Turning desert into farmland and biofuel

Seawater Foundation claims it can save the world with agriculture on coastal deserts.

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By  Rob Corder Published  April 18, 2007

US style and society glossy, Vanity Fair magazine, has recognised the work of The Seawater Foundation as one of the world's 17 most effective environmentalists.

The Foundation has developed a system of integrated aquaculture, agriculture and forestry that sees coastal shrimp or fish farms produce nutrient-rich seawater that is then used to irrigate salt-tolerant crops and produce additional products for feeding both people and farm animals.

Arabian Gulf countries are a target area for the Foundations work, and Saudi Arabia's former Minister of State Dr. Mohammad Alshaikh is a member of the Foundations board of advisers.

The Seawater Foundation believes that its technique could dramatically reduce carbon levels in the atmosphere by increasing the land area that can be used for crops. Desert can be turned into agricultural land capable of growing seawater-tolerant crops that could replace wheat, rice, and soybeans, it argues.

These crops can in turn be used to produce biofuels.

In the long term, the Foundation believes, "it can bring greenery to coastal deserts, create communities, generate wealth and abundance, and provide immediate and long lasting planetary ecological balance," its website states.

The recognition by a title as respected as Vanity Fair is vital to an organisation that has struggled for decades to be taken seriously.

"This recognition by Vanity Fair is an important validation of the work in which we have been engaged for 30 years," said Carl Hodges, founder and chairman of The Seawater Foundation.

"Our data are unequivocal, we can stop sea level rise in less than 15 years, and ultimately restore the world's coastal regions and wetlands, eradicate shoreline erosion, and rapidly grow the crops that will effectively address our global community's nutritional and economic needs."

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