Irrigate Sahara: End African hunger and global warming at once
I have in my mind the idea for a single technology implementation that will solve African hunger and reduce global warming at the same time.
This idea can be funded just as easily by private funds as by public funds, and it stands to achieve vast economic benefit and vast environmental benefit at the same time.
Consider this. Sahara is an empty, worthless stretch of land the size of the United States. Aside from a few oasis, there is nothing living there. How much benefit stands to be achieved by turning Sahara green?
By green I mean both farmland and forest land. The first would feed Africa and permanently end hunger in the region. The second would create a vast stretch of forestry to absorb the unneeded atmospheric CO2.
The result: End of hunger in Africa; and a vast progress made toward reducing global warming.
There are now cheap and effective technologies to filter and desalinate ocean water. Not even a desalination plant would be necessary. Instead pipes or canals of filtered ocean water can be sent through the Sahara, creating irrigation for both farmland and forestry. The effect of this would be to solve two of the world's biggest problems at once.
Some see only problems; others also see solutions. Seeing a problem is not whining, it is the first step in solving it. Here we are seeing two major problems that can be solved at a minimum price, at a minimum risk, and with no negative effects.
The more greenery there is on the planet, the more carbon dioxide gets absorbed. With an addition of a vast green area to the world, the climate-changing effects of economic growth in places like China and India can be offset, as would the effects of projects such as the Keystone. There will be more forestry and more greenery on the planet from a resource that is not at risk of running out. A vast desert will turn into forests and farmland, adding vastly to both the well-being of African people and toward environmental sanity.
Finally, the process of putting this into place would put many African people to work, contributing to African economic growth and further fueling the region's growing prosperity.
To me, it matters nothing as to who makes things happen for as long as they get done. Whether it is African governments, UN, China, America, or private organizations, doing this, it matters to me nothing. I do however believe that the benefits that stand to be realized by such a project are vast, and that whoever makes this happen stands to get gratitude from the world for generations to come.
It is long past time to stop denying reality of what happens when there are in the atmosphere unsustainable levels of CO2. It is long past time to instead put into place workable solutions. Here is a solution that would go a long way toward solving this problem as well as a number of others without impinging upon economic growth anywhere. Instead this solution carries a vast economic benefit in addition to its environmental benefit; and it does this without hurting anyone or anything that lives.
I put forth this solution to people of goodwill everywhere, to direct their attention toward a real solution to the world's greatest ills at this time.