Bangladesh Floating Garden. Source BBC, Fair Use, Low Resolution Image to Show the Subject

Claim: We Need Bangladeshi Floating Gardens to Survive Global Warming

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

For centuries Bangladeshis have been planting vegetables on floating beds of hyacinths, to secure food supplies against flooding. According to a new study we could all learn from their experience.

Floating gardens as a way to keep farming despite climate change

Bangladesh’s floating gardens, built to grow food during flood seasons, could offer a sustainable solution for parts of the world prone to flooding because of climate change, a new study has found.

The study, published recently in the Journal of Agriculture, Food and Environment, suggests that floating gardens might not only help reduce food insecurity, but could also provide income for rural households in flood-prone parts of Bangladesh.

“We are focused here on adaptive change for people who are victims of climate change, but who did not cause climate change,” said Craig Jenkins, a co-author of the study and academy professor emeritus of sociology at The Ohio State University. “There’s no ambiguity about it: Bangladesh didn’t cause the carbon problem, and yet it is already experiencing the effects of climate change.”

Bangladesh’s floating gardens began hundreds of years ago. The gardens are made from native plants that float in the rivers – traditionally, water hyacinths – and operate almost like rafts, rising and falling with the waters. Historically, they were used to continue growing food during rainy seasons when rivers filled with water.

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The abstract of the study;

Floating gardening in coastal Bangladesh: Evidence of sustainable farming for food security under climate change

L. M. Pyka, A. Al-Maruf, M. Shamsuzzoha, J. C. Jenkins, B. Braun

Around a quarter part of Bangladesh is flooded for several months a year, affecting agriculture in particular -this has far-reaching consequences for the lives of the rural population. Especially during the monsoon season, many people in water-rich areas suffer from food shortages and nutrient deficiencies, mainly due to crop failures and lower incomes. Through the use of floating gardens, smallholder farmers can use flooded areas that would otherwise be unmanageable for months. Due to the growing population pressure and the potential impact of climate change in Bangladesh, available agricultural land may decrease, making such innovative cultivation methods more important. Coastal people of Bangladesh have practiced this farming method to grow vegetables and seedlings on floating beds and thereby secure food production and farmers’ income with adverse climatic shocks. The main purpose of this study is to investigate the overall methods of floating gardening, and how it contributes to food security at the households’ level. The findings of the study are based on nine qualitative interviews with the local farmers and key informant interviews (KII). The study shows floating gardening is a sustainable farming method and income strategy for rural households in coastal flood-prone regions of Bangladesh. Floating gardens contribute to food security by nutrient intake growing vegetables. Areas that cannot be cultivated are made usable, and the achievable income ensures the security and variety of food in the season of the floating gardens.

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The BBC has an excellent article with pictures describing this remarkable innovation.

The study mentions the “potential” impact of climate change, rather than certainty. Given this practice is centuries old, it can hardly be claimed that anthropogenic climate change was the reason farmers started creating floating gardens.

Will many other people need to copy this innovation? I doubt climate flooding, even if it occurs, will be a big deal in advanced countries – advanced countries have the engineering capability to build better flood management systems. NSW, Australia, which experienced severe flooding a few weeks ago, is responding by raising dam walls by up to 17m, to improve flood control. If 17m is not enough, the walls will be raised again.

If global population grows so much there is a shortage of arable land, its possible some of the wilder ideas for floating cities might happen, but we are a long way from running out of arable land. There are vast deserts and ice fields which could be brought into service with a little engineering, if it made economic sense to do so.

Of course, if we figure out how to build affordable nuclear fusion plants, farming undersea might make more sense than floating farms. Undersea provides good access to dissolved CO2 and fusion fuel, complete isolation from land based agricultural pests and parasites, total protection from the weather, and an ocean full of water to act as a heat sink, to dispose of waste heat from the grow lights and the fusion reactor.

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March 31, 2021 6:13 pm

Strange how the BBC had to go to Bengladesh to find a solution to flooding. The Netherlands has been dealing with (creating?) flooding and sea level rise for most of 1000 years. Not to mention that the Britain of 1000 years ago was mostly swamp, until water control, canals, and dredging created usable farmland and supplied for bulk transportation. I think I remember that Fleet Street, once the focus of once free English language journalism, is built over a tidal river that no longer exists above ground.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  dk_
March 31, 2021 6:21 pm

I saw a very interesting Nova some years ago on the rivers of London that no one knows exists as they are all now underground.

Such an interesting world

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
March 31, 2021 7:34 pm

One is the river Fleet, after which Fleet street, where all the newspapers once were, is named.

Reply to  dk_
April 1, 2021 12:21 am

This about continuing agriculture low cost during monsoon flooding.

Reply to  dk_
April 1, 2021 4:26 am
Reply to  dk_
April 4, 2021 9:05 am

Fortunately, at least in the minds of people who aren’t Marxists, Fleet Street wasn’t fleeiong. ;-)_

Walter Sobchak
March 31, 2021 7:27 pm

Bangladesh did not emit carbon dioxide, but they did decide to put 170 million people (8th largest population) into the 90th largest country by land area.

When they decide to tackle their real problem call me. Otherwise I am not persuaded that we in the United States need to cripple our economy to solve Bangladesh’s problems.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
March 31, 2021 7:42 pm

Actually, Bengladesh’s current economic status is utterly dependent on fossil fuels and materials. Taking those away would kill off a substantial number of that population, which is, after all, the goal of the climate terror – er – activists.

March 31, 2021 7:53 pm

Suppose that you have done a study of Bangladeshi farming techniques. It’s actually not that interesting or novel but you spent a lot of time doing the work. How do you get it published? Easy … make it all about climate change.

… for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.


John Ioannidis has brought attention to the replication crisis. Nobody has done a credible job of refuting his findings.

Small groups of activists determine what gets published in many fields. The resulting science is completely unreliable. We need to take back science from those folks. Personally, I would throw folks like self-admitted fraud Dr. Mann in the slammer as a salutary example for all the rest of the frauds. As much as I dislike Mann, I doubt that he is the worst of the bunch, he’s just been a lot more effective at attracting publicity.

Reply to  commieBob
March 31, 2021 8:20 pm


 Evidence of sustainable farming for food security under climate change.

Another example of where tying your research subject into climate change will bring you recognition and funding and also of how Leftist propaganda seems to imbue everything we come into contact with these days.

Here is what a parallel piece looks like without the climate change angle and no BBC coverage:

The Ingenious Floating Gardens of the Ancient Aztecs The Aztecs ingeniously built chinampas or “floating gardens” to feed their once enormous population. They converted the marshy wetlands of Lake Texcoco into arable farmland. What a masterpiece of engineering! Spreading over 300 feet long by 30 feet wide, workers weaved sticks together, forming giant rafts. They then collected mud from the lake and piled it on top of the raft at approx 3 feet deep. These were anchored to the lake, being attached to willow trees which were planted nearby. Each garden was surrounded by a canal which allowed canoes to pass through. This garden network stretched over 22,000 acres of the lake.
comment image

What floating gardens have to do with climate change is anyone’s guess, but it strikes me as pure pandering to the press and funding agencies. Apparently the authors of the Aztec work were not savvy enough to make the connection.


Now, in the spirit of our times, and to square the circle, someone needs to get on Twitter and make the charge of “cultural appropriation” and/or that the BBC was displaying some form of “latent colonial mindset” and “cultural insensitivity” by not mentioning the Aztecs, whose civilization was snuffed out by the Europeans. (lol) (facepalm)

PS: I bet if someone did this it would result in a BBC apology and the article being edited to include a reference to the Aztecs.

Last edited 1 year ago by Anon
Reply to  Anon
March 31, 2021 8:34 pm

Ace post Anon, thank you.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Anon
April 1, 2021 4:53 am

At an elevation of 7349 feet, it surely must have been rising sea levels from the Conquistadors’ SUVs that caused the Aztecs to build floating gardens.

Reply to  Anon
April 1, 2021 10:29 am

What an interesting and educational comment. The picture is terrific. Thanks.

Reply to  Anon
April 1, 2021 3:42 pm

That diorama is magnificent!
It beautifully illustrates the concept.

Reply to  commieBob
April 4, 2021 9:06 am

‘Nature Trick’ Mann sues people who suggest he commits fraud. (Do help Tim Ball. perhaps Steyn too.)

March 31, 2021 8:14 pm

Floating gardens. Wouldn’t be some magic mushrooms involved would there? 🙂

Reply to  Scissor
April 1, 2021 3:48 pm

As Aztec carvings exemplify, Aztecs and their predecessors were experts on the use of plant pharmacology for better visioning, lurid realities and close encounters with their gods.

To bed B
March 31, 2021 8:22 pm

This year’s peak on the Hawkesbury River corresponds to a flood risk of a 1 in 10 chance per year.

It is not as high as the 14.5m peak in 1961 (1 in 50 chance) — the highest in living memory — which was eclipsed by the 19m peak in 1867 (1 in 200 chance).

Back in 1986, the Hawkesbury River topped the major flood mark of 12.2m. Six people died and the flood caused $35 million worth of damage (in 1986 dollars).

Even if it h happens again next year, there is plenty of food in Australia.

Reply to  To bed B
March 31, 2021 10:07 pm

Use the mostly useless wind turbines and solar panels to pump the excess water to Alice Springs. Turn Ayres Rock into a chia pet.

Mike Dubrasich
March 31, 2021 9:12 pm

Bangladesh is the delta of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers. These rivers begin in the Himalayas and carry silt down steep gorges. When the rivers reach the Bay of Bengal the waters slow and the silt is deposited — at sea level. That is how deltas are formed. They are always at sea level — no matter what sea level is at the time.

At the LGM 20,000 years ago sea level was 450 meters lower than today. But the Ganges/Brahmaputra delta was at that level. It wasn’t a plateau sticking up 450 meters above the sea with waves crashing at the base of a cliff.

As sea levels have risen over the last 20,000 years, the delta has also risen. Bangladesh is 450 meters higher in elevation than it was at the LGM. Note that all land does not rise — much of the SE Asian region known as Sundaland has been submerged. But the delta which is Bangladesh has risen. The silt did it. Note also that sea level farming in Bangladesh is at least 10,000 years old, and people have been living there for 90,000 years successfully subsisting. That’s 70,000 years before the LGM!

No amount of sea level rise will submerge Bangladesh. It’s like a coral atoll in that it rises and falls with sea level change. The alarmist panic is totally delusional. The “scientists” who wrote the article are either insane or very stupid.

BTW, Holland is also a delta region, formed by the deposits of silt from the Rhine River (which begins in the Swiss Alps). As such it has also always been at sea level. The Dutch historically mined peat from their delta and pumped ground water from peat bogs, dropping the land elevation by 5 meters or more. Some 60% of the Netherlands is at or below sea level, the below part due to human-caused subsidence.

They did it to themselves! Should the whole world collapse into extreme poverty to “save” the Dutch from their own folly? News Flash: it won’t work. No amount of sacrifice on whatever altars will drain the Netherlands. They know it, and so should everyone else.

Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
March 31, 2021 10:25 pm

Actually, people are pretty good at arranging things to submerge river delta’s. consider the lower Mississippi. Bangladesh is doing it part too, with flood control further inland.

Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
April 1, 2021 11:43 am

I am Dutch, I live almost 6 meters below sea level and I approve of this post

March 31, 2021 9:59 pm

Venice and the Netherlands have been dealing with sea level rise for hundreds of years, probably over a thousand really, and dealt with it on their own, but the BeeB has judged that Bangladesh’s flooding is all our fault. Anyways, China will soon be over there, offering them great terms on all kinds of infrastructure projects (belt and road) and since they are the biggest and dirtiest emitter, they’ll more than make up for all our climate sins.

March 31, 2021 10:55 pm

you forgot the sarcasm tags on your last paragraph …

Last edited 1 year ago by lackawaxen123
March 31, 2021 11:20 pm

We might have a little difficulty with that here in Phoenix. We have one river, the Salt River that pretty well dried up after they built the Roosevelt dam. It’s called the river that came to Phoenix and never left. Water is in such short supply that the Palo Verde Nuclear plant had to promise not to use any fresh water in its operation. For years they have been using waste water but now there are other uses for that. Don’t worry, we have ground water that is so salty that nobody wants it other than the nuclear plant.

Michael in Dublin
April 1, 2021 2:57 am

Those who leave negative comments miss some important points in this contribution. Because of human ingenuity, man is able to come up with inexpensive and appropriate solutions to sustaining life and even improving the quality of life. He has been doing this for millennia.

These efforts, however, have been undermined by envy and greed far more often than they ever could by weather conditions and climate. Many attempts to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and engineer climate will prove to be enormously expensive, wasteful and ultimately futile. These only benefit a tiny, tiny number of greedy people but end up hurting huge numbers. A small investment and encouragement of inexpensive and appropriate solutions is a far more sensible way to go.

We need many more essays like Eric’s above to highlight human ingenuity and adaption.

Last edited 1 year ago by Michael in Dublin
Jean Parisot
April 1, 2021 3:12 am

If 17m is not enough, then I think we may have exited this ice age.

Climate believer
April 1, 2021 4:02 am

A few facts in this mad postmodernist dystopia we are creating for ourselves.

Mean sea level Chittagong:

Chittagong MMSL mm.png
Climate believer
Reply to  Climate believer
April 1, 2021 4:04 am

Bangladesh rainfall:

Observed rainfall Bangladesh.png
Climate believer
Reply to  Climate believer
April 1, 2021 4:05 am

Bangladesh Max Temp:

Observed max temperatures Bangladesh.png
Climate believer
Reply to  Climate believer
April 1, 2021 4:07 am

From the Dhaka Tribune:

Dhaka Tribune Jan 2020 cold weather Bangladesh.png
April 1, 2021 4:38 am

Okay, so they “see something” and without understanding the real aspects of it, just that it’s pretty and it’s “green” and gosh, the whole thing’s been working for a long time (in tropical Bangladesh, not in UK) so it has to work elsewhere and golly gee, it’ll solve the whole problem.

Question is, will the geniuses who think this might be okay in northern Midwestern blizzard winters be willing to come help out in the freezin’ season?

H. D. Hoese
April 1, 2021 6:04 am

Nature got there first. Louisiana has extensive floating freshwater marsh, quite an experience to take a boat through one, also called a floating prairie, prairie tremblate.Big controversy about diversions producing more from extensive nutrients.
Russell, R. J. 1942. FLOTANT. Geographical Review. 32(1):74-98.

Bay of Fundy also has a floating bog.
Ganong, W. F. 1903. The vegetation of the Bay of Fundy salt and diked marshes: an ecological study. Botanical Gazette. 36(3):161-186.

Who would have thought it, a marsh ecological study way back then!

April 1, 2021 11:08 am

Sixty-odd years ago our water supply was created by a dam in valley with many springs – about a km2. The peat then floated up creating islands that are partly grounded in the shallow parts. with high water and wind, they still move about along with bushes and small trees.

Now we have to renegotiate the water license with the province and have to prove that taking the water we have been taking for many years does not harm the “ecosystem” and it has to be done by a commercial company employing all those useless “ecology degree” grads – evidence of flows and lake levels we have do not count.

Thankfully the lake is there because if anyone wanted to dam a valley now it would be absolutely verboten.

April 1, 2021 11:40 am

Both Bangladesh and The Netherlands are largely river delta’s. At a certain point in history when both peoples were equally poor and face the same challenges, the Dutch decided to make their country into what it is now.

The Bangladeshi people made a different choice. I respect their decision and all of it’s consequences.

April 1, 2021 3:34 pm

What is the bid deal?
Aztecs used floating gardens for raising foods and flowers for over a thousand years.

chinampas, affectionately known as the floating gardens of Mexico City.”

Grauniad writers beating dead horses, again.

April 1, 2021 11:37 pm

Artificial floating islands are a thing. I have four in my pond.

Purpose is to take out excess nutrients from water, grow plants for food or beauty, give small fish a place to hide, and reduce erosion. Also provide nesting grounds for some birds. They work in brown water applications and also are being installed to protect Delta marshlands.

April 4, 2021 9:03 am

Reminds me of the Aztecs, who started with small islands then eventually filled in to shore to build structures – hence the severe damage to some buildings in an earthquake. (The hard-hit area of Mexico City was on filled ground, whose shaking frequency matched the resonant frequency of three story masonry buildings.)
Tribes in the Amazon made raised areas to grow food, surrounded by canals in which they reared fish, though their raised areas were solid ground.
In the Florida Everglades, escaped slaves built a defensible community, perhaps filling in some areas. Surviving in a hostile environment. (Fear of the Everglades helped no doubt.)

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