The United Nations issued an alarming wake-up call yesterday: tens of millions of people could be displaced from their homes within the next ten years unless governments revamp their environmental policies to combat growing desertification. The study conducted by over 200 experts from 25 countries proclaimed desertification as “one of the greatest environmental challenge of our times.”
According to the U.N. report, one-third of all people could be potential victims of the desert’s creeping effect. An estimated 50 to 100 million people could be forced to migrate to more fertile lands abroad, inciting a chain reaction that becomes a global social crisis. Imagine a chaotic scene taken from a page out of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds.
Desertification also hurts our chances of reversing global warming. We rely on our leafy green friends to absorb the carbon emissions from our vehicles, factories, and homes. Without them, we are jump three steps closer to the global hot seat.
REVERSAL OF FORTUNE
The old adage, “when you succeed, take someone with you” may be the thing that saves us. The U.N. report calls on governments and organizations in wealthier nations to aid at-risk communities in sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia cultivate more sustainable livelihoods, and preserve agricultural land.
Africans living in the sub-Saharan region can join the effort to combat desertification. Visit the Desert Margins Program website for information.