Friday, June 16, 2006

Basic Food and Water

Two Million Wells

One of the greatest tactical advantages we could accomplish in the world is to provide solar cookers to people living in Africa, South America, and parts of Southern Asia and the Middle East.

A solar cooker costs about $3 and can help impoverished people cook food and sterilize water without using a cooking fire. They can reflect the sun's rays from their position near the equator to cook instead of spending hours gathering wood, stripping land, and releasing carbon into the atmosphere.

In the Darfur region, women who must go out to forage for fuelwood are at sharply increased risk of assault. Giving them solar cookers would allow them to remain with their family and make different use of their time.

3 billion people live on less than $3 a day. 1 billion live on less than $1 a day. Solar cookers will reduce the level of subsistance living and make subsistance foraging and poverty take less time so they can focus more on family, education, advancing society and economic activity.

Giving out1 billion solar cookers to 4 billion people would cost perhaps 2 billion dollars. By replacing current foreign aid programs or taking ~1/2% of our military budget we can improve the lives and security of billions of people. That is more effective than *any* military operation conceivable.

The next best thing we can do is to contract in the 3rd world to dig wells within 7.5km [~5 miles] of every community. Africa is just under 30 million km2, and much of it is uninhabited desert or areas already having fresh water. If we put wells every 15km on 30 mkm2 of earth's populated regions, we could provide fresh water to billions of people who currently go without, or rely on unstable or dirty water sources, spreading disease and requiring medical attention.

An area of this size would be supplied by 2 million wells, and could cover all of Africa's populated areas, along with every needful place in South America and South Asia. We could send teams to work and to contract with local laborers, aiding local economies and reducing the price of the projects. If digging each well cost $1000 dollars, this program would also cost $2 billion. The real price of digging a 20-30 meter deep well likely falls in the $350-700 range when using local labor, tripod or Kelly-bar drilling methods, and reinforced aluminum piping.

With $4 billion dollars we could permanently provide clean drinking water to the world and give them the means to cook food and sanitize water without foraging for or burning wood.

Call or email your senator and representative and ask them to do this project.
originally posted by William Bunker 8 June 2006 @ 3:36 PM

UV LED Sterilizes Water

I am so pleased that this can be done. An efficient light source to sterilize water. The solar cooker will do the same job, and i just recently discovered that nanotubes can also filter water very efficiently.

If these ~8mm nanotubes can filter out viruses, we should build and distribute billions of them for free throughout the world. Clean water is one of the primary supportive goals of mankind, and providing it will reduce medical expenditure and suffering a billion times over.

The UV sterilizer might be a good idea as well, with a fixture at the top and simple instructions and warnings. The solar cooker is a fine method to provide sterile water, and may be the cheapest of the three.

17 June 2006:

A serious concern and stumbling block to this effort is the contamination of Indian and Bangladeshi groundwater with arsenic and uranium. Farmers are known to add excessive amounts of fertilizer to their land to produce more crops quickly, containing arsenic. Arsenic also comes from dissolving rock minerals into groundwater, but different farming practices, such as massive greenhousing and changing Western farming subsudies could positively affect subcontinental farming, as well as Western agriculture, by reducing the economic load on farmers and the need for heavy fertilizer. This will improve world health. About half of Bangladeshis have been exposed to high levels of arsenic.

Cheap desalinization procedures using nanotube technology reduce the expense of turning seawater into drinking water by 75%. Bangladesh and other nations could potentially afford desalinization procedures to supply them with safe drinking and crop water.


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