A new AP article announces “Deserts Expanding With Jet Stream Shift” and details the slow crawl of deserts in the American Southwest and elsewhere toward more heavily populated areas. Last year, a Nature article warned of the same phenomenon--“Deserts set to expand.” The latest studies show that the earth’s tropical zone has grown by about 140 miles in recent years, pushing the “subtropics” toward places, like Phoenix and Salt Lake City, that already suffer from a lack of rainfall. Research indicates that global warming is the likely culprit; if we keep living the way we do, it’s only going to get worse.
With that in mind, those of you who would like to begin preparing now for the coming droughts should pick up a copy of Dry: Life Without Water by Ehsan Masood and Daniel Schaffer. You’ll learn how humans around the world manage to survive in climates where water isn’t just scarce--it’s practically non-existent.
Consider the Chilean “fog catchers” of the Atacama desert, one of the world’s driest locales, who harness the camanchaca, or “creeping fog,” with an ingenious system of nets that trap fog droplets and turn them into potable water. Or the Thari people of Pakistan, who defeated vicious three-year droughts by devising a series of “micro-dams” that jumpstarted the region’s economy and vastly improved its standard of living.
Co-author Ehsan Masood had a lot to say during his appearance on BBC4’s “Start the Week” program last week. Click here for more info and to listen to the show.