We seek a permanent end to world hunger, illiteracy and environmental degradation. Obviously this is a huge task, and for this reason, many groups and organizations have attempted to tackle these problems piecemeal. While many of these efforts are to be applauded, and often provide immediate temporary relief, we believe that a permanent solution requires acknowledging their interdependent nature. Our proposal is the Modular Aquaponics System (MAS). The basic components of MAS are:
- A small greenhouse and aquaponics unit, i.e., a linked aquaculture and hydroponics unit for vegetable, fruit and protein production.
- A wireless and portable Internet browser.
Briefly, the rationale for MAS is as follows; an aquaponic system balances fish and plant production. Fish waste provides nutrients for plant growth, while plants serve to purify water to the benefit of the fish. The result is an environmentally friendly form of farming. The aquaponic production of food in greenhouses has several advantages, including:
* Aquaponic farming is environmentally friendly.
* Aquaponic farming does not require arable land.
* Aquaponic farming does not require irrigation.
* Greenhouse production of food provides crop protection from environmental extremes, ensuring a steady supply of food.
Each module is designed to provide all the nutritional requirements for four to six people. The material requirements to build a MAS unit are relatively modest. However, a MAS unit requires a new knowledge and skill set. Previously, it would have required decades, if not generations, to disseminate this expertise. Specifically, this might have been achieved by assembling an army of experts in the field to train new MAS owners–obviously a very expensive and time consuming process. PEI proposes to use the Internet to overcome this difficulty, i.e., PEI will construct a comprehensive data base that will permit anyone to set-up and operate a MAS unit. The portable Internet browser is the substitute for the field expert, and it is what will permit the rapid deployment of MAS units across the globe. In addition, Internet access will allow MAS owners to overcome any literacy deficiencies. Those that are in most dire need of the MAS system are, for the most part, people in third world countries, although the hope is that the lessons learned from MAS will not be lost on others, including industrially advanced nations. To achieve this vision, PEI will freely distribute all design, construction and operational information involving MAS units. In addition, PEI will seek to provide financial and technical support for the proliferation of MAS units, particularly in countries where they are most needed. PEI will encourage individuals and organizations to set up demonstration units in order to prove the viability of the concept and encourage donations.
If instituted on a global basis, MAS will solve the problems of world hunger and illiteracy. In addition, MAS will make a considerable contribution to the task of reducing humanity’s burden on the environment. (An extended description of our project can be found in our mission statement).