Sahara Forest Project that breathes life into deserts claims Climate Week 2012 award

It may be hard to imagine an arid desert in full bloom, but one UK firm has dreamed up a way of turning the driest places on Earth into fertile land.

The ‘Sahara Forest Project’ uses specially-built greenhouses that turn salt water into fresh water using solar power, enabling crops to be grown in deserts.

Seawater Greenhouse, the firm behind the project, claims it offers the answers to three of the biggest challenges the world faces from damaging climate change – the need for clean energy, clean water and sustainable food production.

It could mean crops growing in the Sahara Desert, which was once believed to be a lush forest environment with flowing lakes and abundant flora and fauna.

Now the firm is about launch its Sahara Forest Pilot Project on a one-hectare site just outside Doha, Qatar, after landing £3.3m in funding.

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The British company was recognised today at the Climate Week Awards as it scooped the Best Product title.

Other Climate Change Award winners from 13 other categories included Too Good to Waste doggy boxes for diners to take their restaurant leftovers home and the team behind the Close The Door, which works towards improving the energy efficiency of shops by keeping high street doors closed.

Climate Week, which runs from the 12 -18 March, is the country’s biggest climate change campaign, backed by Prime Minister David Cameron and the likes of Sir Paul McCartney and actress Sienna Miller.

Mr Cameron said: “I am extremely pleased to support Britain’s second Climate Week. Climate Week in 2011 was Britain’s biggest ever environmental occasion and Climate Week 2012 is expected to have even more impact.”

Kevin Steele, Climate Week’s founder said: “The Climate Week Awards offer a vision of what a low-carbon society could look like, and that vision is being acted on by the hundreds of thousands of people taking part in Climate Week across Britain.”