The ocean is a vast and seemingly endless resource that has the potential to provide for the entire world’s population. With over 71% of the Earth’s surface covered by water, the potential of ocean resources is to provide all kinds of vital resources for humanity. From food to energy, the ocean has the potential to sustain human life in ways that we have yet to fully explore.
Food and Housing
According to a 2017 United Nations report, the world’s population is projected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100. Assuming an average of 2.5 people per household, this would require approximately 4 billion homes. On land, it would require an area of approximately 1,600 square kilometers, or about 0.006% of the total land surface of the Earth. However, if the homes were built on the ocean’s surface, it would require a much larger area. The United Nations estimates that the total area of the ocean’s surface is about 361 million square kilometers. Therefore, if all 4 billion homes were built on the ocean’s surface, it would require approximately 1.1% of the total ocean’s surface.
One of the most obvious ways that the ocean could provide for the world’s population is through food. The ocean is home to a wide variety of fish and other seafood, which are a vital source of protein for many people around the world. In fact, Fish and seafood are the primary sources of protein for over 3 billion people worldwide. This is especially true in developing countries, where fish and seafood are often the only affordable source of protein. Compared to agriculture, the ocean also has a large depth that land-based farming does not provide, giving us more space in which to grow food.
The ocean is home to a wide variety of marine life, including mollusks, crustaceans, and seaweed. These organisms are not only a source of food, but they also have the potential to be used for other purposes, such as medicine and cosmetics. For example, seaweed has been used for centuries in Asia as a food and medicine, and it is now being studied for its potential use in treating cancer and other diseases.
The potential of ocean resources can also be viewed from an energy perspective. The ocean contains a variety of different forms of energy, including wave, tidal, and thermal energy. These forms of energy are renewable, meaning that they will never run out, and will continue to exist as long as the ocean exists. In addition, they do not produce any greenhouse gases the way traditional forms of energy do, making them an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels.
Wave energy is generated by the movement of ocean waves, and it has the potential to provide a significant amount of electricity. Tidal energy is generated by the rise and fall of ocean tides, and can also provide a significant amount of electricity. Thermal energy is generated by the difference in temperature between the warmer surface of the ocean and the colder deep sea. This form of energy is the one we intend to harness in our seasteads through what is known as Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion. This process alone could generate billions of watts of electricity and can also be harnessed to provide fresh water for seasteaders and their communities.
Minerals and Gases
The ocean is also home to a variety of different minerals and metals, including lithium, nickel, zinc, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, and many others. Some of these minerals and metals are essential for the production of a wide variety of products, including smartphones, laptops, and electric cars. These minerals and metals can also be used to produce solar panels, wind turbines, and other renewable energy technologies.
Different gases can also be harvested from the ocean, including methane and hydrogen, which have the potential to be used as fuel. The majority of these minerals, metals, and gases can all be extracted from the volume of water directly beneath the seastead, making them efficient at harvesting resources. The ocean is also home to a variety of different microorganisms, which can be used for a wide variety of purposes, including medicine and biotechnology.
As we can see, the potential of ocean resources is extremely valuable for the survival of humanity and can become even more valuable as we begin to inhabit the water. Even now that we are land dwellers, the ocean helps to maintain a healthy balance on our planet. Therefore, it’s important to find a balance between utilizing the resources of the ocean for human needs and preserving its ecological value for future generations.