The United Nations University states that desertification has emerged as an environmental crisis of global proportion, currently threatening the livelihoods an estimated 100 to 200 million people, and negatively affecting a much larger number of people. In correlation with population growth, the stress on the land increases, too. 12 million hectares of land (120.000 km2) are lost due to desertification every year, on which twenty tons of grain could have been grown.
Desertification has four main causes: overgrazing, monoculture, deforestation and water shortage.
Causes of desertification
When too many animals are grazing on the same spot of land, it is called overgrazing. The problem is that these animals eat (almost) all of the vegetation which makes it is difficult for the plants to grow back.
When farmers do not rotate their crops enough, or nor at all. The crops will keep using the same neutrinos from the ground. This means that the ground gets less, and less fertile which can ultimately result in desertification. This phenomenon is called monoculture
When crops do not get enough water eventually they will die. When this water shortages happens on a large scale it can also lead to water erosion. Because land is dried out, it can not hold any roots and nutrients. Rain falling in those areas will fall deep down the earth, flushing all the nutrients away and vegetation doesn’t get the change to grow
Every year 13 million hectares of forest are chopped. Some of this land gets replanted but most of it remains bare. Land with nothing growing on it has a high risk of getting lost to the desert.
A fruitful future is built on fertile soil
Research from the DESIRE project showed that projects focusing on water shortages where most likely to succeed, however there is more. To have a lasting impact it is important to work with the local population, they hold the key to a sustainable ecosystem around them.
Therefore, Miraz made the choice to take water shortage as its main focus. The Miraz squishes the hot desert air in and cools it off by means of a heat exchanger. The Miraz creates a temperature well below 0 °C with compressing techniques and uses this to cool down the hot air inside the machine. When the hot air reaches the cold elements inside the Miraz, it will be liquefied by means of condensation principles. And to be sure that this process will not leave any pollution, the Miraz will be powered by solar energy.
But just creating water in places where it is needed the most is not enough. Miraz also focusses on creating partnerships to tackle the problem of desertification in a holistic way. We aim to contribute to existing projects that use sustainable land management and permaculture principles to put a stop to the growth of the desert
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