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Could we "Terraform" Australia?
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Could we "Terraform" Australia?:

 26 The Earth Sheep, Thu, 15th Dec '11 4:45:51 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
[up] But isn't man also a natural force, especially at the time dingoes were introduced to Australia?
Still Sheepin'
 27 USAF713, Thu, 15th Dec '11 4:48:00 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
We are a natural force but not in the same way as what applies to natural selection. We cause things that would never happen normally and which devastate biospheres. While there are many changes that should not be undone (for example, introducing horses to the Western Hemisphere), there are far more that should be undone.
I am now known as Flyboy.
 28 Ace of Spades, Thu, 15th Dec '11 4:48:30 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Carcio, if they were introduced FOUR THOUSAND YEARS AGO, I think dingoes count as native and an important part of Australia's ecosystem by this point. If you added in an extra zero when typing and meant four hundred years ago, then that makes more sense. Animals like rabbits and cane toads were introduced far more recently and are probably more important to control.

Does anyone have any information of environmental protection efforts currently going on in Australia?
Australia needs water badly. Would it be feasible to dig a big hole in the desert and make a giant fresh water lake? There's nothing good in the desert anyway.

edited 15th Dec '11 6:57:58 PM by Talby

 30 nightwyrm zero, Thu, 15th Dec '11 7:19:20 PM Relationship Status: Complex: I'm real, they are imaginary
^ You have some way of making it rain in the middle of the desert?

 31 USAF713, Thu, 15th Dec '11 7:21:15 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
They could try to create a large artificial body and then ship in purified sea water, but I'm not sure if that's either scientifically feasible or cost effective...
I am now known as Flyboy.
 32 Ace of Spades, Thu, 15th Dec '11 7:36:55 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
I think it's scientifically feasible, but at this point probably not at all cost effective. For one, what are they going to do, continually ship in water for an inland sea? If it doesn't rain in that area it's just going to dry up. And mess with what local wildlife there is for essentially no good reason.
 33 USAF713, Thu, 15th Dec '11 7:40:16 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
I dunno. My scientific understanding on this subject is severely and unfortunately limited. I figured if they got enough water there, maybe the rain cycle would be livened up. I have no clue if this is actually possible or just me being ridiculous, honestly.

It probably isn't cost effective no matter what, though.
I am now known as Flyboy.
 34 Ace of Spades, Thu, 15th Dec '11 7:49:27 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
The problem is is that deserts are largely formed by rain shadows, because they're next mountains, which seems to be the case here. You can't really change geology. Unless someone wants to convince the Australian government to blow up their mountains or whatever. *shrug* Now I feel like we're going into the realm of the silly.
 35 The Earth Sheep, Thu, 15th Dec '11 8:03:16 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
[up] Except the Australian desert wasn't formed through rain shadow (neither are a lot of deserts, actually, for example the Sahara), as has been discussed in this topic already.
Still Sheepin'
I did mention the water problem, and offer a few possible solutions (my personal favorite is a combination of the orbiting solar mirrors heating up the cold oceans around the continent so that more rainclouds form, plus planting lots of trees in order to take advantage of the fact that plants act as moisture sinks). All are expensive with current technology, but who knows what the costs will be like in a century? I assume that we don't actually start to geoengineer things until we attain fusion or orbiting solar power stations, and once we are at that level of technology engineering a little rain for Australia would probably make sense economically.
 
名無しさん
It seems like a nice idea, and as far as my imagination's concerned, a revival of Australia's prehistoric interior rainforests would be a dream come true, but we will never be able to restore all the species that were wiped out along with those forests - they're gone forever. Even if we could deal with human damage, and replace the type of ecosystem lost when Aborigines arrived and started hunting and burning (not to mention the effects of later migrations), we're never going to be able to restore things to their original state, to undo what's happened - and at this stage, in the futile attempt to do so, we'd be signing a death warrant for those species that have adapted to the desert environment. We should be doing our utmost to wipe out recently introduced species, but beyond that, it's far from feasible - and if we do seriously attempt such a project at some stage, the first step would still be to wipe out those species, which is proving difficult enough as it is - right now, I don't think there's any sense in seriously considering anything more. That said, I think the first step in such a grand project would be to gradually plant trees in towards the desert, which would mean planting them out from forested areas, which would mean sacrificing what little arable land we have to an attempt at manipulating the environment, which likely won't achieve the desired ends.

The fact is, though, that most of this would be trying to negate not only human impact, but millions of years of natural changes. You'd be fighting against the morphology and position of the continent, as well as global weather patterns and likely a number of other factors, too. I really can't see it happening outside of fiction - by the way, if anybody knows any good writing on the topic (of Australia's ancient rainforests, of such an environment never having been lost, of such an environment being restored, etc.), I'd be very interested in it.

Natural Influences
Human Influences

edited 15th Dec '11 11:33:08 PM by ekuseruekuseru

Adveho in mihi Lucifer
You have some way of making it rain in the middle of the desert?

Slowly enrichen the interior's flora. If the aborigenes burned away the plants that offered sufficient evapotranspiration, we can bring them back.
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 39 Carciofus, Fri, 16th Dec '11 4:30:51 AM from Alpha Tucanae I
Is that cake frosting?
Carcio, if they were introduced FOUR THOUSAND YEARS AGO, I think dingoes count as native and an important part of Australia's ecosystem by this point. If you added in an extra zero when typing and meant four hundred years ago, then that makes more sense. Animals like rabbits and cane toads were introduced far more recently and are probably more important to control.
No, I mean four thousand. In terms of ecosystems and evolution, that's not much.

But in any case, I agree that exterminating them now would be a very bad idea.

edited 16th Dec '11 4:32:16 AM by Carciofus

But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 40 nightwyrm zero, Fri, 16th Dec '11 4:42:18 AM Relationship Status: Complex: I'm real, they are imaginary
[up][up] Slowly is the keyword here. It's not just planting trees. It's planting lichen and algae and fungi so that the area can become suitable for grasses and shrubs which then can later become suitable for larger plants. You're talking about succession here, a process that can take centuries. I don't see how any government is going to spend a bunch of money in a project that won't see completion for centuries.

Raven Wilder
Well, if we could melt some more of the Antarctic ice shelf, we might be able to just flood most of the continent and turn the rest into beach resorts.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
 42 Qeise, Fri, 16th Dec '11 5:39:28 AM from sqrt(-inf)/0 Relationship Status: Waiting for you *wink*
Professional Smartass
I don't see how any government is going to spend a bunch of money in a project that won't see completion for centuries.
And once again we have gotten to humanitys lack of long term thinking. It's just as absent in enviromental projects as it is in economic ones.
Laws are made to be broken. You're next, thermodynamics.
Raven Wilder
Why should anyone care about the environment several centuries from now, though? By then we'll hopefully all be living in virtual reality machines while robots take care of our bodies.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
 44 Qeise, Fri, 16th Dec '11 5:49:26 AM from sqrt(-inf)/0 Relationship Status: Waiting for you *wink*
Professional Smartass
Well I at least would like the world to be becoming better.
Laws are made to be broken. You're next, thermodynamics.
Raven Wilder
Better by whose standards? I'm sure the animals who have adapted to desert climates wouldn't be happy.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
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Total posts: 45
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