Polar Cities - the ultimate in long-term real estate speculation

On Polar Cities, Andy Revkin at the New York Times says its time for urban planners, to get out their mukluks.

Revkin is referring to an interesting “thought project” being conducted by Dan Bloom called Polar Cities. As Bloom describes it:

Polar cities are envisioned as safe refuge communities where survivors of global warming can live when worst comes to worst.”

Bloom, a 60 year old graduate of Tufts University in Boston, has lived in Asia since 1991 and began working on his polar cities project in 2006, and his way-forward thinking is starting to catch on. His thought that by 2500 the only really inhabitable place on Earth will be the polar regions is both novel and actually quite visionary when you consider what contemporary science is telling us. 

Check out Bloom's Polar City site here and enjoy (if nothing else), it may be the best site on the internet for long-term real estate speculators - really long term speculators! In fact, Bloom has recently posted a map of where he thinks the best polar real estate lies.  

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Thanks, Kevin, for a good write up, and the humor is important here, too. This all takes a while to sink in, and humor goes a long way in helping people visualize what the future might bring us. Of course, polar cities are the last things we want, and I hope they never happen on Earth, but if all else fails, and the worst-case scenarios fall into place 400-500 years down THE ROAD, we might need them. Might. Nobody knows. This is all pure speculation, but based on some very insightful remarks by UK scientist James Lovelock. He was the first one to speak of “breeding pairs in the Arctic” and this is where the idea of “polar cities” started from. From Lovelock’s grim, yet positive vision.

Getting the mainstream media to take the idea of polar cities seriously, however, is not an easy task. While we were lucky to get a brief mention in that New York Times blog, Dot Earth, the print version of the Times as well as virtually every other print newspaper on Earth, refuses to report on polar cities, even just the concept of them. It’s not a MSM focus right now. Too futuristic, no PHD attached, no Richard Branson funding attached, no Hollywood stars attached, no academic cred or sponsorship. So forget about ever reading about polar cities in your local newspaper.

All the major wire services have also politely declined to report in the polar cities concept. AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa, UPI, you name it. CNN, the BBC, CBC.

But Stephen Leahy, a very good science reporter in Toronto, did report on polar cities for InterPress News (IPS) in January 2, 2008, but it was just a web-posted report on the IPS website, it never appeared in any print newspapers.

Recently, however, two English-language newspapers in Taiwan did print a CNA wire story about polar cities, in print, for the first time ever in a print newspaper anywhere in the world. Here is a link to that newspaper site:

The other day, I also received a nice note from a major wire service based in London, in which the reporter said that “in order to write a story, to convince my editors that polar cities is a topic worth covering, we’d need something to come of age. Either something to be built and shown, like a model polar city in Alaska or Norway, or for a scientist to adopt your schematics and promote them academically. Do let us know when something like this happens.”

I think he meant “when hell freezes over”. But the polar cities research project “ball” keeps on rolling – uphill – and your post here today is very much appreciated. Thanks. One post leads to another. We’ve still got 500 years to prepare…

Here is that link to the first print newspaper appearance of a polar cities news report: http://northwardho.blogspot.com/2008/05/life-in-polar-cities-future-fact-or.html

A much better idea for planning ahead would be to buy some land in Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, or really anywhere within say 15 degrees of the equator.

With the solar minimum coming, the PDO shift to cold, and the plans to launch reflective particles in to the atmosphere to stop the warming trend that already stopped 10 years ago we could possibly be looking at the next ice age. My only hope is that we have enough CO2 in the atmosphere to keep thing from making where I live from becoming 100 feet of ice.


http://frankbi.wordpress.com/ International Journal of Inactivism
“Al `Fat Al’ Gore [is fat]” – Harold Pierce

That Buzz in Your Ear May Be Green Noise


DESPITE the expense and the occasional back strain, Mary Burnham, a public relations consultant in San Francisco, felt good about the decision she made a few years ago to buy milk — organic, of course — only in heavy, reusable glass bottles. For the sake of the environment, she dutifully lugged them back and forth from the grocery store every week. Cutting out disposable paper cartons, she reasoned, meant saving trees and reducing waste.

In San Francisco, Erik Michaels-Ober does dishes by hand, rather than in a dishwasher.
Or not. A friend, also a committed environmentalist, recently started questioning her good deed. “His argument was that paper cartons are compostable and lightweight and use less energy and water than the heavy bottles, which must be transported back to a plant to be cleaned and reused,” she said. “I have no idea which is better, or how to find out.”

Ms. Burnham, 35, recycles religiously, orders weekly from a community-supported farm, buys eco-friendly cleaning products and carries groceries in a canvas bag. But she admits to information overload on the environment — from friends, advice columns, news media, even government-issued reports. Much of the advice is conflicting.

“To say that you are confused and a little fed up with the often contradictory messages out there on how to live lightly on the earth is definitely not cool,” she said in an e-mail message. “But, heck, I’ll come out and say it. I’m a little overwhelmed.”

She is, in other words, a victim of “green noise” — static caused by urgent, sometimes vexing or even contradictory information played at too high a volume for too long.

Two years after “An Inconvenient Truth” helped unleash a new tide of environmental activism, green noise pulses through the collective consciousness from all directions. The news media issues dire reports about disappearing polar bears; Web sites feature Brad Pitt arriving at a movie premiere in his hydrogen-powered BMW; bookstore shelves are piled high with titles like “50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth”; shops carry hemp-enriched shampoo and 100-percent organic cotton tampons.

An environmentally conscientious consumer is left to wonder: are low-energy compact fluorescent bulbs better than standard incandescents, even if they contain traces of mercury? Which salad is more earth-friendly, the one made with organic mixed greens trucked from thousands of miles away, or the one with lettuce raised on nearby industrial farms? Should they support nuclear power as a clean alternative to coal?

If even well-intentioned activists are feeling overwhelmed, the average S.U.V. driver must be tuning out. And some environmentalists fear that the public might begin to ignore their message before any meaningful change can be accomplished. For them, it’s a time to reassess strategies and streamline their campaigns before it’s too late.

“My only hope is that we have enough CO2 in the atmosphere to keep thing from making where I live from becoming 100 feet of ice.”

good lucky with that, traciatum!

– danny

Frank Bi, re your comment, I see you are concerned about climate change and you get it. Good! Your blog is very cool, too. One thing, Kevin’s post about my project could be called ALARMING rather than ALARMIST, no? There’s a big difference that I think you get. By the way, love the progress your inactivist word coinage is getting on realclimate etc. Keep going with that coinage. love it.

Danny, alarming, not alarmist, PLEASE!

:-) And thanks for your kind comments! (Actually I didn’t coin the word “inactivist” – well, I came up with it independently, but others had already used that word before, in different contexts.)

http://frankbi.wordpress.com/ International Journal of Inactivism
“Al `Fat Al’ Gore [is fat]” – Harold Pierce

Perhaps you could cover this story:

Even The Antarctic Winter Cannot Protect Wilkins Ice Shelf

With of course reference to this. http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=mending-ozone-worse-for-global-warming

If the economics don’t work, recycling and sustainable efforts won’t either.
Check http://LivePaths.com a blog about innovative entrepreneurs that make money selling recycled items, provide green services or help us reduce our dependency on non renewable resources. These include some very cool Green online ventures, great new technologies, startups and investments opportunities.

Polar cities now also dubbed “Lovelock cities” in honor of James Lovelock. Read on:

Polar cities are now being dubbed “Lovelock cities” in honor of James Lovelock, who has said that in the future human populations will likely be reduced greatly by global warming and only “breeding pairs in the Arctic” will keep the human species going. This is where the idea of polar cities germinated from.

Now, after blogging about polar cities for almost 2 years, and getting a little ink here and there, mostly in the blogosphere (and almost nothing in the mainstream media) I have decided to dub polar cities as “Lovelock Cities” in honor of James Lovelock, and also to help reporters and editors and readers understand better that these so-called polar cities at NOT at the poles per se, but merely in northern areas of the world; some Lovelock cities might be situated in Colorado, Switzerland and Britain, in fact. New Zealand and Tasmania, too. Patagonia, too. None at the North Pole because the North Pole will be underwater (or is that under water?).

At any rate, you heard the term first today here: LOVELOCK CITIES. May they help preserve the human spirit and the human species in the far distant future, IF WE NEED THEM. Let’s hope we never need them. Remember, this is all a “just in case” scenario. A “what if” scenario.

Here’s a timeline for Lovelock Cities:

2008-2050 : business as usual; meetings, conferences, talk talk talk

2050 - 2080 : preparations finally get underway

2100 : first mass migrations to Alaska, Canada, Iceland, Greenland, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Britain, Tasmani, New Zealand, Patagonia begin

2200 : second wave of mass migrations bring more people north from India, Africa, Asia and the Americas – and south to Tasmania and New Zealand

2300 : World Government Body (WGB) set up first officially sanctioned polar cities for breeding pairs in the Arctic, also known as Lovelock Cities

2400 : major climate disasters worldwide with scarce food, fuel, power, and other resources (coupled with overpopulation) begin reducing world population from 9 billion people to 1 billion people

2500 : world population declines to just 200,000 “breeding pairs” in the Arctic (and southern extremes as well, including Antarctica) in 100 to 30 Lovelock Cities situated in those regions and administered and governed by the World Government Body or some such entity, perhaps the IPCC. [Mad Max conditions outside these Lovelock Cities, aka polar cities, last for 1000 years… until 3500]

4500 : The human species has made it through the Great Interruption, intact but greatly reduced in numbers. Full recovery possible beginning in 4500. Hope springs eternal.

Note A: children born in Lovelock Cities (aka Polar Cities) are mixed DNA humans of combined Caucasian-Asian-African-Hispanic-Arab stock, creating a new “race” on Earth

Note B: a new religious perspective develops before, during and after the Great Interruption to help humans cope with and understand what has happened to them

I often compare today’s news and comments of the moment with that scene in “King of Hearts” when Alan Bates is trying to persuade the patients at the asylum to evacuate the town because the German army set expolosives in the town square and wired the detonation device to the nearby clock tower; when the clock strikes 12 the town will be destroyed. Instead of heeding the warning, the inmates gather up their costumes and parade out to the square to have a front row seat of the coming disaster.

Now, we are being treated to an exclusive idea wherein the fortunate inmates all file up to the Polar City to watch the Arctic Ocean ice cap, permafrost and glaciers melt before their eyes.

Help us all. We are being conned by dreamers and worse.

John McCormick

John, re your commnent above, I agree with much of what you said. I loved KING OF HEARTS, I remember seeing that in Boston during my college days, and that scene is wonderful, yes. So I appreciate your point of view and your sense of humor. I have one, too. Sense of humor, that is.


You wrote: “I often compare today’s news and comments of the moment with that scene in “King of Hearts” when …..

Now, we are being treated to an exclusive idea wherein the fortunate inmates all file up to the Polar City to watch the Arctic Ocean ice cap, permafrost and glaciers melt before their eyes.

Help us all. We are being conned by dreamers and worse.”

Well, no, please, hear me out. People are not going to go up to the Arctic regions to find refuge in Lovelock Cities, aka polar cities, until AFTER the sea ice and ice cap melts, until after the permafront and glaciers melt. AFTER. Nobody is going to go up there to watch these things happen. They are going to migrate up north, slowly, year by year, beginning in maybe 2100 or 2200, and by then, there will be billions moving north. Ask James Lovelock. Where will they live? It might be Mad Mad out there, up there, or if we plan, and I am sure the US govt and CIA and Homeland Security is already planning for polar refuges for survivors of global warming in year 2500, and it won’t be a pretty picture. So John, please understand this is not a con. We are selling nothing. This is a non-threatening thought experiment, purely speculative, to get a discussion going. And your comments are well taken and well-articulated. Thanks. That is exactly what I am looking for in this thought experiment.

See my website for more info:

It’s not a con. It’s just an idea. Hopefully, it will never happen this way. But it doesn’t hurt to think about these things, does it? No! It’s good to think about many different future scenarios. This is just one.

Yes, KING OF HEARTS, I can relate to that! Danny


Joey Stanford in Colorado was one of our first volunteers and you can read about his interest here. He recently put up a Wikipedia entry about polar cities, too. Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_city

We changed the alternative name of polar cites to “Lovelock retreats”… google it http://northwardho.blogspot.com

“What is interesting about all this is that Freemon Dyson’s idea has been commented on in the mainstream media, but the concept of Polar Cities has been shunned. Are editors too scared of the bleak side? Are newspaper proprietors muzzled by corporate interests so as not to scare their readers?”

– says a reader in the UK http://asharpminor.wordpress.com/2008/06/23/polar-cities-and-diamond-trees

\POLAR CITIES ..Fingar did not mention them….yet.

I figure
we might need them around 2500 or so, and I have written to Fingar
about this. of course, no reply. But i am sure the USA govt and other
govts are already planning their own polar cities for their own VIPs
and powerful families, leaving the rest of us out in the cold, well,
it won’t be cold, it will be HOT. 500 years.

Wonder if you can take a look at my images, created by Deng Cheng Hong
in Taiwan, and Lovelock has seen them and approves of them and told me

Maybe you can blog one day on polar cities? Please do. Pro or con. I
am curious to know your POV on all this.

As for Fingar’s testimoney, he did not mention POLAR CITIES at all,
but you can bet the Homeland Sec dept already has plans in place for
polar cities in Alaska – Juneau, Fairbanks, Anchroage, Nome….

The first-ever print media MSM mainstream media story about polar cities was printed in a family newspaper in Longmont Colorado today:


Polar city researcher resides in Longmont

By Charlie Angelo, reporter

Longmont Times-Call

LONGMONT — Joey Stanford is not a global warming expert. He’s not sure if it will threaten human life in the future. “I don’t know if it will happen or not, but it’s important to prepare,” he said.

Stanford, who works for a London-based computer company from his home in Longmont, is part of a team of volunteers working toward a survival plan in the event of extreme global warming in the future.

He is a leading researcher for the Polar Cities Research Project, serves as director of publications for the non-profit group and has volunteered to be a resident in the first polar city in the future.

According to www.polarcity.org, “Polar cities are proposed sustainable, high-population-density cities, to be built near the arctic rim, designed to house human beings in the future, in the event that global warming causes the central and middle regions of the Earth to become uninhabitable for a long period of time.”

The Polar Cities Research Project was started in January 2007 by Danny Bloom, a climate blogger based in Taiwan who graduated from Tufts University in 1971.

Alaska, northern Canada, Norway, Iceland and Russia are potential sites for polar cities, Bloom said in a recent e-mail from his office in Taipei. The work of British scientist and author James Lovelock inspired the idea of polar cities, he said.

The Polar City Project is only an idea for now. Initially, according to Stanford, the team planned to have Model Polar City One built in Longyearbyen, Norway, by 2010.
Because of myriad design questions and a lack of major investors, however, it’s not likely to be built until after 2020, according to Stanford.

“Right now, we’re trying to get a handle on what it would take to get this going,” he said.

Some of the logistical issues Stanford faces are food and water supply, fire suppression, the process of moving people into the structures and protection from polar bears.

“There are just so many aspects involved,” Stanford said. “Who would govern these polar cities, for instance?”

All of these unknown variables make it impossible to accurately predict the construction costs of a polar city at this point, he said.

Polar cities might never be built, Stanford acknowledged, but he said his research will still be valuable.

He sees a parallel between sustaining life in Earth’s polar regions and doing so on Mars.

“Even if they aren’t used to solve global warming,” he said, “these ideas are reusable for space missions.”

The Polar City Project is currently focused on increasing its exposure and finding funding, Stanford said.

“We’re using the worst-case scenario to drive research and encourage thought,” he said.