British economist Milton Friedman once warned that if you put the government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years you’d have a shortage of sand. Whether governments or free markets are to blame, it is possible to deplete abundant resources such as Irish rain. Now thanks to global obsessions with concrete icons, fracking […]
Sderot’s dusty streets and woeful aspect come naturally after enduring years of rocket attacks from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. In this Western Negev town in Israel, all bus stops are small bomb shelters. A traffic roundabout represents the town center, with a pizzeria, a stationary store, and some tired-looking clothing shops around it. The young, […]
Some advocates of eco architecture say that for preserving the urban space the higher up you build, the better. But with an astonishing amount of desert landscape all around us, in Asia, in the Middle East, Africa and even in the United States, we’re thinking – let’s showcase the buried homes, the sustainable buildings that have […]
Actors and actresses are starting to arrive in Abu Dhabi to film a segment of Star Wars 7 in the desert, according to sources close to The National – one of the best regarded newspapers in the United Arab Emirates. How does this fare for the local environment?
Ever seen a spider do back flips? If you have arachnophobia, you might not want to, but for everyone else, the spinning Cebrennus rechenbergi desert spider in Morocco is quite a sight.
On a recent trip to Ethiopia, Italian designer Arturo Vittori discovered how collecting water is both dangerous and time-consuming – especially for women and children. He thinks these water-trapping WarkaWater Towers will help.
With its oversized ears and soft brown eyes, the world’s smallest canid is also probably the cutest. But being adorable has turned out to be lethal for the Fennec Fox in Tunisia, where both locals and tourists are loving the species to death.
To many Egyptians, the desert is a hostile place: water is scarce, terror cells hide in its vast expanse, or land mines make crossing them a death trap. But the Desert Breath land art project near Hurghada on the Red Sea coast reminds us that Egypt, despite its many troubles, is a place of extraordinary beauty.
In my last post I described how I had discovered the remains of a defunct development known as the ‘Arabian Canal’ in the desert some 30km outside Dubai. This time I’m featuring one of these remaining waterways which is still, mysteriously, flooded, despite having been abandoned some 4 years ago.
Albeit huge advocates of urban cycling, we have been sensitive to the fact that – mostly because of culture – the practice hasn’t taken off in the Middle East. But a You Tube video from Saudi Arabia challenges all the naysayers.
Star Wars fans lovingly restored Luke Skywalker’s Tatooine home in Tunisia recently, but the former home of young Anakin, who would eventually become Darth Vader, is about to be engulfed by fast-moving desert sand dunes.
Ask yourself: if you lived in the deep desert, where the sand burns your soles at midday, would you run outside and play soccer? No sane person should. But Dick Sweeney has sent us thought-provoking images of soccer posts in extreme environments that reveal just how much Arabs love their football.
Refrigeration is perhaps one of the greatest inventions of modern man, but it has come at a price. Not only do they require a great deal of energy to stay cool, but they also rely on ozone-depleting chloro-fluorocarbons (CFCs), or freon (though some countries have phased these out.) As an increasing number of people walk […]
In Egypt, people often have to line up for hours to fill their cars and trucks with diesel fuel – particularly during summer months when it comes at a premium. Concerned to ease these shortages, as well as pollution and climate change, Egyptian agricultural engineer Wadad Khaireddine is pushing to grow a desert full of […]
Although the Sahara desert used to be a green retreat for giraffes and hippos 5,000 years ago, it is now a giant, sometimes rolling landscape of sand. A lot of sand. In fact, roughly two thirds of Algeria is made up of sand, according to the authors of a study published in the Arabian Journal […]
With the advent of modern agriculture and technology, it is no longer necessary for most people to shoot their dinner. Yet the taste for the sport of tracking and shooting an animal has persisted, and in some countries, hunting is carefully regulated to maintain a sound balance between predator and prey. Working with the local […]
Anyone who loved the 3D Solar Sinter that uses the sun’s energy to turn sand into functional glass objects will love the Sun Cutter. Also designed by Markus Kayser, this homemade laser cutter carves pre-programmed industrial designs into a variety of materials – including cardboard, paper and even thin slabs of plywood – and it […]
When he first began his career as a young biologist, Allan Savory basically ordered the culling of 40,000 elephants. He and other scientists in Zimbabwe observed that former grasslands set aside as national parks were turning to desert and decided, after considerable research, that elephants were responsible. But it didn’t help to kill them. In […]
Researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology (EUT) and Hong Kong Polytechnic University have developed a fabric that traps water molecules present in fog. This clever new technology could have applications in dry coastal zones throughout Africa and the Middle East, where lack of water is increasingly both a humanitarian and security concern. To make the […]
By the end of the decade, Morocco hopes to generate a full 2,000 megawatts of wind energy, but for now, the North African country needs all the help it can get from foreign investors. No stranger to wind, GDF Suez from France inked a 20 year deal with to build and operate a 300 MW […]
Scarab beetles were sacred to the ancient Egyptians. These insects rolled balls of dung across the earth just as the sun god Ra rolled across the sky. Scarabs were seen as earthly manifestations of heavenly movement. A team of scientists from South Africa and Sweden recently published a study indicating that there was a grain of […]
It’s strange that a farmer’s market should make news, but when it’s in Qatar, one of the driest and least food secure nations on earth, a farmer’s market is a big deal. So much so that local professional photographer Mohammed Ismail stopped by for a shoot. Located 30 kilometers outside of the capital Doha, where […]
A suite of mobile solar-powered lamps have completely changed the lives of hundreds of villagers in Mali. Approximately 90 per cent of the desert country’s residents lack access to an electrical grid, such that many children are unable to learn after dark and mothers stay up late using the light of paraffin lamps to complete […]
Israeli designer Ohad Lustgarten designed Shade and Shelter as part of his final project at Shenkar College of Design, the same center that spawned living lace made from bacteria. The six foot tall prototype constructed out of cardboard looks like a giant centipede when it is unwound but then coils up to provide a lightweight […]
Rock Stadium by Lebanese design firm MZ Architects hasn’t been built yet but it has already won two coveted international design awards, including Best Future Building of the Year at the 2012 LEAF Awards. Marwan Zgheib accepted this year’s award for Al Ain’s sunken Rock Stadium in London on 21 September, sharing a slice of […]