If anything can save Mankind from destroying Mother Earth in a fit of its own technonarcissism, it may be a more measured and prescient, new and improved technonarcissism. PIFAS faculty member Matthew Maycock has proposed a bold, two-birds-at-once solution to both rising water levels and the necessities of mineral extraction. He asks whether it would be “brilliant or too brilliant” if extraction of minerals from the ocean floor would not, simultaneously, lower the sea level by removing material and meet the ever-pressing needs for more mineral resources (which are otherwise found in regions of the world where, coincidentally enough, we’re often at war). Below is an illustration of some possible strategies:
A-B Jeff made an excellent point that, if digging too greatly compromised the integrity of the ocean floor or shelves, perhaps oceanic mountains, sawed from their base, could be displaced whole and moved onto land, to areas like Virginia Beach or New Jersey whose shores are badly in need of mountainous splendor.
C. Another option would be cutting deep ravines with “sea plows” on transoceanic trips that begin with an empty ship or tray, then slowly drudge and fill them with minerals on their way to distant ports.
D. Likewise, minerals can be extracted by “javelins” that poke holes in the ocean’s floor and re-emerge laden with precious minerals.
E. A classic Maycockian trench, dug to both lower water levels and make accessible valuable resources.
F-G. For volcanic formations, the difficulty becomes catching these minerals— silica, aluminium, potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, iron— before it returns to the ocean floor. Perhaps the answer lies in pontoon encirclements.
Space-Straw and Space-Cooler
A similar displacement-based idea-kernel, devised in conjunction with Jake and Jeff, is the space-straw and space-cooler. The problem of rising sea-levels can equally be addressed by putting water into outer space, by way of a giant space-straw, operating on some mixed principle of siphon, gravity, and technomagic. Only, it seems unwise to just spray this valuable terrestrial resource into the void of space, forever to be lost. Instead, it should be kept, in orbit, in a satellite space-cooler, chilled by deep space and protected from solar radiation by a reflective inner lining. And I can think of an added utility: namely, to store Earth’s beverages.
What I have in mind is something like those old pneumatic tubes used by banks years ago, only with cold beverages instead of money. Empty containers go up; space-chilled beverages come down. Meeting the thirsts of Earth with true hydrology.