Green and sustainable ecology of the protected waters of Polynesian lagoons



As a permanent resident of (French) Polynesia, very aware of the decaying state of the beautiful Polynesian lagoons of the Leeward/Inward Society Islands, not only due to temperature rise of the lagoon waters, but also because of an increasing human induced pollution of all sorts of (plastic debris and general garbage, oil and gas spills and leaks from all sorts of outboard/inboard yachts and motorboats), I am very concerned about the green and sustainable ecology of the protected waters of Polynesian lagoons.

However, given it is common knowledge, for the curious seeker, that the construction of the endless number of overwater luxurious bungalows, for tourist purposes, has damaged and wrecked huge areas of these once-pristine lagoons that may take forever, if ever, to return to their pristine primal status, I am very concerned that these to-be-built “floating palaces”, initially aimed at a tiny minority of immensely wealthy people, might well be the stone of too much, the likely stage that might bring the fatal “coup de grace” (or point of no return) to the highly delicate environmental balance and sustainability of the lagoons of our islands (or any similar lagoon island for the fact).

Your documents states : “Our islands are designed to have a negligible impact on the environment”. Apart from the fact that, at this point, no-one would ever dare write the contrary, such a devious veal is by definition unreachable. The reasons are many-fold. One of them is that Polynesia lacks the pool of qualified and independent agents, sometime even the will, needed to efficiently monitor and force application. Another one is that past the specifications and blue-prints, most environmental constraints, if they are not respected will live unnoticed ( this is unfortunately often the case in Polynesia),

To this end:

  • (Ecology). Have scientific “impact studies” been made, in the direction of, but not limited to, and where are these resources available to consult ?

*Incidence of the seasteading infrastructures (1.building, 2. exploitation) to the rich undermater world (that will be deprived of a great source of natural light) ?

  • Incidence of the great increase of big yachts and motorboat traffic to the already high pollution of lagoon waters (created by the inhabitants of these floating palaces, since motorboard vehicles are well known not to be “green”) ?

  • Impact of the waste created by seasteading populations, and recycling (given that Polynesia already has quite some problem on its own with these questions) ?

  • (Politics) : (Enquête de commodo et incommodo) Will the Polynesian population be democratically consulted at large to find out whether it supports or not the installation of seasteading infrastructures in its lagoons?

  • (Economy) : Availability of roadmaps and detailed economic studies to explain both qualitatively and quantitatively the return for Polynesia.

Why not install seasteading infrastructures over deep waters where impact on biodiversity won’t be so dangereoulsy high ? Why choosing delicate lagoon waters should your projects, as stated, be guided by true respect to environment ?

I will follow with interest the response to the points raised above.


Dr. Franck PORCHER, PhD.Sc.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #2

I think @RandolphHencken and @joequirk have already let abundently clear that “ecological sensitive” is a central part of the seasteading culture value basket.

What about giving them a bit of credit that they will implement their vision according to their values…without the alleged need to resort to police state methods of abundant micro and hyper control …


Not sure that beyond useless philosophical reflexions your answer feeds any of my realistic concerns, since as a permanent resident of Polynesia, very much involved in conservation, I am particularly aware of the fragile ecosystem, and how quickly it can get damaged – as opposed to your “2 guys”, grown up in busy cities and technical Silicon Valley who probably ignore every bit of it (true knowledge comes from experience, not books, manuals or touristic material…).

My rationale is that I would rather have an impressive set of actual studies to start with than vague “ethical” ideas and words. When damage is done, it’s usually too late. And in Polynesia, we have had our share of fancy announcements of this type… to only narrow down to money-making centric realizations !

As for Pitcairn, it has no lagoons…

(Wilfried Ellmer) #4

original post deleted by author - reason: no upside to lever this discourse - and - I failed to apply to forum guidline “be nice”…

(.) #5

Welcome to the TSI site. I am glad you are here.
Best regards;


Your condescension and feeble insults to a concerned citizen of a nation about to become an experiment aren’t very reassuring. Consider your own preferences to having people know you currently work feeding parrots…

Insults like suggesting ‘true’ Polynesians resort to leaving in wooden outrigger canoes, abandoning their homes and work, etc. do not help the cause of Seasteading.

As has been said, there are plenty of pretty words, that sound reassuring, but it is also well known that results of so-called ‘scientific studies’ are quite often skewed in favor of the people paying for such ‘studies’.

Take ‘Manmade Global Warming’ as an example. The ‘science’ is speculative, when there are proven ages where sea-levels were higher, temperatures were higher and even atmospheric Carbon Dioxide levels were higher, yet ‘97% of scientists surveyed’ (after results were hand picked down to 3% of responses) ‘prove’ that manmade global warming is a concern.

These changes will affect every aspect of @DrBlue’s and French Polynesian life and culture. It’s not something to belittle them about, certainly not something to be nonchalant about.

… and, yes, to be certain, TSI is a non-profit, but they are all about bringing money into the coffers. Peter Thiel donated how many millions? What physical assets does TSI own? Nothing. They rent space for the offices, promoted tours and books, but not one single physical asset, when members are still trying to find places to build and test concepts.

TSI has had the chances to back any number of well-thought, documented and testable processes, even stated that some of their plans include storing and shipping sewage, rather than create an onsite treatment and recycling system. The entire pretense depends on imported goods, food, energy, exported ‘wastes’, etc.

(Chad Elwartowski) #7

As someone who has been working with Blue Frontiers I will say that there is no end to the amount of talk of sustainability and preservation of the lagoon. The discussion is focused from zero impact to positive impact, any decision that has an adverse affect on the environment is immediately turned down.

I hope to live on the first seastead. I plan on spending my free time SCUBA diving and helping to nurture the coral and wildlife in the lagoon in a way that makes the area even more beautiful and encourages others to come view the beauty of the lagoon and see what can be done when an area has a small group of people whose interest is in making the place they own better.

As for the idea that the seastead will only be for the super rich…I have seen the rent estimates and most rentals will be cheaper than probably any waterfront property in Tahiti with the ability to go down in price over time.

I do not speak for Blue Frontiers, your question is probably better addressed to the Facebook page.

Or you can go talk to them now. One of the founders, Randy Hencken, is living there now. They are sponsoring the TEDx talk this weekend. I am heading down there next month and plan on moving to Tahiti in early 2018.

(.) #8

Hi Elwar;

I am happy to read about your successes.
Thank you for that post.

(Randolph Hencken) #9

Ia’Orana, @DrBlue, thank you for bringing your insightful questions and concerns to our forum. It is rare that staff of The Seasteading Institute engage here as our focus is required elsewhere and we are overwhelmed. But there is a great community here who know a lot about seasteading, although they won’t likely know all the details about the Polynesian project with Blue Frontiers (

In collaboration with Blue Frontiers, we have hired professionals to conduct an economic impact study, an environmental framework report, and a legal study. Those documents have been submitted to the government of French Polynesia. We promise to publish the documents after the government reviews them. This is part of an ongoing commitment to be open to the public about our project. Similarly, we hosted a conference in Tahiti last May which we made free for Polynesians to attend.

When we were invited to bring our project to Polynesia, one of the first things we did was host a seminar with all six local research institutes. We’ve agreed to collaborate with them for ongoing monitoring of our project to evaluate our impact on the lagoon and ecosystem. Just this week we had a meeting with one of the two local teams that do environmental impact reports to discuss our next study and ongoing monitoring. Environmental stewardship is a core value of our team.

~Randy Hencken - The Seasteading Institute and Blue Frontiers.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #10

@RandolphHencken | Randy i hear you have taken a big leap of faith and moved to Polynesia.
Wish you all the best on that. The expat experience is not easy…

@DrBlue | Franck i wish you all the best in your quest to convince the people of Polynesia that the yachts, international tourism, silicon valley boys with money and outboards are a “horrible problem you need to create a dedicated task force against, to police it out of existance” good luck with that one… and thanks for your insightful post.

My group will follow the polynesia project with interest…Ia’Orana…and - i am glad that you are here.

(Larry G) #11

Dr. Porcher,

Thank you for participating here in the forum. Please be aware that forum members (other than @joequirk and @RandolphHencken) here do not represent either TSI nor Blue Frontiers. For some, English is not a native language, and some people simply have no manners. I would apologize for their behaviour, but I am not responsible for them and so will resist the urge.

This is merely a discussion forum hosted by TSI for the purposes of intellectual exploration. Many seasteading enthusiasts have come through here, and many of us have a philosophical or political bent towards liberty. Most of us also care greatly about the environment and some are primarily interested in seasteading because of concerns about the environment.

Anything can impact an environment. But not all human impacts are necessarily bad. Many of the plants and animals that humans introduced to the islands are necessary staples of Polynesian life today- but if today’s framework of environmental thought had existed back then, the original explorers and settlers of the islands would have starved and left no trace. Humans are part of nature, not above, not separate. Like any animal, our population if unchecked can cause damage to the balance. Nature is resilient though; she finds new balances.If we are careful, we can work with that and make the new “set point” even better.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #12

I definitly agree with you on that point. | And again - i am really happy that you are here …

Some members here have shown great expertise and personal passion in sewage and policing topics so you will certainly find common ground a heartfelt welcome and a open ear in this group.
…so have fun … and again - welcome.


Why thank you, so very much for the kind mention and for noticing. I am currently visiting the Rosebud Continuum and working on developing a biogas digester construction certification program, biogas refinement to pure Methane, making organic fertilizer, even taking H2S, reacting it out of the biogas into a safe, natural pesticide and fungicide. All part of an ongoing sustainability effort. Some biogas digester designs even address human feces. Treated organic fertilizer from digesters can be used either as hydroponic/aeroponic nutrient solution, or soil amendments.

All of that from common wastes, such as spoiled produce, table scraps, animal feces, fishing wastes, etc.