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Sahara Forest

Oil proves the place used to be [edited: *a forest*] covered with water
  (+4, -2)
(+4, -2)
  [vote for,

[Edited] Why cant it be planned and done again?

+: Oxygen, Wildlife, Habitable area

-: May hurt tribes, May disturb existing desert wildlife, may damage oil-industry.
Solutions: Do it only far from tribes locations, research desert wildlife in each area before changing it. Check that there are reserves of desert for sustaining those. And work far from oil fields, or in a way that oil fields do not mind.

pashute, Dec 13 2010

Feel free Solar_20Desalination_20Aquaduct
elf promotion. [FlyingToaster, Dec 13 2010]

Magnus Larson http://www.ted.com/...o_architecture.html
Terraforming Arrakis... [2 fries shy of a happy meal, Dec 13 2010]

I'd like to see more of this technique Bonsai_20Bullets
[normzone, Dec 13 2010]

Seeding Staff Seeding_20staff
elf promotion as they say, but sadly not yet. [afinehowdoyoudo, Dec 18 2010, last modified Dec 19 2010]

Somehow I missed this one on the halfbakery Irrigate the entire Sahara
Not the tunnel idea, but using geothermal power to move the water [pashute, Nov 29 2012]

Sahara water park http://www.saharasams.com/Default.aspx
... Proves its possible [pashute, Nov 29 2012]

Massive reserves of underground water found under the Sahara http://www.dailymai...s-water-Africa.html
[pashute, Nov 29 2012]

Sahara forest project http://www.treehugg...african-desert.html
Seems someone had this idea in 2008 and seriously contemplated it. Using seawater greenhouses. [pashute, Nov 29 2012]

Seawater greenhouse technology http://www.seawater...se.com/process.html
[pashute, Nov 30 2012]


       It can, you just need to transport a lot of water from somewhere where there's lots of the stuff, to somewhere else where there's not enough. Like they did in Phoenix - or Las Vegas. What's missing from doing the same in the Sahara is any clear motivation.   

       So you can plan as much as you like, but in order to get anything done, you need your plan to highlight some big exciting motivational reason to get involved, otherwise, you might not get anyone else to join in.
zen_tom, Dec 13 2010

       olympic tree planting. see who can plant the most trees in a specific time and other sports ...
po, Dec 13 2010

       //tree planting// I imagine shifting dunes are a serious problem(?) and if a fixative of some sort could be applied to the soon-to-be-topsoil to keep it still while grass and trees take hold.
FlyingToaster, Dec 13 2010

       There is a fellow doing just that. Give me a sec.
<later> [link]

       huh, that's sorta neat... very large scale though...a 6,000 mi long apartment building
FlyingToaster, Dec 13 2010

       [MFD] Not an idea. Not that I dislike the aim.
marklar, Dec 13 2010

       I imagine a forest full of living obstacles would be inconvenient, politically and physically, for the folks who collect all that oil.
21 Quest, Dec 13 2010

       There is a below-sea level place in Libya where one could pipe fresh water, generated by a gravity driven reverse-osmosis setup. That would be a good place to start. Or at least you could have farms.
bungston, Dec 13 2010

       This is definitely an idea.   

       In answer to Tom: The benefit is for cooling the earth drastically, and creating a location for many more people (and wildlife) to live. Oh and a lot of clean air (taking in CO2 and other toxins and emitting a lot of oxygen).   

       Most of the sahara is empty. The oil "fields" are a tiny spec in that giant desert. And you dont do it anywhere near where the tribes live - they too are a spec in that desert. Maps.google for Sahara.   

       Industries don't mind trees, if they are on the border of their area, and if they are not permitted to remove them... I've been passing daily by a large construction team who took down trees along kilometers of roadway. They camp at the entrance to a village under a group of large trees that they can't take down (because its the village's property)...
pashute, Dec 21 2010

       Why grow a forest in the Sahara? There are lots of places which had forests in historic times where you could grow forest again. Like Scotland. The Scottish tribes might be coopted to help with the plan or at least could be played off against each other while you work on the forest. Or Michigan.
bungston, Dec 21 2010

       because its a gigantic area. It would change the global warming to an issue of how to artificially warm the planet with too much cooling.   

       and [2fries] thanks for the great link! I was not aware of Magnus Larson.
pashute, Dec 21 2010

       : ]
love those Ted talks.

       As a rule, oil indicates prior ocean status, not prior forest status.
MechE, Nov 29 2012

       Meche can you give a source?
pashute, Nov 30 2012

       What [MechE] said. Also, the conditions that favoured oil production occurred a very long time ago. The earth has radically changed since then. For instance, there is coal in Antarctica - along with fossil remains of dinosaurs and tropical forests.
spidermother, Nov 30 2012

       I'll quote the first paragraph of the wikipedia article on petroleum (emphasis mine):   

       "it is formed when large quantities of dead organisms, USUALLY ZOOPLANKTON and ALGAE, are buried underneath sedimentary rock and undergo intense heat and pressure"   

       Large scale plant matter under slightly different conditions produce coal.
MechE, Nov 30 2012

       Personally, it is my opinion that the Saharan tribes would prefer living in a forest anyway.   

       Additionally, this would IMPROVE the environment despite the prior existence of dessert creatures. A forrest supports much more and more diverse life than a dessert, which by definition supports little life.
Kansan101, Nov 30 2012

       I recently started thinking that this idea could be good for the African 'refugees' now flocking into Israel through Sudan, Libya, Egypt and across the Sinai desert.   

       First I saw a TED show from Sudan, where a young woman talks about how terrible it is that ALL young men and most young women gave up all hope for turning their country into a place people will want to live in, and all say if they have a chance of leaving they would rather never come back. Then she continues to discuss the virtue of "talking positive" and looking for a way to steer the people into action for making their country a better place to live in.   

       Before the establishment of Israel, the Zionist movement had made "Hachshara" - groups of young people who learned to work in agriculture and lead a communal life, so when they finally come "back to the homeland" they would either join or establish a Kibbutz.   

       I spoke recently at length with one young Eritrean man who was working in a lumber yard, where I was doing some of my recent experiments. Prior to that he had worked here for two years in a hotel. He spoke his native language, as well as Arabic which he learned in Libya, Sudanese when in a refugee camp there, and now Hebrew. He studied 1 year of biology at a university somewhere (probably Moroco). He had a wife and two kids at home, and the status of a refugee in Israel, so that he would not be deported. He did not believe there could be anything done to improve life at his homeland.   

       So here's the idea: Create a "hachshara" type of place, in Israel's desert places. Its totally voluntary to join the program. They get together to create a type of community that works. (99% of the people who come are hard working and willing to anything for a living). Then with the help of the Israeli government, purchase desert land in their own countries and build up a large and prospering farm, feeding their own people and teaching the system to many more.   

       Most of these 'poverty refugees', a few of which are genuine war refugees, come from arid and desert areas.   

       Local Muslim Arab Bedouins would be invited to participate as well.
pashute, Dec 03 2012

       Feels like a good idea. You should post it seperately and link this post to that.   

       I’ve seen proposals to irrigate the Sahara, with thin coverings to prevent evaporation, but the goal is to make agricultural land, not combat global warming.   

       Desert has a much high albedo (that is, shinier) than forest (about 0.4 vs 0.08 to 0.18), so while turning desert into forest or farmland has benefits, reducing global warming might not be one of them. Considering solar power only, deserts are significant planet coolers, forests, warmers.   

       Of course, plant land have the potential (though not the certainty) to remove (sequester) carbon, reducing atmospheric greenhouse gasses, so their global temperature impact is more complicated than just their albedo indicates, but still, they’re no panacea for reducing or reversing global warming.
CraigD, Dec 03 2012

       Interesting point D. Thanks! (Or is Craig your first name)
pashute, Dec 04 2012

       Deserts have a high albedo, but forests actually absorb energy (as well as carbon). It's hard to find exact numbers, but, while the balance appears to still favor desert (estimate is 40% reflection vs. 18% reflection and 2-4% absorption), it's not 1:1.   

       In combination with the tradeoffs of increased cloud cover, which tends to have a higher albedo than desert or forest (depending on the clouds), I'm not sure which way it would break. The resulting reduction in CO2 would be a net benefit, however.
MechE, Dec 04 2012

       Hmm. So maybe too many trees caused the ice ages?
pashute, Dec 07 2012


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