We were watching the news, about the refugee crisis, and my wife, Helena, said there should be someplace on Earth where everybody could go to. The problem with that, of course, is that there’s not. Every place on Earth that is uninhabited is uninhabited for a reason. We’ve got an entire continent where almost nobody lives, but you can’t send all these people to Antarctica. They wouldn’t survive two days. Literally.
On the other hand, you hear scientists talking about terraforming Mars, and making it habitable. Surely there are places on Earth that are closer to habitable than Mars.
Here’s my idea: The Sahara Desert is larger than the United States. There’s certainly room enough for all of the refugees of the Earth to live in. And, unlike Mars, there is a breathable atmosphere. It’s also quite warm, which is good. The problem is, there’s no water.
Here’s my solution to that, and it also helps to solve the problem of rising ocean levels. Dig a huge pit, from the northwestern tip of Sudan in the East, to southeastern Morocco in the west, about a hundred kilometers wide and a coupple of kilometers deep. Build a canal, or a few, to bring water from the Mediterranean and, voila, Lake Sahara.
Of course, it’s salt water and totally undrinkable. There are two solutions to that. One, of course, is desalination. It’s not a complicated process, we have the technology. The reason it’s not more commonly done is that it’s energy intensive. But, the Sahara Desert has sunshine all the time, so solar energy is a no-brainer. They could desalinate all the water they need to turn the region into another central California,and still export energy and make money. Also, when you dig out the pit, you will have a lot of stone, which needs to go somewhere, and that will form a region of highlands all around the lake, trapping condensation from the lake and increasing rainfall.
It would be a big project, and expensive, but profitable in the end. I’d like to hear from any engineers out there as to whether this is feasible or not.