Since 1970, April 22nd has been celebrated as a day to honor environmental protection.

Today, there are vast, global issues affecting that environment including climate change, ocean pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, polar cap meltdown and disappearing and endangered species from honey bees to polar bears.

The saying “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” resonates on Earth Day because each of us can take steps to preserve our planet.

· Start with buying a reusable straw.

· Use purified filter water instead of individual plastic bottles.

· Bring a bag to the supermarket to carry your goods.

· Walk up and down stairs instead of using the elevator.

· Spend a day walking a beach and picking up litter.

· Contribute to conservation causes. (We’ve mentioned more than a few in our posts here.)

· Support community gardens and farmer’s markets.

· Volunteer at environmental organizations.

· Repair rather than replace appliances and electronics.

· Start today in honor of Earth Day.

· Repeat tomorrow and thereafter.

# # #

Published by
Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD+C
President, Metropolitan Valuation SErvices

With climate change, melting glaciers, flooding becoming commonplace and more frequent, intense weather events (think Superstorm Sandy), urban centers of the future may not be on the waterfront, as most of the world’s megacities now are, but, instead, in the water. Floating.

That was the concept of a dramatic reveal earlier this month when UN-Habitat, MIT Center for Ocean Engineering and the Explorers Club were among those invited by the U.N. to see and hear about OCEANIX and Blake Ingels Group’s (known as BIG) futuristic vision for floating cities anchored in shallow water.

The illustration shows hexagonal-shaped concrete structures linked via walkways. According to Collins Chen, CEO of OCEANIX, six floating platforms, each five acres, can accommodate 5,000 people in a floating village; a floating city of 10,000 would combine five of the villages.

The structures would be built from sustainable forests. There would be wind and solar power, greenhouses, vertical and underwater farms (oysters, clams, mussels, scallops) and desalination for drinkable water. There would be shared recreational green space, spiritual and community centers. The floating cities would be “flood-proof, earthquake-proof, and tsunami-proof,” according to Chen whose start-up company is combining its expertise with BIG.

The concept is being taken seriously based on the U.N.’s endorsement as well as a positive response from notable experts in climate change and sustainability.

Next will come the prototype. Right now, it all seems very utopian. No graffiti. Or true grit. What about crime and punishment? Police and fire departments. On-site medical treatment. Trash. Restaurants. Shopping. With affordability as a goal, will the floating structures be cost-feasible to build?

Stay tuned to see (paraphrasing Rod Serling) whether we will be making a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead. Your next stop…floating cities.

# # #

PHOTO: OCEANIX – BIG (Blake Ingels Group)

Published by
Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP
President, Metropolitan Valuation Services

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a…solar space station?

If China – who is leading the solar space charge – has its way, we’ll be seeing those around the year 2050. Why on Earth, where there is so much land and water, are we even looking into space? Answer: the world’s population is exploding and so is the need to power that world, especially in countries that aren’t that sunny like Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland and those such as Japan with limited land.

Solar in space isn’t new. It was explored by NASA researchers some 30 years ago but abandoned when the technology of the time was not sophisticated enough. Now, with astounding advances in photovoltaic cells and wireless transmission, the idea of harnessing space sunlight to power up earth is being viewed as viable.

One outstanding benefit of beaming solar power from space to earth is that, in space, it’s always sunny. No snowstorms. No thunderstorms. No night. Just PV technology working 24/7.

However, the obstacles remain daunting. They include the weight of PV panels, the anticipated cost of more than $1 billion per each solar power station and building and locating the large microwave receivers on earth.

When those obstacles are overcome, let’s hope Hal will open the pod bay doors.

# # #

Published by
Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD+C
President, Metropolitan Valuation Services