Help For Global Warming: Irrigating Deserts And Desalinizing Ocean Water

The release of excess of carbon in the environment can be fought best by entrapping more carbon in organic matter. This new organic growth can be achieved most spectacularly if we can find a way to irrigate our deserts. With solar energy, becoming a viable option and technology for desalinization of ocean water, there is hope!
Help for Global Warming: Irrigating Deserts and Desalinizing Ocean Water
Source - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AIrrigated_crops_in_the_desert_near_Tel_Arad_(19662273465).jpg)

The climate change has reached a stage where we need to bring about some urgent changes. Since the political economy is unlikely to relent and since there appear few signs of any guilt in consumerist aspirations of our people, new afforestation remains our only real hope. Unfortunately, only desert lands are available and their afforestation needs desalinization of Sea water.


Hoping on Deserts & Desalination

Deserts and desalinization of ocean water is one of our big hopes in the fight against climate change and global warming.

The primary reason for global warming is the trapping of heat by green house gases, most

of which are a result of carbon released from burning of fossil fuel. As the levels of green house gases rise, we not only need ways to reduce the release of more green house gases, but also find ways and means to fix some of the carbon already released into atmosphere. Till now, we are totally dependent upon our forests to fix carbon. The forest cover around the globe is under threat, and need to be preserved. But we need more green cover to take care of the rising carbon emissions. We cannot grow forests in our cities, neither do we have the luxury of converting our farmland into forests. In such a scenario, deserts are our only hope.

Desert land is usually the only land available for afforestation, but growing forests requires water supply that is not available. With water from conventional sources becoming a scarce commodity that is already in short supply, all hopes of afforestation of deserts are dependent on our ability to develop innovative means of desalinization of sea water.

Cost Barriers of Water Desalinization

As on date, desalinization is still a process that is a prohibitively costly for irrigation, particularly of the deserts. Yet, with no other option in sight, we need to find ways of utilizing it. Desalinization requires energy, and the best source of that energy would be solar. We need to find ways to make use of solar energy to desalinize and transport water from the nearby oceans to the deserts. Even after this near impossible task is


fulfilled, a lot more would need to be done. Only very selective plantations can survive in the deserts. Moreover, to create a layer of carbon and other nutrients requires enormous dumping of organic matter. Given the large scales of land that need to be targeted, a carefully chalked out strategy of selectively afforesting the deserts from the periphery will need to be followed. We will have to begin with specialized arid plantation, use dripping methods, and gradually eat into the desert.

Solar Energy may be the Key to Desalination & Afforestation Efforts

So far, very little solar energy is harnessed, mainly because of its high costs. However, technological improvements are bringing about a gradual fall in its cost. On the other hand, the rising cost of gas makes solar energy a viable commodity. As the feasibility of common use of solar energy grows, more efforts will be made to improve the technology, and as mass production takes over, the costs are bound to fall. The day when using solar energy will be the only form of energy harnessed is still far away, but its use may become feasible in very foreseeable future.

One important development in this regard is the establishment of mega solar plants for generating electricity in the deserts. These solar plants allow human settlements too in the middle of the desert, which is the greatest prerequisite for de-desertification process. Imported food and organic material gradually dumped over desert pockets can provide fertile space ready to harbor vegetation once water becomes available. Once the technology develops further, the solar electricity generated could attract greater investments providing greater opportunities for rehabilitation of the deserts.

The challenges are enormous. The road is long and arduous. But where there is a will, there is a way. Maybe, the threat of global warming and climate change will become an opportunity for afforestation of our deserts.
 



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