Wednesday, September 29, 2123

Speculative Satire from the Future

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Cooling Down New Eden (formerly Singapore): How Aquacities are Saving Us from the Climate Apocalypse

New Eden, 2122 - In the past century, the city-region known formerly as Singapore has transformed from a sweltering urban area into a model of how we can resist - and even thrive - amidst global warming. Imagine skyscrapers covered in photosynthetic bio-skin, absorbing sunlight and carbon dioxide, while expelling oxygen. Imagine living within aqua bubbles, climate-controlled environments that maintain a pleasant 22 degrees Celsius year-round, no matter how hot it gets outside. Now branded as New Eden, this city-state has revolutionized the concept of urban living, meeting and defying the challenge of a 5-degree global temperature increase. Dr. Aiko Tanaka, New Eden's leading urban climatologist, is an advocate for aqua bubbles, large climate-controlled spheres that envelop sections of the city. 'They encapsulate a microclimate, maintaining a comfortable environment for both humans and plants. It helps recreate the pre-warmth world, both in temperature and biodiversity,'Tanaka explains. The aqua bubbles are made from a self-cooling biomaterial developed by Eden Corp, the city's leading corporate citizen. The bubbles are only one part of New Eden's multi-faceted approach to climate change. The city’s skyline, once full of reflective glass towers, is now largely comprised of ‘Leaf Towers’. These are not mere buildings, but living organisms. They are bioengineered skyscrapers with photosynthetic 'skins' designed to breathe exactly like a forest, releasing oxygen and providing air cooling. Civic engagement has also played a huge role in the transformation. The 'Cool Citizen Initiative', led by Gov. Xian Li, invites participants to generate cooling ideas. ‘We recognize that every citizen of New Eden is a stakeholder in our climate future,’ says Li. Ideas generated from this initiative include the widespread use of cooling vests and the city-wide thermo-cycling system, which recycles heat generated from the underground subway system to power air cooling units across the city. It's hard to believe, but only 100 years ago, Singapore was racing to dampen the global warming's effects. If New Eden is our future, we just might be heading to a cooler tomorrow. Can other cities follow New Eden’s model to create a more comfortable climate? Only time will tell. For now, let's continue to learn from New Eden.
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