live in the event of a deluge.
It is important to integrate solar energy to provide zero-emission energy sources for the inhabitants. The cost of solar panels is beyond the reach of ordinary homeowners. Aside from solar energy, it is also important to integrate a sophisticated air converter that converts carbon dioxide into pure oxygen. In the past, the technology required was the inclusion of heliox; this is an equipment that carries significant amounts of breathable air.
The cost of production will decrease significantly when the crisis event looms near the horizon. When there is more tangible evidence of the melting of polar caps, more companies will create affordable underwater dwelling facilities.
As the construction of materials and equipment becomes standardized, the cost of production decreases significantly, and more people can afford the said product. The cost will be the same as a middle-class home. But at present, the cost is equivalent to the construction of deep-sea submersibles. In other words, it will require millions of dollars to construct a prototype.
Shortly, the solution is an attractive proposition for rich families living near coastal areas. They have invested several millions of dollars to develop their present property and current residence. It is, therefore, impractical for them to leave everything behind to live in higher altitude areas (McCrossen 6). On the other hand, they needed to act with prudence with regards to the irrefutable evidence presented to them that melting polar caps will cause their present houses to be several feet underwater.
It is a practical solution for them because the underwater dwelling facilities can be constructed near their present homes. The constructed facility will appear as a floatation device. The underwater dwelling is visible to those around them, and it will appear like a strange metal and glass building constructed near their yacht.
After the completion of the project, they will install water level warnings similar to those that are found in Japan. The Japanese government created early warning devices in anticipation of tsunamis. The same technology is applicable in this situation. However, the gradual rise of seawater levels provides ample warning for the people to vacate their homes and enter the said underwater dwelling facility.
The technology is available for the creation of the underwater facility. Therefore, safety is not a major concern. The major roadblock to its development, as a component of sociological change to answer the Global Warming crisis, is the cost of production. As the climate change issue becomes prevalent, government initiatives and private sector collaboration will lead to the creation of a solution that is cost-efficient for millions of people requiring this type of habitat.
Impact on the Body
Due to inactivity and the lack of exercise, the body will experience muscle loss or muscle dystrophy. This is not a serious medical condition. The problem can be remedied by creating an enclosure where residents can swim to exercise their muscles.
It is also important to point out that the underwater dwelling facilities are not required to dive hundreds of feet below the surface of the deep. The end goal is not sea exploration. The main objective is to survive the aftermath of a tsunami or the impact of the deluge. The facility only needs to be submerged several feet underwater. Also, the facility is constructed near the shore. Therefore, it is relatively easy for the inhabitants to swim or paddle to the nearest shoreline. Thus, they can easily move back to land if the need arises.
It is easy to construct underwater dwelling facilities. The technology is available. However, the major limiting factor is the cost of production. Nevertheless, as the crisis event looms near the horizon, more people will consider the value of creating this type of habitat. Once evidence regarding melting polar caps are made available to the general public, more people will demand the construction of the said underwater dwelling facility. Therefore, the cost of production will be equal to the cost of a middle-class home.
Bijker, Wiebe. Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change. MA: MIT Press, 1995. Print.
Marx, Robert. The History of Underwater Exploration. UK: Constable and Company, 1990. Print.
McCrossen, Alexis. “The Very Delicate Construction of Pocket Watches and Time Consciousness in the Nineteenth-Century United States.” Chicago Journals 44.1 (2010): 1-30. Print.
Schivelbusch, Wolfgang. Railway Journey. CA: University of California, 1986. Print.