The Sahara, as well as other deserts around the world, is growing, in a process called desertification that ends up displacing people and crops. The situation has become drastic in a number of sub-Saharan countries. One suggestion from architect Magnus Larsson at the recent TED Global conference suggests constructing a massive wall, 3,700 miles long -- built from the sand itself. The trick would be to use bacterial labor to build it.
Bacillus pasteurii is commonly found in wetlands, and is able to chemically create calcite. By unleashing the bacteria on areas of the desert, sand could be solidified into sandstone within a few hours. The way Larsson proposes to do this is fill massive balloons with bacteria and station them along the Sahara's southern border, where the weight of the oncoming waves of sand would pop the balloons. The released bacteria would then quickly set up a protective wall to block future sand shifts.
Even Larsson admits that the idea still has a lot of kinks to be worked out. But with an estimated one-third of the world's population under the threat of desertification, a solution is needed. The previous best idea was to plant a line of trees along the border, the roots of which would help maintain a grip on the soil. However, because of the poverty in those areas, many of the trees were chopped down for the wood. Maybe walls built by bacteria-filled balloons are the way to go.
Instead of fighting a futile holding battle, how about doing something to reclaim the Sahara? How about sand mining to carry all that sand someplace where it could be used productively? How about developing a plant, maybe an algae that lives on sand and sun. How about digging canals from the oceans to bring water inland? Evaporation would increase the general humidity in the air and make it easier for all sorts of plants to grow. Seems to me that the best defense would be a good offense.
I am not sure what the nutritional benefits of eating sand are....but I do not think algae would fare well in a desert.
Or we could just solve it Obama style and ship over a large number of plastic buckets, shovels, rakes or my personal sand box favorite, Tonka trucks.
Well with any luck it'll work out better for us than it did the Martians...
My goodness. Are we really considering introducing a non-indigenous species to such a large area? With the amount of invasive species wreaking havoc all over world from being introduced to a foreign environment I would think we have learned a lesson.
desert doesnt grow becuz its growing,
it grows becuz of the receding plant line which is caused by poor nutrition in the sand that soil doent hold,
a wall wont stop that.
This might sound strange but would not dumping the Plastics that end up in the coeans be a goof idea here.
Add in some human waste from sewer plants and the plastices on top would hold some moisture. Over time seeds could be added an enviorment devolped for Trees to grow and from there it is downhill.
There are a lot of kinks either way we look at it. But this does sound like a good idea to me.
Any eco-solution to inhibit desertification is wonderful!
Larry from Paris France
Who has started to test the idea ?
Is anybody able to build an internet business to sell "box" of Bacillus Pasteurii to people who would start transforming sand they may have ?
Where can we find info about the bacteria and whether it grows easily ? what do they need ? water i presume ? nutriments ?
how about making a machine that cleans and filters water from the ocean and use pipes to send that water to water sprinklers in various areas. over time you could seed the land and add more sprinklers to make the area bigger. over a long period of time it would start raining on its own. move the sprinklers to another area close by and start the process over again.start by the forest so it wont shrink anymore and would help seed the watered soil.this would take alot of money and hard work but would be well worth it.preserving what little is left of our jungles and rainforest would help out the critters not to mention keep people from moving to other places
"However, because of the poverty in those areas, many of the trees were chopped down for the wood."
And here is the real problem.
If you really want to stop desertification, you need to stop the people responsible for it.