FIGURE 39–5 Prototype bioshelter. A geodesic dome housing fish and vegetable modules. Photo by J.Todd.

structure heats up until the temperature differential between the seawater in the tanks and the air is great enough to cause the tanks to sweat fresh water, which irrigates the ground around them. Tree seedlings are then planted in this moist zone. Drought-tolerant trees can also be established around the outer periphery of the structure. At night, the moisture-laden air cools to the desert sky, causing water droplets to form on the interior skin of the climatic envelope. With the prototype shelter, we found that drumming on the structure’s membrane in the early morning caused the droplets to fall like rain inside, thereby making it possible to plant the entire interior of the module. Inside the tanks, marine fish and crustacea such as mullet and shrimp can be cultured to form the basis of an economy. After a few years, the original cluster of climatic envelopes can be moved to a new location to repeat the cycle, leaving an established, semiarid agroecosystem behind.

These are two examples drawn from a range of biotechnological options that could help reverse environmental degradation and restore diversity and bounty to a region. These advanced technologies may well prove to be essential tools in creating sustainable environments.

In all of this, there is of course the fundamental question of land tenureship and social constraints that will ultimately drive any ecological changes. One option for countries with private land holdings and a willingness to tackle serious long-range environmental issues might be the creation of restoration corporations. In this particular model, a corporation would have the financial capability of buying large blocks of ruined land and to hire and train local farmworkers to operate the desert-farming modules, process the foods and other by-products, and tend the

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