Tuesday, September 23, 2008

From houseboat to mostly house with a dash of boat

There's a new trend emerging in Holland. Thanks to, yours truly, global warming (*frustration* it's climate change!). These new houses, currently small in number, are, quite possibly the houses of the future because they solve the problem of flooding. According to many climatologists, if we stopped producing all carbon right now, we would still be underwater-eventually-but, if we continue to live the way we do ("business as usual")...let's not go there (think Noah's Ark -- times 30). But I digress.

The main point, that we can either change our lifestyles or change our coping strategies, is what Holland is focusing on. Since the probability of drastic globally social and economic change in the next x number of years is, um *opens calculator, realizing it is unnecessary* zero, the only option is to change our coping strategies (or move to Mars, but who wants to be dissected by aliens or become morbidly obese like in Wall-E?)

So how do these "floating houses" work? They're built on a foundation, already underwater, that's made out of buoyant materials. That way, when it floods, the houses still float, just higher up. But, wait! Don't hop into your SUV guilt-free just yet! What about all the developing countries (like India and Bangladesh)? Or, more importantly, what about the US: New Orleans didn't have floating houses and I highly doubt Florida's getting them anytime soon, not to mention that floating the Toys 'R' Us in Times Square (complete with ferris wheel) is really going to raise the price of those cheap plastic toys your kid/dog/deranged aunt is chewing on right now.

What do you think? Is this a better idea than decreasing our consumption of grocery store bags and increasing our recycling efficiency? Is this really where scientists' and innovators' energy should be going? Or is there something better that can be done? 

Check out the npr article: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18480769

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