Pauline Sillinger is assisting with community outreach for the experiment which involves designing and building a floating sustainable community off the coast of Tahiti.
She said the most reassuring thing was that the team involved was eco-friendly.
“Everything is already being thought of and really when we say this is an ecological project, it’s also showing there are technologies that exist that are better than fossil fuels and that are better than all the technologies that we’re using now that are environmentally destructive,” Sillinger said.
Sillinger said a floating island was better for the marine environment than reclamation.
She said the impact on things like marine animals, currents, and micro organisms would be minimal.
Sillinger has studied the impact of the territory’s alluring over-water hotel bungalows which can deplete the sunlight necessary for micro-organisms in the water.
“From what I have heard from the environmental impact assessment of the floating island project it seems that it should not be that much of an issue because they’ve actually found a way to have little platforms that are going to let the sunlight penetrate.”
She said the project was like a high tech eco-village which tried to close the loop environmentally and economically.
“It doesn’t mean that they live by themselves and they’re completely secluded from the rest of society. It means that they’re making the maximum amount of effort in order to have their own energy production in order to deal with their own waste , in order to deal with their grey water, to collect it, to treat it so everything is already being thought,” she said.
Sillinger said many locals were sceptical about the project but more information could convince them of its benefits.
“We’re a country that has undergone colonialism, so hearing about a bunch of Western people coming from Silicon Valley, they might be rich and they might be libertarian – it’s threatening to us,” Sillinger said.
She said once people got more details from those behind the pilot project, the Silicon Valley-based group, The Seasteading Institute, they would realise the threats are minimal.
“We are having a negative reaction from the population which I completely understand but the truth is if the Polynesian people really, really do not want the project after really learning all the components of it, so after making an informed decision, let’s say, then the Seasteading Institute will decide to go somewhere else because they’re not invaders, right?”