Skip navigation
Share via:


Imagine combining "The Man Who Stopped the Desert" (Yacouba Sawadogo), Cradle-to-Cradle design (Bill McDonough), + Veta la Palma fish farm.



Ocean water flows by gravity to a place below sea level where it forms a controled body of water.  This body of water is used to maintain an extensive fish farm.  Expanding from the edges of the body of water, solar power plants and greenhouses would be added to expand a wildlife preserve and farm in the style of permaculture designs.  Greenhouses would double as evaporation sites for desalinating the incoming water and producing building bricks at the same time.

What actions do you propose?

modest land use proposal

1 controlled gravity flow ocean to desert below sea level:    

The Colorado River is being used in its entirety now.  This project would not disrupt the use of Colorado River water or the All American Canal system. It would supplement water for all irrigation and human use.  However, better management of potable water, grey water, sewage and runoff would allow more Colorado River water to flow to Mexico.  The very strange concept of sharing would have to be made clear to both governments. Everyone stands to gain from such a project. 


2 solar furnace generates energy:    

Clean energy could be sold and distributed and locally it could be used to power desalinization plants and water distribution systems. 


3 desalinate large body of water to 1/2 salinity:    

As the mangrove trees thrive, they will clean the nitrate runoff from the water and help balance chemical requirments for the rest of the ecological system. 


4 grow forests of mangroves:    

Floating walkways and berms could allow access for farmers, but the density of growth, including the edges of the sea is key.


5 develop bio-diverse wetlands habitat:    

Sea grass and hudreds of plant species will be introduced and balanced with the populations of birds, insects, worms, and phytoplankton. 


6 harvest shellfish:     

Mangroves grow algae on their roots.  The algae produce oxygen and provide food and habitat for fish, both prey and preditors. 


7 harvest saline bricks as building material, build housing for farmers:    

The cradle-to-cradle concept used here is that there is no linear process for directing materials to landfill.  Waste equals food.  All materials used as resources must be biplastic or compostable or eaten or completely reusable. 


8 expand design from water edge, desalinization greenhouses, solar energy plants:    

There is no end to the project in that it can expand indefinitely. 

Who will take these actions?

International accords between USA and Mexico will be required, as well as the Salton Sea Authority, plus yet-to-be-created Non-Governmental Organizations, with teams of collaborating engineers and biologists, involving local residents and local governments.

Where will these actions be taken?

This project is about starting at the Salton Sea dead zone, but the true advantage is to expand and duplicate these efforts globally.

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

The long term effect of this project if a growing negative carbon footprint that increasingly mitigates the underlying causes of global warming and the climate crisis. 

What are other key benefits?

Long term stability in climate and a template for globally addressing climate crisis directly, safely and globally in a way that benefits the biosphere as well as human civilization. 

Empathic civilization will expand and bonds grow stronger.

benefits can and should be shared

mind set of thinking positively and log-term

real hope for the future

What are the proposal’s costs?

range $500,000,000 to $1,000,000,000 USD.

Time line

In ten to twenty years a 250,000 acre dead zone will become an ecologically thriving fish farm and ecological system.  More importantly, its ongoing expansion will be a shining example of a scalable and sharable design worldwide.  Over decades and centuries, the ecological and economic advantages will expand, not diminish.

Related proposals

stopping desertification in Africa

reforestation efforts

Permiculture farming, local food production

hydroponics, combining systems to precycle waste

vertical green walls and roofs in cities


Searches: Cradle to Cradle, Permaculture, Man Who Stopped the Desert, Veta la Palma, Willie Smits, Salton Sea, mangrove trees, reforestation, climate change, natural capital, empathic civilization (esp book of that title by Jeremy Rifkin), heat budget of earth, Bill McKibben (esp books: Eaarth, Deep Economy)