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:

Friday, 3 August 2012

Tanker Operator Reports concerns over ballast water management convention

Tanker Operator

ICS airs concerns over ballast water management convention
(Aug  3  2012)

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has called on the IMO to address critical issues concerning the imminent implementation of the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention.

Despite delays by governments with respect to ratification, the 2004 BWM Convention is expected to enter into force within the next two years.

ICS director of regulatory affairs, David Tongue, explained: “Shipping companies represented by our member national associations have serious concerns about the availability of suitable ballast water treatment equipment, the robustness of the type approval process and, above all, the difficulties of retrofitting tens of thousands of existing ships within the time frame established by the BWM Convention.”

In a submission to the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), which meets in October, ICS has requested that the issue of fixed dates for the retrofitting of expensive new equipment by large numbers of ships, perhaps as many as 60,000, needs to be addressed urgently. ICS said that a serious discussion is needed at IMO before the Convention enters into force.

In particular, in view of the bottlenecks that will be created when the Convention enters in force, with many ships having to be retrofitted either before their next special survey, or their next intermediate survey, ICS has proposed that the IMO should modify the BWM Convention’s requirements so that existing ships should not be required to be retrofitted with treatment equipment until their next full special survey.

In view of the pressures on shipyards that will need to fit the equipment, this would smooth out implementation over a five-year timeline around the date of entry into force of the Convention, rather than two, or three years, as at present.

Moreover, in order to make it possible for other ships to be retrofitted within the required time frame, ICS has proposed that ships approaching their fourth special survey should be exempted from the equipment requirements.

Tongue added: “Given that the costs of fitting the treatment equipment may be in the order of $1 to $5 mill a ship, it does not make economic sense for older ships approaching the end of their lives to incur this huge expenditure. However, the impact on the environment of exempting them would be negligible since these ships will still be required to perform deep water ballast exchange at sea for the two, or three remaining years that most of them will continue to operate.”

In the event that IMO does not accept the suggestion that ships should not be required to retrofit until their next five-year renewal survey, ICS suggested that ships over 18 years old should be exempted from the equipment requirements.

In practice, changes to the BWM Convention cannot be adopted until after it enters into force, but given the importance of ensuring smooth implementation ICS saw no reason why IMO cannot agree provisional changes with respect to detailed implementation in advance.

In a separate submission, ICS has requested that IMO considers modifying its current draft guidelines for type approval of equipment and for ballast water sampling and analysis that will be used by port state control, so that as far as possible they are comparable with those recently adopted by the US.

Tongue said: “A large proportion of the fleet will have to comply with the US requirements, which cannot be changed. For the sake of global uniformity we think it would be helpful if the relevant IMO Guidelines can be modified.”

A most important consideration, according to ICS, is that the US standards for type approval of equipment, under its Environmental Verification Program, are far more robust than the IMO equivalent.

Some of the equipment, already approved in line with original IMO standards, has already had to be withdrawn because it has been demonstrated not to deliver the agreed IMO ‘kill standard’ for removing unwanted marine micro-organisms.
The International Chamber of Shipping, 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Inside Out East: Monday October 13, 2003


Reporter in the woods
Reporter uncovers the full story
In 1703, a catastrophic hurricane ripped across East Anglia. It was the worst storm in British history and killed 8,000 people. But could global warming make tomorrow's weather even more violent? Inside Out investigates.
It is 300 years since villages from Northamptonshire to Suffolk were decimated by 'The Great Storm'. But only now is the full story emerging.
The first complete account of the impact of the storm on the East of England has just been written by Martin Brayne.
The hurricane on 26 November 1703 tore across East Anglia, ripping up everything in its wake.
Unlike today's storms, when we have advanced warning and can prepare for the worst, the poor souls of 1703 had no idea what was about to hit them.
Hurricanes originate in the Tropics.
A storm featuring winds of over 74mph is often referred to as a hurricane.
A hurricane is a fierce rotating storm with an intense centre of low pressure. In south-east Asia they’re known as 'typhoons' and in the Indian Ocean, 'cyclones'.
In 1998, Hurricane Gilbert produced 160 mph winds, killing 318 people, and devastating Jamaica.
The United Kingdom is actually the World’s most tornado-prone nation.
Wind speeds in tornadoes can vary from 72 to almost 300 mph. Fortunately, only 2 percent of all tornadoes have winds greater than 200 mph.

Men and animals were lifted into the air

Winds and rain lashed the entire country and floods were reported almost everywhere.
Winds of up to 80mph killed 123 people and destroyed more than 400 windmills - many of which caught fire due to the friction of their wildly-spinning sails.

Daniel Defoe, who travelled the country afterwards assessing the damage, reported that men and animals were lifted off their feet and carried for yards through the air and that lead roofs were ripped from one hundred churches.
The Robinson Crusoe author reported seeing a tornado which "snapped the body of an oak".
15,000 sheep were drowned in floods near Bristol and 800 houses were completely destroyed.
At Cambridge, falling masonry wrecked the organ of St Mary’s church, newly installed at a cost of £1,500 - and King’s College Chapel was badly damaged - pinnacles were toppled and much of the fine late medieval stained glass ruined.
Martin Brayne
Author Martin Brayne has written a full account of the storm

The death of a fleet - and a lighthouse

Some 8,000 sailors perished as the storm decimated the British fleet. Hundreds of vessels were lost, including four Royal Navy men-of-war.
One ship at Whitstable in Kent was lifted from the sea and reputedly dropped some 250 yards in land.
Famously also, Henry Winstanley had the misfortune to be in the wooden lighthouse which he had designed on Eddystone Rocks of Plymouth on 26 November, and was killed.

What has the future in store?

While the events of 1703 may seem safely tucked away in the depths of history, more recent events
have also savaged the British Isles.
In 1987, winds gusting up to 115mph cut a swathe of destruction across London and the Home Counties. There were 19 deaths and the storms caused an estimated £1bn of damage.
While not quite on the scale of the 1703 storms, this kind of extreme weather is enough to convince some people that the global warming is about to unleash a natural disaster of Biblical proportions on the South of England.
Predictions by the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia put global sea level rises between 12cm and 67cm by 2050.
Many ships were lost in 1703

Parts of East Anglia as well as parts of the south east could end up under water

The threat of rising sea levels is compounded by the fact that the UK is gradually tilting. The south east of the country is sinking while the north west is rising.
This could make any future storms - and the resulting flooding - even more devastating.
Martin Brayne says: "Rising sea levels caused by global warming, together with increased amount of building on low-lying coastal areas, mean that a storm as severe as the Great Storm would have even more devastating effects, [though] the Thames Barrier would protect London."

What can be done?

"By sharing technologies, experience and resources," says BBC Meteorologist Helen Willetts, "We can hopefully lower the greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the threat of global climate change.
"Choose clean energy options where available, such as wind, solar and wave power, these do not emit greenhouse gases and are renewable.
"Individually, we can recycle material, insulate our homes, take public transport and think about energy efficiency in the home."
And it is clear that whatever can be done, should be done.
One thing is for certain, nobody wants to experience the horrors of 1703 again!

Monday, 11 June 2012


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Destroyed houses at Hallsands (beneath the cliffs) and Trout's Hotel and the Coastguard Cottages (on the cliff)
Hallsands is a deserted village and beach in south Devon, England, in a precarious position between cliffs and the sea, between Beesands to the north and Start Point to the south.



The early history of Hallsands is unknown, but a chapel has existed there since at least 1506. The site of the village was located at a cave known as Poke Hole, and probably was not inhabited before 1600.[1] The village grew in size during the 18th and 19th centuries, and by 1891 it had 37 houses, a spring, a public house called the London Inn, and a population of 159. Most residents of Hallsands at that time depended on fishing for a living, particularly crab fishing on the nearby Skerries Bank.

Hallsands in 1885.
In the 1890s, following a scheme proposed by Sir John Jackson, it was decided to expand the naval dockyard at Keyham, near Plymouth, and dredging began offshore from Hallsands to provide sand and gravel for its construction. Soon, up to 1,600 tons of material was being removed each day, and the level of the beach began to drop, much to the alarm of local residents.[2] The Board of Trade agreed to establish a local inquiry in response to protests from villagers, who feared that the dredging might destabilise the beach and thereby threaten the village. The inquiry found that the activity was not likely to pose a significant threat to the village, so dredging continued.[3] By 1900, however, the level of the beach had started to fall. In the autumn storms that year, part of the sea wall was washed away. In November 1900, villagers petitioned their Member of Parliament complaining of damage to their houses, and in March 1901 Kingsbridge Rural District Council wrote to the Board of Trade complaining of damage to the road. In September 1901 a new Board of Trade inspector concluded that further severe storms could cause serious damage and recommended that dredging be stopped. On 8 January 1902 the dredging licence was revoked. During 1902 the level of the beach recovered; however the winter of 1902 brought more storms and damage.
On 26 January 1917, a combination of easterly gales and exceptionally high tides breached Hallsands' defences, and by the end of that year only one house remained habitable. The villagers' fight for compensation took seven years.

Present Day

Hallsands in 1992
The site of the old village at South Hallsands, is closed, although South Hams District Council has built a viewing platform, which is accessed from Trout's Apartments (formerly Trout's Hotel) in South Hallsands.
The beach at North Hallsands, known locally at the time as "Greenstraight", is the only one remaining at Hallsands as the beach beside the village no longer exists having been removed in 1917 by the storm.
There are two houses that remain intact, although in summer the owners spend much time repairing the damage the easterly winds have caused over the winter.
In May 2012, an access road, viewing platform and two houses were affected by a 200 tonne landslide, leading to the houses being evacuated and the affected area cordoned off by police [4]. There was further damage to remaining houses at the site.

Friday, 11 May 2012

NASA - Ancient Dry Spells Offer Clues About the Future of Drought

NASA - Ancient Dry Spells Offer Clues About the Future of Drought

Ancient Dry Spells Offer Clues About the Future of Drought
Related briefing materials may be found here.

As parts of Central America and the U.S. Southwest endure some of the worst droughts to hit those areas in decades, scientists have unearthed new evidence about ancient dry spells that suggest the future could bring even more serious water shortages. Three researchers speaking at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco on Dec. 5, 2011, presented new findings about the past and future of drought.

New research indicates that the ancient Mesoamerican civilizations of the Mayans and Aztecs amplified droughts in the Yucatán and southern Mexico by clearing rainforests to make room for pastures and farmland. (Credit: Kayvon Sharghi, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

Pre-Columbian Collapse

Ben Cook, a climatologist affiliated with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York City, highlighted new research that indicates the ancient Meso-American civilizations of the Mayans and Aztecs likely amplified droughts in the Yucatán Peninsula and southern and central Mexico by clearing rainforests to make room for pastures and farmland.

Converting forest to farmland can increase the reflectivity, or albedo, of the land surface in ways that affect precipitation patterns. "Farmland and pastures absorb slightly less energy from the sun than the rainforest because their surfaces tend to be lighter and more reflective," explained Cook. "This means that there’s less energy available for convection and precipitation."

map of pre-Columbian precipitation decline in Central America New climate modeling shows that widespread deforestation in pre-Columbian Central America corresponded with decreased levels of precipitation. This image shows how much precipitation declined from normal across the region between 800 C.E. and 950 C.E. It was during this period of time that the Mayan civilization reached its peak population and abruptly collapsed. (Credit: Ben Cook, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies)
› Larger image

Cook and colleagues used a high-resolution climate model developed at GISS to run simulations that compared how patterns of vegetation cover during pre-Columbian (before 1492 C.E.) and post-Columbian periods affected precipitation and drought in Central America. The pre-Columbian era saw widespread deforestation on the Yucatán Peninsula and throughout southern and central Mexico. During the post-Columbian period, forests regenerated as native populations declined and farmlands and pastures were abandoned.

Cook's simulations include input from a newly published land-cover reconstruction that is one of the most complete and accurate records of human vegetation changes available. The results are unmistakable: Precipitation levels declined by a considerable amount -- generally 10 to 20 percent -- when deforestation was widespread. Precipitation records from stalagmites, a type of cave formation affected by moisture levels that paleoclimatologists use to deduce past climate trends, in the Yucatán agree well with Cook's model results.

The effect is most noticeable over the Yucatán Peninsula and southern Mexico, areas that overlapped with the centers of the Mayan and Aztec civilizations and had high levels of deforestation and the most densely concentrated populations. Rainfall levels declined, for example, by as much as 20 percent over parts of the Yucatán Peninsula between 800 C.E. and 950 C.E.

Cook's study supports previous research that suggests drought, amplified by deforestation, was a key factor in the rapid collapse of the Mayan empire around 950 C.E. In 2010, Robert Oglesby, a climate modeler based at the University of Nebraska, published a study in the Journal of Geophysical Research that showed that deforestation likely contributed to the Mayan collapse. Though Oglesby and Cook's modeling reached similar conclusions, Cook had access to a more accurate and reliable record of vegetation changes.

During the peak of Mayan civilization between 800 C.E. and 950 C.E., the land cover reconstruction Cook based his modeling on indicates that the Maya had left only a tiny percentage of the forests on the Yucatán Peninsula intact. By the period between 1500 C.E. and 1650 C.E., in contrast, after the arrival of Europeans had decimated native populations, natural vegetation covered nearly all of the Yucatán. In modern times, deforestation has altered some areas near the coast, but a large majority of the peninsula’s forests remain intact.

"I wouldn't argue that deforestation causes drought or that it's entirely responsible for the decline of the Maya, but our results do show that deforestation can bias the climate toward drought and that about half of the dryness in the pre-Colonial period was the result of deforestation," Cook said.

Northeastern Megadroughts

Piermont Marsh photograph Sediment cores from Piermont Marsh and other locations in the Hudson River Valley show major droughts have occurred in the Northeast. Credit: Dorothy Peteet, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies
› Larger image
The last major drought to affect the Northeast occurred in the 1960s, persisted for about three years and took a major toll on the region. Dorothy Peteet, a paleoclimatologist also affiliated with NASA GISS and Columbia University, has uncovered evidence that shows far more severe droughts have occurred in the Northeast.

By analyzing sediment cores collected from several tidal marshes in the Hudson River Valley, Peteet and her colleagues at Lamont-Doherty have found evidence that at least three major dry spells have occurred in the Northeast within the last 6,000 years. The longest, which corresponds with a span of time known as the Medieval Warm Period, lasted some 500 years and began around 850 C.E. The other two took place more than 5,000 years ago. They were shorter, only about 20 to 40 years, but likely more severe.

"People don't generally think about the Northeast as an area that can experience drought, but there's geologic evidence that shows major droughts can and do occur," Peteet said. "It's something scientists can't ignore. What we’re finding in these sediment cores has big implications for the region."

Peteet's team detected all three droughts using a method called X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. They used the technique on a core collected at Piermont Marsh in New York to search for characteristic elements -- such as bromine and calcium -- that are more likely to occur at the marsh during droughts.

Fresh water from the Hudson River and salty water from the Atlantic Ocean were both predominant in Piermont Marsh at different time periods, but saltwater moves upriver during dry periods as the amount of fresh water entering the marsh declines. Peteet's team detected extremely high levels of both bromine and calcium, both of them indicators of the presence of saltwater and the existence of drought, in sections of the sediment cores corresponding to 5,745 and 5,480 years ago.

During the Medieval Warm Period, the researchers also found striking increases in the abundance of certain types of pollen species, especially pine and hickory, that indicate a dry climate. Before the Medieval Warm Period, in contrast, there were more oaks, which prefer wetter conditions. They also found a thick layer of charcoal demonstrating that wildfires, which are more frequent during droughts, were common during the Medieval Warm Period.

"We still need to do more research before we can say with confidence how widespread or frequent droughts in the Northeast have been," Peteet said. There are certain gaps in the cores Peteet's team studied, for example, that she plans to investigate in greater detail. She also expects to expand the scope of the project to other marshes and estuaries in the Northeast and to collaborate with climate modelers to begin teasing out the factors that cause droughts to occur in the region.

The Future of Food

women in Senegal New modeling demonstrates that parts of Africa will be among the areas hardest hit by changes in agricultural productivity due to droughts driven by climate change. Here women in Senegal take a break from crushing millet. Credit: Molly Brown, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
› Larger image
Climate change, with its potential to redistribute water availability around the globe by increasing rainfall in some areas while worsening drought in others, might negatively impact crop yields in certain regions of the world.

New research conducted by Princeton University hydrologist Justin Sheffield shows that areas of the developing world that are drought-prone and have growing population and limited capabilities to store water, such as sub-Saharan Africa, will be the ones most at risk of seeing their crops decrease their yields in the future.

Sheffield and his team ran hydrological model simulations for the 20th and 21st centuries and looked at how drought might change in the future according to different climate change scenarios. They found that the total area affected by drought has not changed significantly over the past 50 years globally.

However, the model shows reductions in precipitation and increases in evaporative demand are projected to increase the frequency of short-term droughts. They also found that the area across sub-Saharan Africa experiencing drought will rise by as much as twofold by mid-21st century and threefold by the end of the century.

When the team analyzed what these changes would mean for future agricultural productivity around the globe, they found that the impact on sub-Saharan Africa would be especially strong.

Agricultural productivity depends on a number of factors beyond water availability including soil conditions, available technologies and crop varieties. For some regions of sub-Saharan Africa, the researchers found that agricultural productivity will likely decline by over 20 percent by mid-century due to drying and warming.
Adam Voiland and Maria José-Viñas
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Flooding of the Fens in 1947. East Anglia


The film begins with high-angle shots of flooded countryside, possibly Mr. Starling's own farm. A car is stopped at the edge of flood water that lies across the road. Shots of the Wash flooded between Suspension Bridge and Welney Village. This is the area where the New Bedford River, the Old Bedford River and the River Delph, all man-made drains, run parallel and within a few yards of each other. Osiers and farm buildings rise above the flood waters. A panning shot shows a deserted bicycle and broken fences. The tops of the banks of the drains are sometimes visible above the flood waters. There is a long shot of a steam pumping station alongside the New Bedford between Pymoor and Welney. Smoke is pouring from the chimney, suggesting that the station is at full capacity. Men stand on a sandbag jetty surveying the flood waters. Flood water pours through a gap in the bank and the men stand by, helpless. There are scenes of the flooding alongside the London to Kings Lynn railway line. A man watches the floods and there are shots of the flooding and of a road from the railway line. This may be where the railway line and a road cross at Station Farm, Ten Mile Bank. There are shots of the flood showing submerged farm buildings and the water level up to the lower windows of the houses. The flood water is pouring through the banks and over the road. This may be at Hilgay, where the River Wissey burst its banks. Men and troops are laying sandbags and there are brief night shots of the flood patrol. In daylight, there are further shots of the Pymoor to Welney Road and of the river bank, by Mr. Starling's farm. Residents gather by the edge of the flood, in front of houses. A military vehicle crosses the flood. There are further shots of the banks, re-inforced with brushes made from brushwood. A pumping sub-station is semi-submerged. There are shots from inside a larger pumping station and the film shows large pipes pumping the water into the river. There are individual pumps alongside the road. The final scenes show the damage lift by the floods. Pools of flood water remain and the land appears devastated, with debris lying around. There are many dilapidated farm buildings, brick structures as well as wooden ones. The final, brief scene shows tow boys on the beach.

Background Information:

Claude Starling farmed at Primrose Hill Farm, Pymoor. Local men formed groups to patrol the banks of the drains at night to give and early warning of and breaches.The winter of 1947 was harsh and heavy snow fell, lying on the ground until March. The thaw was sudden and combined with rain and high spring tides. This meant that the Denver Sluice and other sluice gates where the river was still tidal, could only be opened for short periods. The water couldn't get away. This was probably the most serious flooding known in the Fens. The Ouse Washes flooded on March 13th and the River Ouse at Ely burst its banks at Ely, flooding house and Ely Station. The railway was flooded to the North of Littleport. Many people had to by evacuated from their homes. On 16th March 100 mph gales were recorded. These brought down telegraph wires and trees. By March 20th waters were rising by 12 inches an hour. Some of the floods water remained lying on the land for two months.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

The stark contrast of the Ungorogoro crater against the surrounding arid landscape begs the question as to how this remarkable oasis attracts so much rainfall.

In recent years the crater has suffered from severe droughts, followed by biting insects population explosions.

It is the forests that draw in the rainfall that feeds the lake and sustains the varied wildlife permanent residents.

Recent vegetation management (makes me shudder thinking about it) has been achieved using fires?  Mankind does not need to show nature how to manage vegetation. The evidence that we as a species are the anything but able to manage vegetation is reflected in the massive expanses of arid and semi arid regions that border the deserts we have helped to create.

Photgraphs of Ungorogoro Crater and surrounding area

Ngorogoro Crater Precipitation / rainfall

The Northern Parks of Tanzania is one of the last great refuges of the overland safari. Here our guests travel from camp to camp with a driverguide and a private safari vehicle, deploying their time along the way as they see fit. This tends to provide a much greater sense of adventure and a broader experience, since visitors are exposed to the whole of life between and through the parks, rather than being restricted to the areas immediately around the camps. It is a slightly more arduous experience, but should ultimately prove to be more rewarding for the more adventurous visitor.

Ngorongoro Crater
Vehicles descending into the Ngorongoro Crater

7. Maasai interaction

Another real highlight of a Tanzania safari into the Northern Parks is the opportunity to interact with the local Maasai people. Many Tanzania camps have Maasai walking guides and some have a much deeper relationship with the local villages. Walking, hiking and trekking in the fabulous volcanic landscapes of Ngorongoro in the company of genuine Maasai warriors is a real privilege, one which substantially broadens and enriches the safari experience.

Maasai guide from Olduvai Camp in Southcentral Serengeti
Maasai guide from Olduvai Camp in Southcentral Serengeti

Sunday, 8 April 2012

BBC News - Drought fears for Midlands and south-west England

BBC News - Drought fears for Midlands and south-west England

Drought fears for Midlands and south-west England

River Kennet The River Kennet in Berkshire dried up in February

Related Stories

The Midlands and south-west England are at risk of slipping into drought status, the Environment Agency warns.
The government agency expects drought to spread west across the country following the recent dry weather.
It comes amid reports that rivers are at their lowest levels since 1976, with a severe lack of rainfall not seen since the drought of 1921.
From Thursday, hosepipe bans are due to come into force in parts of south-east England and East Anglia.
Those areas are already officially in drought, while that status was declared in South and East Yorkshire earlier this week.
Two years of lower-than-average winter rainfall has meant rivers across the country have not been replenished.
The past week's hot weather saw 1mm or less fall across the whole country, the Environment Agency said in its latest Drought Management Briefing on Friday.
"Without substantial rainfall, the risk of drought could spread to parts of the West Midlands and south-west England," a spokesman said.
Streams 'drying' "It's important that we all use water wisely and use less of it. The amount we use at home and in our businesses has a direct affect on the amount of water available in rivers and for wildlife."
East Anglia saw two-thirds of the normal rainfall for March, with most falling in the first week. Wales had just 27% of its average monthly rainfall.

Water saving tips

  • Turn off taps while brushing teeth, shaving or washing
  • Reuse bath water for house plants or the garden
  • Collect water for plants while waiting for water to run hot
  • Store water in a fridge to avoid running taps for cool water
  • Wash fruit and vegetables in a bowl instead of under a tap
  • Wash cars using a bucket, or just keep headlights, mirrors and windows clean
Most areas received less than half the long-term projections for average rain.
Two-thirds of rivers are at an "exceptionally" low level, while all rivers are experiencing below-normal flows.
The agency said small streams and ponds were drying up in Yorkshire, Oxfordshire and Herefordshire, affecting wildlife and fish.
Farmers in East Anglia are unlikely to be allowed to draw water from the ground or rivers to irrigate crops. Some are reporting crop reductions of between 20-50%, in vegetables like onions and carrots.
Extra capacity is being found in other areas of the country.
Environment Agency water resources head Trevor Bishop told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the situation was becoming more serious.
"If we see a continuation of dry weather, which is now very likely, these conditions will probably extend further westward over the next couple of months.
Infrastructure investment "Our rivers are really important, but also the water is needed for our businesses, people, the economy and for farmers. It's all very reliant on the winter rainfalls, to replenish the natural resources.
"For two years in a row, that simply hasn't happened at sufficient levels."
In recent months, the agency has had to move fish from where river levels are lowest.
Despite the drought, Mr Bishop said water companies were investing in reservoirs, desalination plants and schemes to move water around the country.
Water companies in England and Wales leaked more than 3.3bn litres a day in 2010/11, according to the regulator Ofwat.
Demand for water stands at around 17bn litres a day, according to industry body Water UK.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Andrew K Fletcher – Originator, Operation OASIS We are turning Our Planet Earth into a giant desert! The time for talking is gone! We need to act now if we are to avert catastrophic Climate Change!

Andrew K Fletcher – Originator, Operation OASIS We are turning Our Planet
Earth into a giant desert!
The time for talking is gone!
We need to act now if we are to
avert catastrophic Climate

Image credit: NASA Earth

We have farmed the land and failed! Food and fuel prices are out of control, crops are failing and fossil fuels are being exhausted.-

Are drought and famine acceptable failures?
Deserts are expanding! People are forced to abandon their land. Pollution is the consequence of our consume-and-dump-mentality.
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 remains unchecked our very survival is
threatened and we are destined to go the way of the dinosaurs!

Ethiopia Somalia Droughts
Why did the rains fail?

As the originator of Operation OASIS and a dedicated environmental engineer, I would like you to understand that we have the capacity to change our direction. But first, I need you to  understand why the rains failed again in Ethiopia and Somalia.

When forests and vegetation is stripped from the coastlines of a continent clouds are prohibited from crossing onto the land due to heated air or thermals, rising from the
exposed hot arid desert sands.

Operation OASIS
The Key to Unlocking the huge potential of deserts is to manage water and soil sustainably until coastal trees and vegetation induce rainfall.

The problem is that deserts are devoid of renewable water and aquifers are salty and depleted.
We must connect the worlds arid coastlines with the wastewater we discharge into our oceans and rivers, to transform them into productive rainforests and agroforestry Using the shipping supply chain which ships around 5 billion tonnes of sea water as ballast each year

Slide 4 Operation OASIS is an economical,
sustainable solution that recycles
wastewater from our sewage to reforest
and restore arid coastal soils

To restore arid lands we will need an endless supply of billions of tonnes of salt free water and organic matter to build soil structure so that it has the capacity to retain water.

Sewage and wastewater has all of the components required to succeed Developed and developing countries are all guilty of pouring billions of tonnes of treated and raw sewage
into the oceans and rivers every single day.
We eat the fish that lives in it and we frequently bath in someone else’s end products so why not clean up the coastlines and restore the deserts instead?

Pipeline: Super Tankers are set to
become the Environment’s Allies

A Super tanker has to take on ballast water in order to return back to a desert port. Discharging sea water ballast has introduced invasive marine species which have devastated fish stocks. Ballast Sterilization plant is set to add $billions to the cost of fuel and there is no guarantee that it will be effective. It is akin to closing the stable door when the horse has already bolted

The OASIS pipeline is already in place!
Super crude oil tankers transport around 100,000 tonnes of sea water back to desert coastal waters and discharge it into the sea! This waste of fuel and resources is ludicrous!

Substitute the sea water for treated waste water and we can feed the starving millions by enabling them to grow their own food while they help to convert the arid lands into lush
fertile tropical rainforests.

Slide 6 Tankers Frequently Visit Torbay 6 were
counted on the day that this photograph
was taken in 2011

With Treated waste water irrigating deserts we will sustain forestry and agriculture without  making any significant changes to routine trading practices. We therefore eliminate the pollution from the coast of the donor countries and the ballast pollution at the coast
of the recipient countries.

This feasible and sustainable approach has the potential to arrest
climate change when scaled up.

We have seen what happens when we
get it wrong

We seldom see what happens when we get it right with desert reclamation projects.
Gunter Pauli, Darwin, Willi Schmidt, Harry Hart and many others have observed increased rainfall following reforestation.
Gunter reported a 10% increase in rainfall after land was reforested in Columbia.

He stated that investing in this land was more financially rewarding than investing the same money in Microsoft from the Onset. The Ascension Island example from Dr Wilkinson is difficult to ignore.
So why is it so difficult to be heard?

Slide 8
Thermal Barrier and Coastal air currents
During the daytime exposed land heats up rapidly. The hot air rises and cool air blows in from the ocean. At night the opposite occurs. The wind direction reverses and blows
offshore as the warm ocean air rises and cooler air from the land is drawn towards the ocean.

Arid coastlines heat up rapidly in the day. Thermals rise high into the atmosphere forming an effective barrier against incoming clouds and moisture. Fog rolls around the coast but cannot
cross onto the land during the hot daytime.
Clouds roll along arid coastlines and release precipitation over densely vegetated areas.
We are seeing more flash floods as a result of uneven rainfall distribution.

Logically, if less rain is falling in one region, more rain must fall in another.

Slide 9 Introduction to Thermal Barrier
Fog hugging the coast
of Mexico

I have filmed the Thermal Barrier in Paignton.
A Narrow strip of trees as wide as a dual carriageway running perpendicular to the coast on a hot day is sufficient to draw in the fog bank stuck on the coastline during the summer.
The heated concrete coastal road and treeless areas prevent the fog from crossing over at any other point. One side of the hot concrete coastal road is bright sunshine, the other side
is engulfed by dense fog. In Mexico and many other desert regions it is common for banks of fog to remain over the sea and hugging the coastline.

What would happen if the thermal barrier was moved inland by planting coastal forests?
Not Rocket Science is it?

Slide 10 Fog in the Namib desert
frequents the coast
but cannot move inland

We have been using nets to catch coastal fog for thousands of years mimicking the action of trees. Today fog nets are used in many regions where water is scarce.
If fog nets were used to surround land irrigated with waste water, they would provide a workforce and animals with perfectly safe potable water by recycling the evaporated
waste water.

The Hadley Cell (Air currents in Africa)
  •  Hot dry air circulates from the coast to the
  •  Rainfall is deposited in the densely vegetated land
  •  Applying irrigation at the north coast will feed the Hadley Cell to increase rainfall in sub Saharan countries

The Hadley Cell circulates air from the north and south coasts to the equator, relieving all precipitation over the central African Green Belt.
The air that moves over the desert is dry but it could be wet. If we introduce billions of tonnes of
treated waste water to the coastline of North Africa

The clouds we create, together with the incoming moisture from the sea drawn in by trees and moist soils, will be pulled into the Hadley Cell and migrate towards the Sub Saharan regions, shielding the sun from the land as they travel on this atmospheric conveyor belt cooling
the climate and blotting out the sun.

A Pocket Full Of Acorns
  •  Where do we get the trees from?
  •  Where do we get the labour from?
  •  How do we get the land to plant the trees?

This simple project was conceived to demonstrate the economy of scale when planting trees by mobilizing and motivating people to obtain permission to transform unproductive
land into biodiversity rich woodlands, through all media outlets. The objectives of the project were to show how large scale reforestation can be achieved on a very small budget by engaging people on a volunteer basis to gather native tree seeds and saplings to plant directly
into the soil on permitted land or to germinate seeds and grow them in containers at home until permission is obtained.

Involving the people and communities in any country is essential for successful land restoration projects because once the public have been engaged in planting trees and observed the  results from their labour, they inevitably become guardians for the new woodlands and forests and regularly visit the reclaimed land.

Kennels Road Paignton Planting 1994

The Kennels Road planting took place in 1994 Permission to use the Pocket Full Of Acorns approach was granted following huge media coverage and all was achieved on a shoestring

Kennels Rd Paignton Today 2011
Cost: £0.00
This Is the same stretch of road today

Cockington 5 acre Planting 1994

In Cockington we now have a rich biodiverse 5 acre woodland thanks to Dominic Ackland at Devon Coast and Woodland Trust. This soil was full of stones and very difficult to dig so was turned over to nature.

A Pocket Full Of Acorns helped to restore this land.

The very young, together with the very old came armed with spades, saplings and seeds following a call in the local newspapers. Today this woodland is 15 feet tall and teaming with life.

Cockington Planting Today 2011

The trees planted for free now dwarf the gates of the same barren unproductive land. The rich diverse soil has fungi, and trees have self seeded .

We are planning to use this approach to stabilise the coastline of East Anglia, where properties and farmland are falling into the sea at an alarming rate.
The Governments plan is to let nature take its course and sacrifice communities. Properties in this region can be purchased for a £1.00

 We are also talking to Spain’s Government to Implement a Pilot Demonstration in Spain's Arid Coastline.

Slide 17 The new woodland soil is now rich with leaf litter and humus. The unproductive
stony farmland is just a memory

The barren farmland where topsoil was washed away is now full of rich organic humus from broadleaf deciduous trees.
Insect, bird and animal droppings have triggered natural soil restoration and seed dispersal.
With a little help, nature can restore the destruction that we have caused without humans having to perish before it happens. My question to everyone in this room today is when can we make this happen?

How Much Time Is Left?
NASA Image


Andrew K Fletcher (Lateral thinker)

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Las Gaviotas by Gunter Pauli.mp4

Paolo Lugari and his team at Las Gaviotas in Colombia started regenerating the rainforest in 1984. Gunter and Paolo met for the first time that same year. This video offers some insights and background with exclusive video footage presenting the case of Gaviotas by Gunter. This is a prime case of The Blue Economy, zero emissions and social development, working only with what is locally available, generating social capital. For info please look at

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Coastal Erosion in East Anglia region where houses are sold for £1.00 as they slide into the sea. It is thought to be unstoppable and the UK Government has decided to sacrifice the land and is not offering any plan to stabilise the erosion. Coupled with drought in this region have we reached a tipping point?

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Positive News Release 13/02/12
 Operation OASIS

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, on the economic and environmental merits of Operation OASIS. Contact: Greg Peachey to reserve your seat with CEO's and business leaders from Leading Companies and hear what they have to say about our plan to lead us out of recession with sustainable growth. Tel: +441727823131 Email: Greg AT

(Are we flushing our chances of recovery down the toilet?)

  • 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!

U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon We are running out of time! Davos, Switzerland, 28 January 2011 - Secretary-General's remarks to the World Economic Forum Session on Redefining Sustainable Development

For most of the last century, economic growth was fuelled by what seemed to be a certain truth: the abundance of natural resources. We mined our way to growth. We burned our way to prosperity. We believed in consumption without consequences. Those days are gone. In the 21st century, supplies are running short and the global thermostat is running high.  Climate change is also showing us that the old model is more than obsolete. It has rendered it extremely dangerous. Over time, that model is a recipe for national disaster. It is a global suicide pact. So what do we do in this current challenging situation? How do we create growth in a resource constrained environment? How do we lift people out of poverty while protecting the planet and ecosystems that support economic growth? How do we regain the balance? All of this requires rethinking.
Super Tankers to become the environment’s best allies

The 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.
Are We All Doing our Business in line with natures plan?
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 (Humanure) 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. Everyone knows you can't make it rain in the desert but you can turn the desert into a rainforest!
More details:

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 an understatement of the severity of arable soil losses; even in East Anglia we can see this effect with prolonged droughts due to the removal of trees and hedgerows, 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 indigenous 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 vast areas of 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 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 led by Liverpool University. Seville Uni, City of Santa Pola, Green Europe and FREdome. Provided matched funding, Cranfield University, who are the leading soil experts in the UK have also joined our funding application as consultants.
 FREdome 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 serious 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.
FREdome Blog:

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Ballast Water Invaders

BBC World Service

Wednesday 08 November, 2000
ballast water invaders

Ballast Water Invaders

Commercial ships are transferring diseases like cholera around the world, according to new scientific research. Biologists in the US have discovered that the ships' ballast water, which is used to stabilise the vessels at sea, contains a variety of potentially dangerous micro-organisms. The scientists say these can harm both humans and ocean wildlife. Helen Sewell of BBC Science reports.

Cholera in the water
Ships are designed to carry heavy cargoes and can be unstable when empty so they take in water as ballast. They discharge this at ports of call and en route, dumping more than 79 million tonnes every year into the seas near the US alone.

A group of marine biologists has examined ballast water from 15 ships coming into Chesapeake Bay on the East Coast of America. The vessels all came from Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Writing in the journal Nature the researchers, led by Gregory Ruiz of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, revealed that every ship they checked was carrying bacteria which cause cholera - a fast-spreading disease which can kill half the people it infects. The report states:

‘Ballast tanks carry a diverse community of organisms, resulting in many biological invasions. Pathogens [harmful microbes], including those affecting humans, are common in coastal waters and can be transferred in ballast water.’

 Listen to Gregory Ruiz explain the problem of the Zebra mussels found in the Great Lakes in the 1980s

Sea hitch hikers
The biologists say it is not just humans who are at risk. They believe that bacteria and viruses from ballast water frequently invade coastal ecosystems. But no one knows the full extent or effects of this discharged cocktail of potential pathogens.

Ballast water is untreated seawater and, if the conditions are right, it is possible that whatever is alive in the water when it is collected, will grow and could even breed. It has already been shown that other organisms, such as carnivorous comb jellies, have traveled the world in ship ballast water, with sometimes devastating impacts on the local environment.

Previous studies in Australia have also revealed all sorts of sea hitchhikers – some more welcome than others. In the 1970s two fish species, previously only found in Japan and North East Asia, were found in Sydney Harbour. The Yellowfin Goby and the Striped Goby were thought to have been introduced through the ballast waters and although an exotic addition to the water, it was feared that the Yellowfin would compete with existing species, consequently having a major influence on the natural order of predators.

'Ballast water is discharged at ports of call and en route, dumping more than 79 million tonnes every year into the seas near the US alone'

Reducing the organisms
In an attempt to reduce the number of organisms present in ballast water, in 1990, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) introduced voluntary guidelines. Whilst the guidelines are not enforced by law, they could go some way to protecting marine species and ultimately human life.

The AQIS suggestions include filtering the ballast water as it is collected, eliminating organisms in the water during the voyage and treating the water as it is discharged in the port. Avoiding the organisms by collecting the ballast from deep water is a further consideration.

Whilst filtering could be effective for eliminating larger organisms, advanced filtering systems would be necessary to collect water-borne micro- organisms. If this system were to be implemented when the water was onboard ship, vessels would need to be significantly modified.

Re-ballasting the ship whilst at sea is another option. Exchanging the original water mid-ocean could reduce the survival rate of the organisms. However, as ships are designed to take ballast water on in still waters, there is a danger that exchanging water mid voyage could upset the balance of the vessel.

Sterilising the water with chemicals also seems a logical solution. Just as sewage is treated with chlorine or hydrogen peroxide, it is possible that ballast water could be treated either on collection or when discharged at the port. However there are two problems with this method – firstly it is costly and secondly the large doses of chemicals could have a detrimental impact on the environment.

Technological developments
All of these treatments have their benefits and drawbacks, however as the researchers at Chesapeake Bay warn, despite growing concern about the global spread of diseases, the potential for ships to carry micro-organisms around the world has been ‘virtually unexplored’. Recognising the benefits of technological advances Ann Pesiri Swanson, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission added:

‘International efforts represent good interim steps in reducing the risks of ballast water organisms, but it is increasingly recognised that a technological solution or improved ballast management practices may provide eventual answers to prevent these invasions.’

The biologists have therefore called for immediate research into the international transfer of ballast water and it’s inadvertent cargoes.