Introduction to Operation OASIS

The massive waste water problem that currently pollutes our bathing waters costing £billions to process throughout the world can be used to irrigate and reforest desert coastlines to induce rainfall.

Our aim is to use the return ballast capacity of super crude carriers which currently transport sea water half way around the world at great financial and environmental cost. This ballast is discharged into the sea, often introducing invasive marine species which affects the stability of indigenous species of flora and fauna.

The E.U. is legislating against this practice and tanker operators will be forced to seek an alternative.

Operation OASIS offers an exciting opportunity for ballast water. Transporting treated waste water to irrigate and reforest arid coastlines to induce rainfall has to be the way forward.

One tanker loaded with 300000 cubic meters of treated waste water would support 57 hectares of forest for a whole year.

Reclaiming deserts to enable people to feed themselves and grow great forests will offset the carbon emissions from shipping.

With global food shortages upon us we are already feeling the strain on our pockets in the developed world and renewable resources are in rapid decline. Drought is affecting all major food producing countries and wells are running dry. Water scarcity poses major problems for us and our children. We need to act fast in order to avert a major global catastrophe.

When the mighty river Amazon dries up and it's fish stocks die it is time to take stock on how we manage our fragile environment. For more detailed information visit our website and forum at:

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Millions at risk in expanding dust bowls

The Independent 13th June 1994 Nicholas Schoon Environmental Correspondent
Millions at risk in expanding dust bowls
THE WORLD is running short of fertile soil. The UN estimates that 900 million people dependent on agriculture in the drylands of the Americas Africa and Asia are at risk-one sixth of the world's population-and says loss of soil fertility represents a greater threat to the poor than global warming or holes in the ozone layer.
This week in Paris, delegates from more than 100 nations hope to conclude negotiations aimed at halting the degradation of croplands and pasture. But as the talks on the International Convention broke up for the weekend, they were bogged down for the usual reason-money. Developing countries were holding out for an increase in foreign aid, which rich countries had no intention of conceding
Bo Kjellen, the Swedish diplomat chairing .the talks for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), believes it will be all sorted out by Thursday, in time for the closing ceremony. Recent negotiations of UN environmental and developmental treaties have seen the Third World forced to accept the harsh reality that they cannot make the wealthy promise money. On the contrary, aid budgets have been in decline due to global recession and new demands from Eastern Europe. But the desertification treaty does not depend on aid to be effective. Its premise is that much of the billions of pounds put into attacking the problem so far have been miss directed and achieved nothing. It calls for changes in the attitudes and conduct of the ruling elite's in developing countries.
Anything can be grown in abundance in the drylands and desert, given enough money, fertiliser, water and technology. Saudi Arabia grows thousands of tonnes of wheat a year. But peasant farmers in arid areas lack those resources. A dearth of fertile soil drives them on to marginal lands, such as steep hillsides, where poor crop yields soon get worse.
The choping down of trees for fuel and over grazing are to blame for thinning out roots and leaves, which protect the soil from wind and water erosion. Irrigation has also damaged soil, leaving the top encrusted with salt, and useless.
UNEP estimates that just under a tenth of the world's land surface is significantly degraded. An area the size of Italy is said to be no longer usable for agriculture and difficult or impossible to restore.
In Sub Saharan Africa, per capita food production fell be nearly 10 per cent between 1986 and 1992.
In the 1970s and 80s the idea that deserts were on the march became fashionable. It was widely reported that the Sahara was moving south at thirty miles a year, with farming and grazing at its margins mainly to blame.
Those alarmist notions are now largely discredited. Satellite images and research have shown that far from there being a one way expansion caused by mankind. Deserts expand and shrink as rainfall changes over the years.
This debate over how much dryland crop failures and shortages are due to natural drought and how much to manmade degradation is a sterile one. From the north east of Brazil to the north west of China and all through Africa's Sahel, the twin causes are extricably linked.
Rainfall and soils need to be conserved from one year to the next, yet population growth and poverty compel peasant farmers to do otherwise. They have to grow as much as they can wherever they can to feed their families, even if they degrade the soil and leave it more vulnerable to erosion.
Camilla Toulmin, an expert on drylands at the London Based International Institute of Environment and Development, has a diagram of the causes of desertification. She lists 24, including, no access to credit, insecure land tenure, and high levels of government debt to industrialised nations.
Can a new treaty do anything to tackle this complex problem? Sceptics point to the last similar UN effort, the 1977 Action Plan to Combat Desertification, now regarded as a failure.
Mr Kejellen says this time the emphasis is on the dryland herders and farmers. Only with the support of
villagers can soils be conserved, droughts resisted and degraded lands brought back into production.
Another belief reflected in the convention is that the solutions that are often low-technology, labour intensive ones which tap into local folk wisdom and long experience of the environment.
Mrs Toulmin, who has advised the treaty's secretariat, says the convention sets out a code of conduct for both developing countries and aid-giving nations. Rights for local people are an important element; if they are in danger of being evicted from their land to make room for civil servants and government supporters, they can never take a long term view on conserving it.
If the forestry department refuses to let them chop down trees they themselves have planted, why should they bother in the first place? Mrs Toulmin says: "Soil and rainfall conservation won't happen unless people feel secure about their rights over their land".

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