Green Deserts – The Saltwater Revolution (An Ode to Innovation)


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We are not alone in our awe of the Sahara Forest Project (SFP), which has already built a pilot project in Qatar that produces energy, clean water and food in the middle of the desert – all without a single drop of fossil fuel. Owned by biomimicry architect Michael Pawlyn, structural engineer Bill Watts, and the Norwegian environmental group the Bellona Foundation, the Sahara Forest Project was initially established in 2009.

Inspired by the SFP’s multitiered solution to one of the most pressing issues of our time – water scarcity – The Copenhagen Film Company has been following the group’s progress in both Qatar and Jordan. They are making a documentary called Green Deserts – The Saltwater Revolution – an ode to innovation that hopes to inspire even further forward-looking solutions. 

greening the desert, Green Deserts, documentary, Sahara Forest Project, Qatar, Jordan, Copenhagen Film Company, documentary, clean tech, energy, food, water scarcityThe Copenhagen Film Company is comprised of a highly skilled team of filmmakers.

They include Per Liebeck, the director, who has a host of international documentaries under his belt, producer Ulrik Gutin, award-winning cinematographer Casper Høyberg, and Jacob Theusen – one of the most respected editors in Denmark.

Associate Producer Julie Bayer will add her talents to the mix as well.

Their intention is to answer the following questions:

Will the people behind the Sahara Forest Project succeed in bringing this technology to market and sharing it with the societies of people who need it most: local desert communities in water scarce regions? Will they benefit from this revolutionary technology economically, environmentally and socially?

In order to answer these questions, they intend to continue following the project through the eyes of engineer Bill Watts, and  the numerous scientists, environmentalists and other engineers who have devoted so much of their life to getting this initiative off the ground.

Already they have encountered various bureaucratic, technical and personal obstacles – all of which the documentary will explore in order to shine a light on the hard work that goes into a project of this enormous scope.

“The world is full of crazy challenges, so we need some crazy people and some crazy ideas to solve them”, says Frederic Hauge, President of Bellona Foundation and one of the stakeholders in the Sahara Forest Project.

“One and half year ago I stumbled upon a small article in a British magazine, mentioning that Norwegians were going to green the desert,” says director Per Liebeck.

greening the desert, Green Deserts, documentary, Sahara Forest Project, Qatar, Jordan, Copenhagen Film Company, documentary, clean tech, energy, food, water scarcity“The project caught my interest. Firstly because green deserts sound like a utopian dream – secondly because Norway and deserts don´t seem like a logical combination. But oil and (lack of) water apparently do mix and I saw the beginning of a fascinating story, which spurred me to approach the persons behind the project – The Sahara Forest Project,” he added.

His plan is to determine whether SFP is too good to be true.

Liebeck and the rest of the team have recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $35,000 for the film, after which they will need to raise even more money for post-production.

“There is no doubt in our minds that this unique environmental project and the amazing people behind it will attract viewers all over the world,” they write in their campaign.

We couldn’t agree more.

If you are interested to learn more about the Sahara Forest Project or want to support this valuable documentary, please visit the Green Deserts Kickstarter campaign.

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