With rising global temperatures and concern over melting icebergs, political figures around the globe are encouraging creative approaches to solving the world’s climate change crisis. Many businesses are turning to common measures to reduce their ecological footprint: reducing CO2 emissions, pulling plastic from ocean tides, cannibalizing humans to reduce cow consumption and so on. But some ambitious students among Hope College’s very own have designed a more stylish treatment to ensure the survival of a fan-favorite species whose icy homes are threatened. Their invention? Specialized cruiseliners retrofitted for penguins. This project is currently in its planning stages but is the result of sound logic. Secondyear student Forest Rulison explained the reasoning behind the project. “They [penguins] have been forced to grapple with the results of largely manmade climate change.
It’s only fair that we, as the human race, should be the ones to fix it. Aside from preserving one of nature’s most majestic avian species, this peace offering would drastically reduce the likelihood of an overthrow attempt by them, which the biology majors tell me has been predicted for quite some time.” I sat down with engineering student Matthew Dickerson to discuss the specifications for the ocean-liners. Each one would have completely modern furnishings and be able to hold approximately 6,000 penguins. Special units would be installed to keep the ship interiors a cozy -30 degrees Celsius. Special decks integrated into the base of the ships would allow the flightless birds to dive beneath the surface of the water to catch fish and use the facilities. A technical challenge that the designers have faced thus far is the need to allow the male penguins to roam freely during the off-season. “I realized during my extensive research watching ‘March of the Penguins’ that 70 miles of marching was not going to fit within the technical parameters of the deck construction.
Our interpreters negotiated with the birds, but they refuse to accept our proposal of just lapping around the deck a hundred times. They squawked back that it would violate the penance and fortitude that the rite of passage yields. They hold very tightly to tradition, you understand. As an engineer, this has been my most complex challenge yet.” Students have rallied behind the idea, blowing through the all of the usual government regulations which would stop a $800 million titan-ofindustry from floating the arctic circle. The economics department, however, has raised a few questions about the financing of such a vehicle. Among their main concerns is the fact that there are few private organizations who would willingly dispense capital for such a project when the chances for returns are literally zero. They also cite that the engineering department has explicitly denied claims that it will be a zoo, thus minimizing chances of securing government funding.
Mr. Rulison and Mr. Dickerson declined to comment on these potential challenges, becoming visibly agitated at my bringing up the question: “It’s the future; sacrifices must be made.” Several major cruise-liner companies have responded positively to the design. Carnival and Royal Caribbean have both heaped praises, calling it “inspired” and “innovative.” A representative from the penguins has stated that Viking Cruises was not going to be considered for partnership, due to last week’s incident. Stay tuned for more information as the story develops.