Economic Multipliers (54)

Do you know what these are?

They help CREATE wealth in systems.

Understanding concepts first is an economic multiplier for anyone with an interest in science, math, product design or problem solving.


I could easily argue that the reason we have so many ‘cool’ products today is because early designers understood concepts that had not yet been quantified. I could also easily argue that early designers focused on maximizing ‘local advantage’ to build their personal and local bases of wealth.

Because they liked to design things and had to use whatever was at their disposal, they came up with designs that ‘fit,’ for the most part, their ‘home’ environments.

Now, I have never worked, lived or for that matter, even visited any place in the world in the equatorial zone. I only know that the scientific concepts that I think about when I assess my surrounding environment are the same concepts that I would think about in another environment.

What’s different is the environment.

If the environment is different, normally so too should be the design.

As an addition to that, I don’t believe it is possible to solve every problem (even with the best designs or the best science). Sometimes, in the presence of problems, we must ask ourselves what is the best way to manage them. (I personally will always say that the easiest problem to solve is the one that was never created in the first place).

What if someone told you that there are ‘tipping points’ tied to global warming and one of them is the water temperature of the Great Barrier Reef and other reefs around the world? If the water gets too warm, many living things cannot survive and if they do not survive, food supplies (along with many people’s livelihoods) will also decline (this has nothing to do with overfishing areas … which is sometimes a different problem).

What if someone told you that some communities are now supporting ‘reef gardening’ (helping ‘replant’ reefs that have started to die … a very specialized field in which you need to love scuba diving, studying reefs and marine gardening)? What if someone told you that ‘reef parks’ are being established in some communities so that there are ALWAYS places which would support the propagation of marine life? Because marine life travel outside the parks, the goal of the protected areas is to increase the available food supply outside the parks. (Well, that’s not usually the specific goal … retaining tourists who bring extra money into the community is … but it is normally an expected secondary outcome.)

What if a community with a small but beautiful reef that they were concerned about didn’t have the time or resources to instantaneously become or hire reef gardeners and couldn’t economically justify turning their reef into a park? What if, through no fault of their own, water temperatures were rising and the little data that they had indicated that if they could not keep the water temperature down one or two degrees, their reef could literally die?

Would they have any options?

As an ‘engineering type,’ I’d want to know if evaporative cooling systems could help:

    • Sun (need wiring and panels and corrosion is an issue) and/or wind power (can be totally mechanical and then corrosion is a lesser issue) can run pumps.

    • Pumps can spray water.

    • Water sprayed into the air (especially dryer air) evaporates.

    • Evaporation creates local cooling.

    • Water droplets and mist create a secondary cooling effect by reducing the sunlight reaching the earth’s surface.

    • Sprays of water can have an ‘artistic effect.'

Would a ‘solution’ create problems?

    • Any ‘system’ costs money and who should pay for it and how?

    • Reef conditions and water temperatures would need to be monitored.

    • If salt water is evaporatively cooled over water, some areas might become more saline (salty).

    • Equipment always needs maintenance and there are replacement costs to consider.

    • Intakes for pumps can become clogged and need monitoring and maintenance.

    • If you install any system, that system has an impact on its surrounding environment and changes it, sometimes in ways which you cannot anticipate.

IF this is a looming problem, better ideas than evaporative cooling might be available. If there aren’t, then I hope that some ‘budding ‘engineering types’’ in the equatorial belt see a problem such as this one as an area where they can ‘make their mark.'

The ‘math’ and ‘science’ … the governing equations for evaporative cooling systems … have already been figured out. But to my knowledge, no one has taken the time to determine whether systems like this one could help bridge a gap … while ‘reef gardeners’ work to figure out whether it’s possible to ‘rebuild’ large sections of reefs if many do reach their ‘tipping points.'


I’m guessing but I would expect that ‘reef gardening’ is an undersupported program at many equatorial belt universities (and other universities around the world) and I’ll bet that there are very few people who could teach it properly because you have to know how to never damage what you are trying to protect.

I do not know the answer to this: How could you adequately train and support and gauge the performance of a large number of individuals that it appears the world now needs but has never needed before … without overtaxing the few individuals who know how to do it right?

And how could you set up a system whereby you could collect data from people who love to scuba dive and snorkel for recreation so you had more real data to base decisions on? It wouldn’t surprise me if more than one local person or weeklong vacationer was willing to take a single day and go on the equivalent of a scientific scavenger hunt if they were told exactly what they should be looking for or measuring (without touching anything).