Topic : “Captain of all these Men of Death”: What is required to turn the tide against tuberculosis (TB) in South Africa?
1. *Katrina Lehmann-Grube, Grade 12, Wynberg Girls’ High School, Cape Town Katrina’s Essay
2. Elizabeth Halley-Stott, Grade 10, St Anne’s Diocesan College, Hilton
3. Tshepo Rapitso, Grade 10, Moroka High School, Thabanchu
Merit Prizes :
Yuvna Balgobind, Grade 10, Danville Park Girls’ High School, Durban
Tinuke Eboka, Grade 10, St Anne’s Diocesan College, Hilton
In addition, other elements conspire to take away from the harvest for which we worked so hard to produce. Despite the best application of modern agricultural practices, an unavoidable portion of what is grown rots in the fields prior to harvest time, or in the world’s storage bins afterwards. Every year, depending upon geographic location and intensity of El Niño events, crops suffer from too little water and wither on the spot, or are lost to severe flooding, hailstorms, tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes, cyclones, fires, and other destructive events of nature. Many of these phenomena are at best difficult to predict, and at worst are impossible to react to in time to prevent the losses associated with them. In sub-Saharan Africa, locusts remain an ever-present threat (42), and can devastate vast areas of farmland in a matter of days. Even after a bumper crop is realized, problems associated with processing and storage lessen the actual tonnage that is available to the consumer. A large portion of the harvest, regardless of the kind of plant or grain, is despoiled or a portion consumed by a variety of opportunistic life forms (., fungi, bacteria, insects, rodents) after being stored. While it is conceded that at present the abundance of cash crops is more than sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of the world’s human population, delivering them to world markets is driven largely by economics, not biological need. Thus, the poorest people – some billion – are forced to live in a constant state of starvation (43), with many thousands of deaths per year attributable to this wholly preventable predicament (44). Locating vertical farms near these human “hot spots” would greatly alleviate this problem.
Some have suggested that oceans of methane or other hydrocarbons on places like Saturn's moon Titan could also serve the purpose. But, again, we're talking temperatures so low that chemical reactions as we know them could only proceed at a glacial pace. "At minus 150 degrees," says Bada, "most of the reactions that we think about in terms of being important in the origin of life probably wouldn't take place over the entire age of the solar system." Moreover, compounds like amino acids and DNA would not be soluble in these other liquids. "They would just be globs of gunk," Bada says.