Desertification in .NET

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Desertification
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If we lose the energy sources we need, we lose the option to grow and transport the food and water that we need. Without adequate food and water resources, desertification (Figure 1-12) becomes the new term in our lexicon. Camels are now grazing near abandoned fishing boats that clutter the landscape where Kazakhstan s Aral Sea once existed. The sea dried up due to overuse of water resources for growing cotton. Desertification is also the cause of major sandstorms in China, as shown in Figure 1-13. Such storms are now common; the nation is losing 900 square miles to desert each year. The Sahara desert in Africa, the world largest desert, is expanding at the rate of a half-mile per month (Figure 1-14). The future of Africa s landscape is clear. Figure 1-15 shows areas of Africa predicted to suffer from desertification. (Africa is the world s poorest continent with the highest birth rate.) The United States is not immune to climate change, drought, or food shortages. Severe drought and desertification across the nation have permanently changed agriculture and grazing lands (Figure 1-16). And with desertification comes mass migration, a phenomenon that began more than 20 years ago in Africa, as people have begun migrating from the areas of desertification to areas of opportunity. Often, as in Africa, drought and desertification first lead to famine and then lead to
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FIGURE 1-12 Desert ships
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http://ocho.uwaterloo.ca/~pfieguth/Personal/EnergyLimits/Figures/ desert-ships.gif
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The History of Solar Energy
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FIGURE 1-13 Dust storm in Beijing, China
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http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/imagerecords/14000/14861/China _TMO_2005118_lrg.jpg
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FIGURE 1-14 The Sahara desert
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FIGURE 1-15 Desertification of Africa
http://soils.usda.gov/use/worldsoils/papers/desert-africa-fig2.gif
wars over available resources. Africa shows what can occur in other places if the land is no longer able to sustain life.
Solar for Humanity
Let s return to this statement: The sun provides more energy in one hour than all of humanity uses, in all forms, in a single year. Sunlight can provide us with its own resolution to our energy problems. The only transformation required is for humanity to reduce, or end, consumption of stored solar (as fossil fuels) and, in its place, use freely available fresh solar. Stored solar, or fossil fuels, have many disadvantages, including the following: Must be mined Destroys and pollutes the land
The History of Solar Energy
FIGURE 1-16 The desertification of the United States
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/images/pah/drmon_1016.gif
Must be refined Produces waste products that must be disposed of Must be transported to the consumer Fresh solar, on the other hand, offers us these advantages: No pollution or destruction of the land No heavy equipment required No fossil fuels required No refining or waste products Delivered direct to you for free Widely available Clean and abundant
So what are we waiting for All types of solar energy are currently ready, available, and cost-effective. By reading this book, I hope you can learn how to make the most of solar energy now and for the future (Figure 1-17).
One
FIGURE 1-17 Sunrise
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CHAPTER
The Benefits and Detriments of Solar Energy
If you are reading this book, you either want to be informed about solar power or you want to use solar power in some capacity. Solar power is the paramount source of alternative energy. (I place alternative energy in quotation marks because I believe that, within two generations, oil will become the alternative power source for mankind.) Solar energy is unsurpassed by any other form of energy. The reasons for using solar power over any other form of energy are numerous: It is delivered everywhere, every day. It is completely free to use, collect, and store. It is free from transportation costs. It is free from pollution. It is an unlimited resource. It is the most reliable source of energy.
By comparing the advantages and disadvantages of solar power, you can see that solar has many advantages and few disadvantages. The advantages of solar power are obvious: Stable Reliable Abundant Free for everyone (after the costs of the equipment and setup) Available everywhere The most cost-efficient form of energy, if used correctly Clean power (zero emissions, zero health risks) Zero CO2 emissions during use
Two Preserves our natural environment, air quality, and limited water supplies No delivery costs No pollution Almost maintenance free Eligible for tax rebates when you set up solar panels You can profit from your extra solar energy Generates local jobs Provides greater energy security over the long term The disadvantages of solar power pertain only to one form of solar energy photovoltaic (PV) solar power (Figure 2-1): High initial cost Production of solar panels creates pollution The sun is not always available, so solar is an intermittent power source Disposal issues of old solar panels
The first two listed disadvantages of PV solar will soon be less important, as solar costs are decreasing (Figure 2-2). I am often verbally assaulted when I claim that solar energy is the most cost-effective form of
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