The main barrier to global prosperity is quite simply poverty. The digital divide has created and maintains a prison that prohibits 80 percent of the world’s population from achieving their true potential. With the most basic tools many of these prisoners can become successful and productive members of our global community. Hidden amongst these people that society has left behind is the cure for cancer, the next literary classic, the next technological innovator or world class athlete. There is not one solution that can correct this injustice, no magic button that when pressed will right these wrongs. It is a very complicated societal, cultural and systemic malaise that must be addressed from several fronts and with a nested set of ideas and concepts can be slowly transform the nations poor into productive members of society that will in turn benefit every member of society exponentially. The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity is determined to address poverty and has laid out a four pronged approach that when augmented with a few additional concepts presents the best case for addressing global poverty and moving our species into a new era of dignity and prosperity.
The physical causes of desertification are well understood and there are many physical solutions that seek to address these causes. These solutions however are destined to fail unless they address the real sociological reasons that are at the heart of these issues that affect all inhabitants of planet earth. The root causes of these and many other earth altering conditions are poverty.
According to the World Bank 80 percent of the planet’s population lives on less than $10 per day. Some of the desertification is due to improper farming techniques however the problem is acerbated by cooking fuel needs, lighting, and heating requirements. Much of the remaining surrounding foliage is stripped to serve these basic needs. Currently 1.7 billion people worldwide are without electricity for basic human needs and economic development. According to a recent study by Lighting Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa has a rural electricity access rate of 2%. Africa is the richest continent on the planet in terms of natural resources, but by far the poorest continent in terms of personal net worth and the greatest disparity of wealth (Namibia has the greatest GINI of any country on the planet with 70.7). Among the poorest of poor, lighting represents 10-15% of the total house income while providing little in return. Mobile phones are quickly becoming a means of escaping poverty despite the unavailability of electricity. Although villagers benefit with better connectivity, charging their cellular phones is still a major problem for many rural poor in developing countries. Villagers in Kajrai (Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh) walk almost 20 km just to charge their cell phones. An entire economic ecosystem needs to be developed before any money is spent on an ecological system. It is too easy to design solutions in a vacuum and congratulate ourselves on having solved these complicated issues by merely proposing half a solution. A more comprehensive solution needs to take into account the human element when developing a realistic solution. The focus for this entry is on forcibly displaced people of which are among the planets neediest. There are 43.3 million forcibly displaced people in the world (these include internally displaced people, refugees, and asylum-seekers) which is more than the entire population of Canada and Switzerland combined!
The first step is stabilizing the existing environment. This is achieved by selective planting of a carefully selected biomass. There are several species of plant that offer ideal properties that are appropriate for this stage. Biomass is planted in a grid pattern that once takes hold will fill in to cover and stabilize the infill. This planting grid is woven from the biomass and contains seeds and sufficient fertilizer to ensure it takes hold. This first step involves resettling a small group of trained Forcibly Displaced Individuals. These pioneers will be provided housing and a small livestock grant and taught to create self sufficiency and independence from the start. The first biomass crop is harvested to fulfill a variety functions. The crop is mixed with lime to create Biocrete, a building mass for housing. The resultant material offers high thermal resistance, and is easily covered with stucco for a long wearing, durable surface. The biomass can also be pelletized for heating and food preparation. Additionally, the biomass can be used to generate ethanol or biodiesel and a few of the plant candidates offer highly nutritious seed for human consumption as well. Once the initial crop is harvested the next crop is turned over to further reinforce the soil and to fill in the grid pattern. The next step begins with the next installment of Internally Displaced People, these are settled and the next biomass crop is harvested. This next larger crop is sufficient for commercial purposes and to create new planting grid material. Several of the biomass candidates offer ideal plants for natural fibers and are also suitable for creating slurry that can be cast in a variety of forms. This is where the real work starts. These natural fibers and slurry are used to create a variety of craft items as well as bulk fiber exports. These are then sold on the internet in conjunction with a viral marketing campaign. The fibers and seed are also used to create the planting grid and serve to expand the concept to other areas and acts as a training program to further expand the program. This model is extended across the world bringing prosperity, independence, a sustainable ecology and economy to previously devastated wasteland and provides a new way of life and independence for displaced individuals.