Desert Spiral Initiative: How you can turn a story into reality

Now that you have finished reading Desert Spiral Initiative by Howard Gaukrodger, it’s time to turn the story into reality.

7-minute audio version of The Desert Spiral Initiative Part 1, written and narrated by Howard Gaukrodger.
15-minute audio version of The Desert Spiral Initiative Part 2, written and narrated by Howard Gaukrodger.
12-minute audio version of The Desert Spiral Initiative Part 3, written and narrated by Howard Gaukrodger.

All the solutions proposed in our COP27 Anthology are realistic, they have been verified by experts in their field but they will require financial investment, policy changes, research and/or time to become reality and/or scale up. If we start acting now, we can make it happen. This page is designed to give you the tools and information you need to get started on implementing the solutions presented in the story.

Combination of technology and community input with existing and government-proposed methods in Egypt to:

The sequestration of 1,000,000 tonnes of CO2 by planting 50 million trees in 1,737 spirals across 1,000 km of the Western Desert, Egypt, with the option of the innermost spirals being crops to sustain a community in the centre of each spiral. This story presents a complete self-sustaining solution in the form of a fictitious story.

This page contains all the resources and research the author conducted when writing this story, we hope you will find it useful to discover how you can bring this solution to life.


How to turn this story into a reality

This is a story, not a scientific report. However, based on research, we believe the Desert Spiral Initiative is capable of accomplishing the goal of sequestrating 1,000,000 tonnes of CO2 per year when the trees are mature (10 years). We believe this is feasible as a result of the combination of:

  • proven, existing technologies
  • the desire of the Egyptian government to:
    • re-green the Sahara, to expand habitable land, reduce the country’s dependency on imported grain, to construct and/or complete massive engineering projects (Toshka, Qatarra) and to win foreign investment,
  • the involvement of the community (all classes, races, religions)
  • the recognised global need to plant trees and the support such projects attract
  • the rewards for Egypt and the world of even partial success of the Initiative.

The author has compiled a wealth of resources for further reading on the topic.

Online resources

The author has provided all of these sources to research the solution proposed in the story further. Gaukrodger used all of these sources when writing the Desert Spiral Initiative. Click Read More below to view all the links.

Read More



How Do Hot Air Balloons Work? | Virgin Balloon Flights

How Hot Air Balloons Work | HowStuffWorks

Egypt-balloons-21.jpg (JPEG Image, 1024 × 768 pixels)


Dirigible balloons and their future applications – Space Legal Issues

How CargoLifter's Airship Will Work | HowStuffWorks

Aquifer, NSAS

Toshka irrigation pipelines.png (PNG Image, 941 × 808 pixels)

Groundwater Conditions and the Geoenvironmental Impacts of the Recent Development in the South Eastern Part of the Western Desert of Egypt

9th World Water Forum – Dakar 2021

Groundwater: Making the invisible visible in 2022 and beyond | UNESCO

The evolving framework for transboundary cooperation in the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System: Water International: Vol 44, No 3

Great Man-Made River – Wikipedia

Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System – Wikipedia

Egypt – Settlement patterns | Britannica

Nubian Sandstone Aquifer_Paper_Quadri_Elena2.pdf

Nubian Aquifer | Unesco Groundwater Portal

Joint Authority for the study and development of the NUBIAN sandstione aquifersystem

Plumbing the Sahara – The Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System

Sahara Aquifer – 20X More Water Than Africa's Total Surface Water

Managing shared aquifer resources in Africa – UNESCO Digital Library

Plumbing the Sahara | The Economist

Technology — Seawater Greenhouse

Authorities, Policies


Egypt – Renewable Energy

Egypt pushes forward on clean energy

Egypt has 85 projects to adapt to climate change

MWRI – Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation

Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (Egypt) – Wikipedia

Carbon capture

Carbon dioxide, global warming and you – Carbonify

Storing Carbon in Plants and Trees – How Much CO2 is Absorbed by Trees and Other Vegetation? – Innovate Eco

Why Paying Farmers for Reforestation is a Game-Changer – TMA

Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Package – DAWE

Carbon Capture: Early Days of a $1 Trillion Industry? – ShareCafe

What is CO2e? Carbon Dioxide Equivalent Definition, Meaning & Impact | Inspire | Inspire Clean Energy

Storing Carbon in Plants and Trees – How Much CO2 is Absorbed by Trees and Other Vegetation? – Innovate Eco

Converters, Calculators

Feddan – Wikipedia

20 AUD to EGP – Australian Dollars to Egyptian Pounds Exchange Rate

Convert ton to tonne – Conversion of Measurement Units

Convert hectares to square m – Area Conversions

Convert hectares to square km – Area Conversions


Formula calculates how much water each tree needs

Convert ounces to litres – Conversion of Measurement Units


The Islamic Etiquette of dealing with people |

Berber Dress |

Jahannam – Wikipedia

Sounds of Cairo — Traffic, the Call the Prayer, and more

50 Famous Amazigh (Berber) Names For Baby Boys and Girls


Tree-Planting Drones Have Successfully Planted Thousands of Saplings – and They're About to Plant More

What’s the Optimal Tree Spacing Distance When Planting Multiple Trees? – Pro-Cut Tree Service

Accelerated Agriculture | Grow Plants Faster

Bringing degraded African land back to life | Africa Renewal

These drones can plant 100,000 trees a day | World Economic Forum

This tech company is using AI and drones to plant trees | World Economic Forum

These seed-firing drones plant thousands of trees each day | Pioneers for Our Planet – YouTube

This Tree-Planting Drone Can Seed Up to 100k Trees a Day — The Latch

How Much Weight Can a Drone Carry? – Drone Tech Planet


constant slow drip irrigation in desert climate, beneficial or harmful to fruit trees? (trees forum at permies)

Pics: One of Egypt's most arid governorates plans to be main producer of jojoba oil – EgyptToday

Boring Tunnels to make Sahara Green again | by Pavel Konecny | Age of Awareness | Medium

Egypt to complete 19 desalination plants within 18 months – EgyptToday

eco-hydrate – 500ml | AusPots

How Does a Solar-Powered Drip Irrigation System Work – Spheral Solar

Solar Powered Irrigation | Self-Sustaining Properties


African Locusts — Climate Change “Green Colonialism,” and the Threat of Mass Starvation | by John Muresianu | Medium


Earthshot Prize

Could the Sahara ever be green again? | Live Science

Namibia – Seawater Solutions


Pics: One of Egypt's most arid governorates plans to be main producer of jojoba oil – EgyptToday

Epic Guide: The Right Way to Plant a Fruit Tree in the Desert | Gardening in the Desert

Plants That Grow In The Sahara Desert – WorldAtlas

The Best Desert Trees with Pictures and Names

Agave – Wikipedia

Ethiopia plants 350m trees in a day to help tackle climate crisis | Ethiopia | The Guardian

Grow your own forest: how to plant trees to help save the planet | Trees and forests | The Guardian

Reforesting the world: the Australian farmer with 240m trees to his name | Trees and forests | The Guardian

Anti-Desertification Plants – DESERTIFICATION

How to grow vegetables in the Sahara Desert – CNN

Sahara Desert-Plants – Crops


Vallerani System

Delfino Plough – Bringing degraded African land back to life

TREE PLANTATION | Protect And Grow Your Money Growing Trees


Egypt – Renewable Energy

Egypt pushes forward on clean energy

World’s Largest Solar Project Planned for Saharan Desert


Egypt to use Nile silt for desert development : An unprecedented project | Horn Affairs

What is river silt: features and useful properties

A new Saharan dust source activation frequency map derived from MSG‐SEVIRI IR‐channels – Schepanski – 2007 – Geophysical Research Letters – Wiley Online Library

Ancient gold camp discovered along the Nile

Alluvial Gold Explained – To Help You Find Gold

Similar projects

Qattara Depression Project – Wikipedia

Namibia – Seawater Solutions

Sundrop Farms – Wikipedia

Sahara Forest Project – Wikipedia

Sahara Forest Project –

The Great Green Wall in Algeria – DESERTIFICATION

Inland Customs Line – Wikipedia

Great Green Wall — The Great Green Wall

Africa's Great Green Wall: close to 18 million hectares of land restored | Africa Renewal

 Sahara Forest Project – Wikipedia

Tribes, Places

Siwa, Aswan

Egypt – Settlement patterns | Britannica

Egypt – People | Britannica

Unveiling the intriguing tribes of Egypt – Hello Travel Buzz

Major Ethnic Groups in Egypt – WorldAtlas tribes.gif (GIF Image, 230 × 320 pixels)

You can download a further bibliography of sources below

Read Less

Interested in progressing this solution further?

Here are a series of steps you can take to progress this climate solution further. You can also contact us at and we’d be happy to connect you with experts in these solutions to discuss further.

Actions for policymakers  Encourage the construction of a single spiral (following the concepts in the story) for proof of concept.

Ensure accurate information on existing and proposed irrigation projects that would be of significance for The Desert Spiral Initiative (e.g. Toshka canals, New Valley Project).

Compile a budget with/without foreign investment for 1, 10, 100, 1000 spirals, with/without access to canal water (i.e. using the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System).

Determine the parties (domestic and international) that would be interested in participating in the construction and planting of the spirals.

Assess how local communities can be involved (e.g. by building residences and/or utility buildings and/or a mosque, etc.) in the middle of the spirals. Consider how communities residing in the spirals can be compensated for tending the trees and crops in the spiral(s).

Identify and promote the benefits of I) the trees and crops grown in the spirals for domestic and international markets, and ii) the production of solar power.
Actions for funding bodies  Promote the Initiative to decision-makers and communities in Egypt and countries investing in Egypt and its Western Desert-based infrastructure.

Invite multiple feasibility studies.
Actions for business  
Actions for publicCirculate details of The Desert Spiral Initiative in order to gauge interest.

Social media campaigns & lobbying of governments.
Find your government representative or Member of Parliament and email them, whether you are in AustraliaCanadaUKUSA or elsewhere.
Vote for ‘The Party of the Future’.
Desert Spiral Initiative is one of 24 short stories from the anthology No More Fairy Tales: Stories To Save Our Planet. Buy the eBook direct here. The paperback is available on order from your bookshop, via Amazon or direct from the publisher.

Meet the author: Howard Gaukrodger

Howard Gaukrodger. A full-time author, Howard has been involved in writing all his life. He taught English, studied translation, then operated a language consultancy in Norway, though it was his experience cycling, hiking and flying around the globe that inspired his first novel – a humorous travelogue, recently rewritten under the title Campervans Gone Wild. Howard has now turned his attention to climate change, and his second novel, Lufianblid: Global Dawning – the countdown begins, aims to impassion young adults to engage in this crucial issue. Through climate fiction, Howard is convinced we can increase our awareness of the world’s fragility and foster greater efforts to mitigate climate change. LinkedIn ;

I’ve been interested in the idea of re-greening the Sahara since childhood. When I learned of the aquifer beneath the desert many years ago, I was so struck by the discovery that the knowledge remained with me. It is purely serendipitous that I should be invited to contribute a story on climate change mitigation at the precise and convenient moment of having just finished my first novel on the subject, and that I should choose the topic of re-greening the desert of Egypt when the next COP conference is to be held in that country this November.

Howard Gaukrodger, author