The Present describes a Perfect Storm that we all face as our population increases by more than a million people every three days – a multifaceted threat at this pivotal moment in our human journey. Will we weather the Storm and realize our amazing potential, and how can we do that? This is one of the most important moments in human history because the decisions we make today will affect future generations of our children and those of many other species that share our beautiful world.
The Present then shows the many ways in which azolla can help us weather the Storm and reconnect with the natural world, turning a problem into an opportunity as we see the dark cloud’s silver lining. It describes how azolla can mitigate each of the Storm’s threats, then takes us to different parts of the world including India where azolla is revered as a wonder plant, transforming the lives of smallholder farmers for less than 70 rupees (one US dollar) a year, and to Ecuador where it can save the country more than a billion dollars a year and protect the country’s precious ecosystems.
We then travel to Sierra Leone where azolla’s use as a biofertilizer in rice paddies doubles the yield of rice, prevents deforestation and provides the country’s Ebola Orphans with a sustainable source of food, money to build their schools and a future filled with hope. We see how azolla can slow the move into cities across Africa and the world, letting people stay in their communities so that people can maintain a connection with their roots instead of migrating thousands of miles, or eking out a bleak existence in shanty towns, favelas or Nigeria’s Makoko – the world’s largest floating slum.
The story then takes us into space where azolla can be used in closed-loop life support systems (CLLS), providing food, recycled oxygen and purified water that are essential as we travel from our home planet to explore other worlds.
Back on Earth, the Azolla Biosystem, which is described in the book, grows azolla anywhere in the world. The highly flexible, modular biosystem sequesters CO2 for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) or converts the greenhouse gas into a local source of renewable food, livestock feed, biofertilizer, biofuel and high-value pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.
But azolla can do more. Azolla Hubs that house the Biosystem increase urban agriculture in the world’s growing megacities and help connect their inhabitants with nature through living, green arteries – a wonder plant that can do so much.