By Eugene Toth
“Call me Ishmael. Some years ago–never mind how long precisely–having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation.”
– Moby Dick, Herman Melville
In almost all places on Earth, we have been living in houses of all shapes and sizes. We have built mobile homes and houseboats. Many have ridiculed the idea of houseboats. We have not developed houseboats as much as other forms of housing.
Although neglected, houseboats could actually serve the human race well. The advantages of houseboats include
1. Saving space on Earth
2. Saving the environment
3. Reducing travel costs, and making travel easier.
4. Saving endangered species.
5. Reducing the need for supermarkets
“Yea, foolish mortals, Noah’s flood is not yet subsided; two thirds of the fair world it yet covers.”
– Moby Dick, Herman Melville Chapter XXIX
In fact, oceans cover 70% of the Earth. On Earth, almost every human lives on land. Why do we occupy land when we can occupy the more abundant space on water? The ocean offers mobility, meetings of civilizations, vast space. We could extend harbors far into the ocean. Expanded harbors could serve as housing developments. Floating markets could replace the retail stores we use today. Special school ships could focus the attention of students.
If more people lived on boats than before, then we could save endangered species. Deforestation renders tigers and elephants extinct. If land dwellers cut down trees, animals lose their habitats. Millions of animals die. Animals disappear. If we lived on the sea, we would not use the land as much as we do now. Land creatures could flourish and thrive once again.
Fishermen put large nets in the water, trapping endangered species that the fishermen did not intend to catch. Fishermen can’t save the endangered species trapped in nets. Use of giant nets extinguish entire species. If we lived on the sea, we would not require as much mass production fishing as we require now. We could reduce use of large nets. Sea dwellers could use smaller nets. Individuals could fish one or two fish from a school. Japanese who eat fish live longer than Americans who consume pork and beef.
Living on water, people could enjoy freedom to venture anywhere they would like. For example, Captain Nemo avoided the net of civilization.
“The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the Living Infinite. ”
Captain Nemo in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Verne, Jules Chapter VII
Like houses on land, boats require energy for lights. Boats in fact require more energy than cars. How could we sustain these power requirements? Scientists are developing a power plant which smashes hydrogen atoms together. With tiny amounts of nuclear waste, new technology can produce huge amounts of energy. The new technology suffices to power America three times. Even if we used boats, with the newest technology, we would enjoy energy to spare.
Living on water presents some problems.
a. Power Failure
A central power plant may fail. Then, all boats would lose power. An array of power plants could guard against power failure. In an emergency, simply switch to an alternate power source
Ships not designed for cold water can hit ice and sink like the Titanic. For cold areas, to prevent disasters, design ships with strong hulls to withstand the impact of ice.
c. Isolation of land dwellers
Some people live far inland. They do not have an ocean or large body of water near them. Relocation of the human race to water would isolate these land dwellers. They would have to change their lives.
To bomb and sink boats is easier than to bomb houses, ground facilities, and subterranean shelters. On the other hand, the vast expanse of the ocean, can reduce the need for war by providing more space than on land.
Some people throw garbage into the sea. Sea creatures may eat the garbage and die. To prevent extinction of sea life, authorities governing the sea could tax boats according to the number of residents. Governments can use the money from tax to clean the oceans. Special sea detectives could arrest polluters and confine them on prison ships.
For protection against hurricanes and typhoons, employ special large submarines sinking to a safe depth until the storms disperse. Fixed housing under water might provide similar protection at a safe depth
Life on water offers advantages to life on land. Humans could gain space, protect the environment, save endangered species, enjoy freedom to travel, and provide for themselves more nutritious food than they did before. Taxation can provide resources to keep the seas clean.