In 2007, the UN declared that desertification is one of the world’s biggest environmental challenges that lead to widespread famine and economic instability. Malka’s thought experiment is a provoking proposal that probes the untapped potential of these sterile lands. “The Green Machine” ambitiously tackles some of the world’s most pressing issues, including overpopulation, loss of farmable land, and dwindling fossil fuels, with a nomadic, self-sustaining city machine that doubles as agriculture infrastructure.
To take advantage of the Sahara’s intense sunlight, the project is equipped with giant solar towers to provide electricity and nine balloons that produce a steady water supply from air condensation, two-thirds of which will be used for irrigation. The Green Machine’s caterpillar treads will also be able to plow and optimize the soil profile for farming, before injecting the land with water, fertilizer, and cereal seeds. While it is unlikely that Malka’s thought experiment will ever come to fruition, it could stimulate more discussion and the development of more feasible answers to these major global issues.