FLOATING CORAL REEFS

Turtle Island project info...

The Turtle Island project was a proposal short listed by the Miami Museum of Science for a residency in the CappSci Inventors Program for coral restoration. Our concept was to explore the vision of a floating reef with three distinct islands: one a mangrove wetland for water pollution remediation, the second as a nursery for coral and a platform for collaboration with other innovators, and the third seeks to develop a seaworthy life raft for a reef ecosystem. These are bio-sculptures in the shape of a turtle, made of a matrix of recycled food grade plastic. Like a giant sponge they create habitat for beneficial bacteria that creates a biofilm, the base of an ecosystem for a variety of life including coral.

Coral, like us, are suffering from the four horsemen of global climate change: rising temperatures, rising sea levels, more severe storms and increased pollution runoff. As an artist and ecological designer I want to inspire all the visitors to the museum (both on site and on line) to think differently and to imagine how to adapt to climate change. On a larger scale a floating island covered with coral and other life can be a dive resort. Even larger, it can be producing food, fresh water, blue energy that can even power internet server farms using the oceans thermal sink to cool them. (If the Cloud was a country it would be the 5th largest consumer of energy that produces pollution that is acidifying the ocean.) On a smaller scale a quite serviceable mangrove island can be made of repurposed water bottles, shipping pallets and rice sacks appropriate for a third world economy. This can be an aquatic garden producing mollusks, seaweed and fish for the market. They all transform excess nutrients (pollution) into commerce, further protecting the world’s reefs.

The 18 month residency focuses on three “Think Tanks” in which small scale turtles are tested and problems worked out to design the larger islands. Interfacing with museum visitors, scientists and potential investors in a collaborative fashion, we hope to share and inspire the concept of the infant science of coral restoration and the infant art of ecological design. (The art and science of adapting human culture to nature.) Midway in the residency, we launch the Mangrove Island beside the museum as a companion for the Science Barge, growing mangroves and other halophytes. This provides habitat for a raft of other species and remediating urban storm water and agricultural runoff

Unfortunatly we didnt make the cut.

The Turtle Island project is a part of a series of living sculptures that I have created which have an ecological function. These include the Earth Serpent at the Cambridge MA reservoir filtering runoff from the dog walk, several large sea serpents that absorb and digest oil and pesticides and some smaller turtle islands for lake and pond restoration and safe turtle nesting sites in an urban setting.

terrybastian@ Waterflowers.org


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