Desalination takes an enormous amount of energy, and as the water crisis increases, the search for ways to create fresh, clean water from the vast resource of the oceans becomes more intense.
Enter Samuel Ghalan, who has plans to put pesky seagulls to good use. Seagulls have a natural ‘salt-gland’, which enables them to drink salt water. It filters out the salt, letting it run from channels in their beaks, leaving fresh water behind.
“It’s quite ingenious, really, and it makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Seagulls, and other marine animals like turtles and crocodiles, haven’t got another source of fresh water. The thing is, we don’t have many turtles or crocodiles, sure, yet we’ve got a s***-load of gulls,” he says.
His proposal includes capturing and harnessing the gulls in giant ‘rookeries’ that mimic their natural roosting environment. They would then be individually subject to an operation to insert a ‘water-collector’, a custom device to divert a small amount of fresh water from the gland to a collecting satchel. The water collected is then released while the bird is resting.
“It’s only a few mils at a time. The birds don’t seem to mind. While one or two birds doesn’t yield a lot, a couple of thousand would do it. And the best thing is it’s as cheap as chips!”
Now there’s a new way to celebrate the life of a loved one, as well as give back to the environment. ‘Cemetrees’, trees grown with their roots tapped into a decaying corpse, are the latest trend to hit the posthumous.
“We mourn the dead, and cemeteries are a reflection of the sorrow felt for the lives lost looking like a sea of granite tombstones, cold and lifeless. Once the tears have dried, the celebration of the life can begin. That’s where cemetrees come in,” says Sarah Gallagher, founder of the new concept, “Why lock the blood and bone, which is excellent fertilizer, inside a casket that will take decades or even centuries to break down?”
Not just any tree will do. Sarah has specially selected a variety of shrubbery that can be safely planted without disrupting neighbouring plots.
“We get a lot of calls for evergreens, but some people like the idea of a deciduous. Fruit trees are becoming popular, mostly dwarf pear and apple, but some citrus varieties as well. They need to be pruned once in a while, so they don’t overreach the plot boundaries.”
Asked whether there was any issue eating the fruit that came from the trees ‘grown by grandpa’, Sarah replies, “That’s a matter of taste.”