Dutch Debate Climate Change Defense: Tulip Island

"God made the world and the Dutch made the Netherlands," goes the Dutch saying. The people of the Netherlands have a long history of engineering the land to meet their needs. Now with the land prices skyrocketing due to population boom and demand for their agricultural specialties, the Dutch are debating whether an island like the palm island built off of Dubai would make a nice addition to maps of the northern European coastline.

Will it work? Is it the right thing to do? And what does a tulip island and cannabis have to do with each other? Find out answers to these questions and more, plus link the video, over the fold.The proposal was introduced into the Dutch parliament by Joop Atsma, a Christian Democratic party member. Minister President Jan Peter Balkenendes' vision for a 50 km (30 mile) long tulip off the coast has prompted jokes, including a blogger who argues that a cannabis leaf would be a more appropriate shape for the island, and legitimate opposition, including from independent environmental groups such as the North Sea Foundation, which claims that the idea threatens one of the "most fertile seas in the world."

A Dutch marine contractor, Van Oord, is behind the palm-shaped island built off of Dubai by shooting more than 100 million cubic meters of sand into what was previously watery depths. But can the idea really work on a North Sea coast? A Van Oord spokesman is quoted by Reuters as saying that the storms and waves of the North Sea make delicate island design an impossible task. A tulip or a cannabis leaf might be a good trigger for debate, but the reality will be an island with a strongly reinforced seaward coast.

The Dutch responded to a poll that they are more afraid of flooding than of a terrorist attack (imagine that!). With scientists predicting that global warming may raise sea levels off of the low countries by up to 85 cm, established geo-engineers like the Dutch will naturally look to technological solutions to keep their feet dry.

But is this just another price too high for the environment? According to the Environmental Data Compendium:

The relatively warm and nutrient-rich inshore waters (of the Dutch Coastal Zone) have an important function as a nursery for various species.

Furthermore, rare fish species are concentrated off of the coast of the Netherlands. Add your voice to the debate in the comments section here on TreeHugger.

Via ::Reuters and Spiegel (German)
Image via ::NEWS.com.au

Tags: Geoengineering | Netherlands

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