Thursday, January 7, 2010

Living with the Desertification of Northern China

I just watched the story of China's Desertification on the Science Channel. What a tragedy.

If one were to apply the ideas of Green Living and Science Fiction to the problem, one might make these suggestions to the Chinese peoples:
  • 1. Earthship homes, adobe buildings, and underground homes might protect from the raging sandstorms. These should each be biodomes. All windows should face south and be shuttered.
  • 2. Biodomes with recycled water, hydroponics and indoor gardening might allow families to grow their own crops. Enclosing huge areas for cattle and using the same indoor gardening techniques might help.
  • 3. Sunlight piped into the dwellings, barns and underground areas using light pipes, mirrors and skylights combined with growlights and other florescent lights could provide the needed lighting for plants and animals. Solar and wind energy should be used, but the solar panels and wind turbines must enclosed in structures that can be closed whenever sand storms threaten. Domes similar to astronomical observatories might help--the point is to have a surrounding structure that can be opened to the sky and closed up when needed.
  • 4. Plans to terraform the outdoors should be implemented to reclaim some of the desert areas.
  • 5. Water can be imported from the oceans, ice floes, or comet tails or rings of Saturn.
  • 6. Water from ground wells should be distilled. All used water should be retrieved and recycled. Plants should be covered so that transpiration is captured and recycled.
  • 7. Rivers should be protected. If that is not possible, maybe they could be drained into an underground reservoir for a time. Would planting river plants in some areas help?
  • 8. Careful thought should be given to which types of farm animals are best suited to the available growing conditions. Current herds not suitable should be sold to ranches in more appropriate climates or slaughtered for food while still viable. Much of the meat should be canned or frozen for future use.
  • 9. Eating habits must be adjusted to take advantage of the crops and animals grown in the new conditions. New crops and animals mean new diets.
  • 10. Desert plants must be grown to salvage the remaining areas near the waterways. These should be imported from arid regions around the world.
  • 11. Algae can be grown for oil, protein, and other products along the coastal areas and the products traded with the desert areas.
  • 12. Sand can be used to make glass and ceramic products for use and trade.
  • 13. The people will learn to wear the flowing robes and head coverings of the Arab nations to provide some protection against the blowing sands.
  • 14. All people, especially children, will be trained in emergency procedures to be followed whenever a storm threatens.
  • 15. The Chinese should send people to the Australian, Arab and Saharan areas to discover what people there do.
China could become the world's leading experts in terraforming, desert-living technologies, and green technologies.
For that matter so could the peoples of the Sahara and Mid-Eastern regions. For that matter, so could the peoples of the Australian and American desert areas.

So how much of this plan is already being implemented? I am not a part of the community looking at the problem, so I do not know. I am just brainstorming.

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