Super Tankers could become the environment’s best allies
Tuesday, 14 February 2012 | 00:00
For thousands of years humanity has farmed the land and failed to stop the onset of desertification due to poor soil and irrigation water management.
Food and fuel prices are out of control as crops continue to fail and fossil fuels are being exhausted.
Drought and famine are becoming acceptable failures and millions of people are again staring death in the face.
Deserts are expanding and farmers are forced to migrate to cities; pollution is inevitable from our consume and dump lifestyle.
Unemployment is rising and economies are teetering on the brink of economic meltdown.
Flash floods and forest fires are becoming all too familiar as uneven distribution of rainfall wreaks havoc. Erosion of top soil spills into rivers and pours into the ocean along with wastewater from our toilets.
If business as usual continues unchecked and these trends continue, our very survival is threatened and we are destined to go the way of the dinosaurs!
The Only Solution
Operation OASIS is a project that solves each of the above problems by taking the surplus treated wastewater from countries that produce excess to arid coastlines in returning supertankers as ballast. 1/3 of a tankers capacity is used to transport sea water as ballast in segregated ballast tanks, back to countries affected by desertification where it is discharged into distant coastal waters often introducing invasive species which destroy marine life and fish stocks.
Our proposal is to substitute sea water for treated wastewater, which will ultimately be used for restoring coastal forests and vegetation in arid coastal zones, to restore soils and increase rainfall, removing the wastewater that pollutes developed countries’ coastlines.
Animals, through digesting seeds and depositing them in the soil, assist the natural regeneration of many tree and plant species. If we copy their example, our own manure and urine would return the water, nutrients and organic matter required to transform the arid sand and stones into rich, life-supporting, water-retaining soil, putting an end to marine pollution and building sustainable farming and forestry industries to provide employment that supplies food, fuel and energy for our expanding populations.
Operation OASIS approaches the desertification problem from the coastlines and focusses on restoring coastal forests to draw in moisture from the ocean by moving the thermal barrier inland to draw in further moisture and precipitation to support reforestation and agriculture. In addition we intend to use fog nets to recycle ocean borne fog, transpiration and evaporated irrigation water back to the soil, and for producing potable water.
The return ballast capacity of tankers is currently used for transporting billions of tonnes of sea water a year, which ultimately is discharged back into the ocean at great cost to the environment and to our fuel prices. Sterilisation of sea water ballast is a primary concern for the reduction in the introduction of invasive species. Sterilisation plants are being installed on VLCC's and ULCC's costing £billions to shipping,
Together with running costs and delays caused by processing the sea water, this is a significant burden on bulk shipping, that adds to the cost of fuel and an unnecessary waste of resources.
A third of all land claimed by desert is perhaps an understatement of the severity of arable soil losses; even in East Anglia we can see this effect with prolonged droughts due to intensive monoculture cash crops and farming's over reliance on chemical fertilizers.
The reason that water transportation to arid areas is not yet a major issue is that no one as yet is addressing this most fundamental requirement for sustaining life in arid coastal regions affected by an inherent and obvious lack of water! Israel, who currently lead the field of irrigation and desert reclamation have seriously depleted ground water and rivers in a bid to reforest arid land. Israel are also using waste water as are many other countries, including Egypt, Spain, Italy Morocco, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Portugal etc. The main problem is that despite this, there is simply not enough irrigation and waste water to address the massive problems of drought and desertification.
Reusing treated waste water in countries affected by desertification is in wide use, becoming more common and is proven to work well with soils devoid of organic material for both reforestation and agriculture.
We are proposing a pilot project in Andalucia Spain using towable flexible water barges to move waste water from source to reforest and restore the soil as a sustainable economical solution to increasing worthwhile employment in this region. The City of Santa Pola are behind the project and have already suggested suitable areas. History of desertification in the Mediterranean:
Instead of depleting underground water supplies, our approach will help to restore already depleted and contaminated aquifers and drive out the saline water that has rendered farmland infertile.
Operation OASIS will make use of gully irrigation, which has been tried and tested over thousands of years and is ultimately the most cost-effective methodology for transporting many thousands of cubic meters of water to trees and crops. This is how nature moves water! Towable water bowsers and semi-permeable irrigation pipework (which resists blockage from algae) to reach areas beyond the gravity flow of irrigation. Water. lagoons will also be established to provide low cost storage for water and to create new wildlife habitats. The project will introduce biosolids (solid waste from water treatment plants) to condition the soils to store water and prevent run-off.
Farming and Forestry
Agroforestry-based practices are by far the most productive and sustainable solution for shielding crops from the sun and providing fuel, timber, fruits, nuts and animal fodder.
Our main concerns are restricting over-grazing by goats and cattle and providing an education resource for best practice soil management.
By engaging and empowering local communities in the techniques required to succeed, Operation OASIS will be rolled out in many countries and this feasible approach will ultimately lead to a significant positive effect on local and global climate.
We are fully aware of the failures as well as the successes with reforestation of arid land, particularly the low survival of trees in China. There is another Great wall of trees that is successful in Sub Sahara Africa. Here the Hadley Cell provides the precipitation essential for supporting their efforts. This system is supported by Dr Jibunoh and Fade Africa: Who are fully supporting Operation OASIS.
Our approach is different.
Humanity for thousands of years has been fighting a losing battle against the deserts. Irrigation channels can be seen in satellite images, etched in the sands around past civilization remnants. You cannot make it rain in the desert but you can convert the desert into rainforests!
The opposite effect is self-evident when the world’s mightiest rivers run dry!
The FREdome Visionary Trust, which supports and sponsors Operation OASIS is an NGO with a charitable constitution. Together we have put forward an application for funding from the E.U. Communications strand of the Life Plus Initiatives and have raised £250k matched funding from Liverpool Uni, Seville Uni, City of Santa Pola, Green Europe and FREdome. Cranfield University, who are leading soil experts in the UK have also joined our funding application and support this approach.
The FREdome Visionary Trust Sponsors Operation OASIS because it is a beautiful common sense approach that encompasses the facts that rainforests need access to airborne moisture from the coastlines and that vegetation transforms carbon emissions and waste into food and fuel. These facts are as obvious, simple and fundamental to our very existence as the facts that we breathe oxygen, drink water, eat food and burn carbohydrates/hydrocarbons.
However, because humanity has lost sight of them, vast swathes of the globe have been desertified, photosynthesis no longer occurs on a sufficient scale, there is a build-up of carbon emissions & waste and a shortage of natural resources, now causing our primary industries to falter.
Operation OASIS will help restore the carbon, water and nutrient cycles. This restoration needs to be elevated to at least the same level as the mantras of cutting carbon emissions, carbon sequestration and solar/wind/wave power. We need to secure international funding to drive forward this crucial programme.
The FREdome Visionary Trust is convening a second All Party Parliamentary Meeting at the Houses of Parliament on the 7th of March 2012 at 4pm, in the Jubilee Room, House of Commons, Palace of Westminster, LONDON SW1A 0AA UK, following a successful prior presentation on the merits of Operation OASIS.
Source: Operation OASIS