On a trip to Italy via Istanbul, a rather indirect route, I was seated next to a smart, handsome young man on his way to Jeddah who told me some information that has haunted me periodically since my return over a month ago.
He would like to put his engineering skills to work helping improve renewable energy. Thus, far in his young career, he has found himself at companies like Lockheed Martin. What he told me about that time about knocked the Turkish delight out of my mouth. This is a bit of a paraphrase:
“We have solutions to many of the world’s problems but cannot make use of them because they were developed under military contracts. They are on lockdown for another 20-30 years in the name of national security”
Can you imagine? I picture a warehouse filled to the brim with solutions, while millions crawl to the building suffering from life threatening hunger and thirst.
I asked him if desalinization was one of the solutions. I had heard that we knew how to do it on a massive scale but did not have ways of transporting the water efficiently. He seemed to think it could be done, but could not tell me much. Everything he had worked on was top secret.
I can’t begin to imagine the kinds of solutions he means. Desalinization has been on my mind since my father shared this idea over breakfast one morning over 15 years ago. He said,
“you know, I have been thinking. If the ocean levels are going to rise and there are people with no water and no food all over Africa, why not desalinate the oceans and irrigate Africa”
Right! Why not? Imagine that we’re sitting on a solution like that?
It makes me think of Cyprus.
I know a woman who bought a $1 million dollar home in Cyprus only to find it had no running water for the better part of a year!! This was on the Greek-ruled portion of the island. She explained to me that there was plenty of fresh water on the Turkish side because they had figured out how to desalinate.
So I ask, which side of the island do we want to live on? It’s really our choice, we can desalinate or live in homes with no water. We might have to march across the deserts of Texas and knock on the doors of Lockheed Martin with a letter of permission from the U.S government to open up the storehouse of engineering solutions.
The citizen who wants the hard work of those brilliant engineers and scientists to get to the people literally dying for the solutions.