Making a Desert Fertile Again

June 11, 2021
Emilia Borenstein

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Class of 2024

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Making a desert fertile again. This is not a political slogan, but rather the dream of many environmental activists. Climate change has become one of the most important and urgent issues today due to the catastrophic consequences it led. There are many examples of climatic outcomes. In this article, I’m going to talk about a specific case: The Great Green Wall.

The Great Green Wall is an African-led movement with the epic ambition of growing a 5,000-mile natural wonder across Africa. The project is so widespread that it reaches 20  countries. This movement was established in the 1980s due to the consequences the region suffered as a result of huge desertification. Desertification means the persistent degradation of dryland ecosystems by climatic variations and human activities. In other words, when fertile land becomes a desert.

This phenomenon left many upshots in people’s lives. One of them is poverty; the lack of rain led to the disappearance of livestock and the destruction of cereal crops. Since there are no possible crops or cattle, people weren’t able to sell anything. Consequently, this also led to hunger. It is not the same to live in a wide green space as to live in the desert, so lastly, many people had to migrate. We can certify this by reading these alarming statistics taken from the official great green wall website:

  • “46% of African land is degraded, jeopardizing the livelihoods of nearly two-thirds of the Continent’s population.
  • 20 million people in the Horn of Africa in 2017 declared on the verge of starvation following severe drought and food crises
  • Millions are expected to migrate from degraded parts of Africa in the next two decades
  • 100 million population of the Sahel is expected to grow to 340 million by 2050
  • 200 million of the 375 million young people entering the job market over the next 15 years will be living in rural areas.”

By 2030, the Wall aims to restore 100 million hectares of currently degraded land, sequester 250 million tonnes of CO2 and create 10 million jobs in rural areas. So far, the results have been encouraging: 28 million hectares of degraded land have been restored; 12 million drought-resistant trees have been planted, and 500.000 tonnes of grain per year were delivered to 2.5 million people.

The Great Green Wall's spirit not only applies to the Sahel but also to humanity. This project represents hope, and it shows teamwork’s results. The movement proves that together we can build a better world and provide it to future generations. Climate change is something that can be battled only if we fight it as a group.

Emilia Borenstein is a BBG from Argentina who is 15 years old and loves history.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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