Located in the Arabian Desert is one of the world’s largest herds of dairy cattle, about 40,000 Friesian cows. These cows live in six giant air-conditioned sheds that are shrouded in a mist that keeps them cool. They produce 200 million litres of milk a year.
That’s great and all, because who doesn’t love milk? But let’s address the elephant in the room; how is there such a prosperous dairy farm in a desert? Well, it’s all about the thousands of year old water a mile underneath the sands of Saudi Arabia. Forty years ago, when the farming started, there was 500 cubic kilometres of water beneath the Saudi Arabia desert. And now? Up to 20 cubic kilometres is pumped annually for these farms. Saudis were on track to use up to 400 cubic kilometers of their aquifers by 2008. One of the Earth’s largest and oldest freshwater resources in one of its hottest places has been almost emptied in just a little more than a generation. Because Saudi Arabia is a rich country, they can afford the desalination process of seawater to provide drinking water for their people. But as desalination is about a dollar per one cubic meter, even they can’t afford it for irrigation. People estimate that four fifths of their ancient water is gone.
Saudi companies have been buying up foreign land and water to feed Saudis. Also looking for places to send their farmers to grow food that they can send home. In 2012, a Saudi company bought the forests and marshlands of Gamble which is located in Ethiopia. The company was digging a canal to drain a wetland where the nearby locals fished. Nearby, a reservoir had been taken over by a Saudi farm. Government officials had told the residents of the villages that they had to move out and come live in government villages. Months later, an unnamed gunman snuck into the company’s camp near the town Abobo and killed five men.
There was wildlife at risk too. Antelopes that crossed from South Sudan to search for water and wetlands at the Nile. These animals and a handful of elephants were the reason that a National Park was created, to preserve them. Unfortunately, the park was not fully secured and a lot of it’s land was given to the company. Now to get to the water the animals have to go through fenced pastures, canals and machinery.
It’s amazing what one country will do for water, isn’t it.
I’ve had an idea for my final product. I’ve been thinking about writing a short story, no more than 100 pages about what I think life would be like during the inevitable water crisis. Does this sound like a good idea?
Ammol’s inquiry question is, “How did our whole solar system, including the Earth, form and what processes did it go through?” He plans to make an animation of the formation of the solar system in a free software called Blender.
This week, I’ve been continuing my research on the planets of the Solar System. Earth’s sister planet Venus, was my next topic. Venus is very close to Earth’s size and to Earth itself, however it’s completely different on the surface. Temperatures can reach 462°C (863°F). This is mainly because Venus has lots of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, which trap in a lot of heat, making the planet too hot for life to exist. When Venus was being formed, it captured the lighter elements to make its atmosphere. Venus may have had an atmosphere like Earth, but the greenhouse gas levels increased, making it the way it is today.
I learned that I like to expand on topics and end up researching something completely different. If I’m researching a single topic, I tend to click on other links that take me other topics that interest me. For example, as I was researching Venus, I started to look up other topics like distant planets, and I ended up on looking up future space missions. I find all topics like that very interesting. Next, I’m going to continue with Earth. I think I’ll also start figuring out how to use the software for my animation and find some videos on it too.
Ninna’s inquiry question is, “How are animals affected by natural disasters?” She is focusing on wild animals and wants to make a 3D model to show what happens to the animals.
I have been researching in class for a while and I found reports of animals sensing a natural disaster. For example, there was a tsunami that came from the Indian Ocean back in 2004 and reports said animals definitely sensed something bad was going to happen. People noticed wild animals (Elephants, monkeys etc.) moving to higher ground and cattle and pets were showing signs of distress. After the tsunami hit, there were only a few animals found dead. I personally think all this evidence proves animals are more in tune with their environment and their five senses are stronger than humans’ senses or animals might have a sixth sense. I don’t know about other people, but I personally find this really cool. 🙂 Photo Credit: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies via Compfight
Yasmeen’s inquiry question is, “Why do people want to live in an environment prone to natural disasters?” She plans to try to raise money for people who have been affected by a natural disaster.
So far I have learned that there are many benefits of living in Japan where it is prone to have earthquakes and tsunamis. The one that surprised me is that the source of geothermal power is cheaper there and clean. The people living in this earthquake and tsunami prone environment have gotten used to how to handle these issues once they arise.
I have learned about myself that I can work for long periods of time without getting distracted. Also I have learned many features in One-Note on how to organize different links for research citations. I am planning to find more research information on how often the earthquakes or tsunamis occur in Japan and how quickly the people react. Also I am looking forward to find some good fundraising methods to use for my fundraising for ‘”The Earthquake and Tsunami Relief” charity.
You are to complete your Passion Project Proposal and submit it in the Dropbox by class time on Monday Oct. 27. Be sure to check out what the guidelines of the proposal are. These can be found in the “new Folder” for the Passion Project that is on the class site.
Here are some things you can do that allow you to personalize your blog:
A. Customize your theme
B. Turn on Plugins
Plugins add features that you can use. Instructions to turn on plugins can be found here. We suggest you turn on the following plugins:
Compfight Safe Images: search for images to add to your posts that are creative commons copyrighted (safe to use). They are added to your post with attribution to their owners. Read more here to find out how to use Compfight.
Supreme Google Webfonts: allows you to change your font style and size in your posts. Once you turn it on, you will be able to choose the font family and font size when writing blog posts and pages.
Image Widget: Makes it easy to add images and badges to your sidebar. After activating, look for the Image Widget under Appearance > Widgets
C. Customize your widgets
Widgets are the webparts that are part of your side bars. You can learn about widgets in the video below.