Re: warm the Sahara

E. Shaun Russell (
Thu, 20 Nov 1997 23:53:48 -0800

John Novak wrote:
>For instance, I've read in several locations that the reason the
>Sahara is a desert, now, rather than a prairie, is because of
>centuries of sheep grazing.

Yes, this is mostly true. Since sheep farming is one of the few
profitable agricultural practices in that part of Africa, farmers have to
let their sheep graze. Since grass and other vegetation is what keeps the
soil moist and full of nutrients, its removal (combined with the hot
climate) quickly leaches the soil of nutrients and moisture, causing it to
become brittle and dusty. Whenever a gust of wind comes along, it
virtually pushes the dry topsoil into nearby areas, usually causing them to
be buried. The process of desertification is a constant that is
not so much affected by the climate as by poor farming habits.
Unfortunately, due to the poverty of the area, such subsistance farming is
necessary; the result is a catch-22. The ideal solution to desertification
would be for the farmers to find a new way to support themselves; however,
given the climate and potential industries of the area, few alternatives
come to mind.

E. Shaun Russell Poet, Musician, Atheist, Extropic Artist
==============================> Transhumanities editor for Homo Excelsior
Kineticize your potential.