I want to introduce to Evoke players the work of several groups concerning desert reclamation. Moses said "all deserts are man-made." This knowledge is part of our intellectual and social fabric but we have yet to fully realise that the huge challenges of the environment have a barometer in the growth of heavily salinated basins which contribute to worldwide desert growth. Deserts are not natural. They are man-made, or more precisely, life-made.
The United Nations Convention on Combating Desertificationhttp://www.unccd.int/main.php
Actions are being taken the world over to combat the growth of deserts.
A huge amount of experiments have been undetaken to see if anything can be done at the super-local level in which local resources in low-water environments can buttress against desert growth. The results are not only positive, but spectacular. Local knowledge in sub-sarahan Africa combined with new science concerning the makeup of sand and its arability potential have been the pillars of these experiments.
Terrafrica is a land sustainability initiatve that promotes small-scale experimental uses and broad science work to develop in-use deployements of anti-desert measures. Land banks, steppe grading, dune elimination are all being worked on.
Terrafrica : http://www.terrafrica.org/
Key to any desert reclamation is of course, water. The main source of water in many of these situations is sewerage. So much of the work combined waste management with land sustainability programs with desert reclamation. Much of the on-the-ground work amounts to classical terraforming.
One threat to the growth of sustainable land management is the immense pressure to build a sustainable economic and bureaucratic model that can hierarchically organise and co-ordinate these attempts, rather that building from the bottom up and generating knowledge about the attempts to fight deserts that have been made for thousands of years. On each continent, different approaches have worked, but trees are always the key. Trees are the ultimate in climate control and water storage systems. One
decent sized tree has sixty acres of leaves busy transpiring and
storing water. But random planting doesn't work, of course, whats also needed is a new approach to sewerage - understanding it as a supervaluable resource - which can help transform arable land.
Over the next few weeks, desert reclamation will be an ongoing theme of mine and I'll be showing how 3D architecture, game design and arable land sustainability measures can be modelled together to fight deserts at the super-local level. My tags for this sequence will be globalwarming, deserts and desertreclamation. It may not fold into a mission here at Evoke, but i'd like to share some modelling data and experiment feedback to show just how cheaply sewerage can be repurposed in low-water environments. Part of telling that story will involve a skepticism that it can or should be a business model, and I'll show how the anti-commercial model has been proven time and again in high-impact land sustainability scenarios.