Desertification has, according to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), affected the lives of as many as 1.5 billion people, and in the next half-century, will displace around 135 million. Desertification, inarguably, is one of the most challenging environmental problems to overcome.
In this article, we will hope to explain what desertification is, and why you should fight against it. If we all work together, we can fight desertification and save the lives and homes of millions of people.
According to the UNCCD, desertification is when land degradation occurs in arid and semiarid areas. It can be caused by a number of factors, including but not restricted to, climatic variations and human activities. If that sounds like jargon to you, then we’ll simplify: desertification, which occurs on every continent in the world (excluding Antarctica), is when the land loses its biological or economic productivity, turning it into, as the name suggests, a desert. Desertification can be devastating for those unfortunate enough to live in regions affected by it. Over time, crops can no longer be sustained, animals have nowhere to graze, and villages and towns become inhospitable to their population.
Areas Affected by Desertification
We must fight back against desertification and reverse its effects while we still can. Libya is a country that is greatly affected by desertification as the environment is 95% desert or semi desert. Libya’s desertification problems have been exacerbated by human activities such as poor land planning and insufficient water resources. Fortunately, efforts to limit the negative effects of desertification have been put in place. These include endeavours to maintain soil fertility, curbing of sand dunes and preservation of rainwater on farm lands with sloping terrains.
For us to fight desertification, we must understand that it is not a third world problem, and rather, one that can affect all of us. You are not safe simply by virtue of living in a developed western nation, and in fact, at least thirteen EU member states have declared that they too have been affected by desertification. The problem even stretches as far as Australia.
How are Australians affected?
Australia has 10 deserts and is extremely prone to long-lasting droughts, particularly in the south of Western Australia. The primary concern for Australians will actually be from the wind. The extra soil created by desertification will be displaced and could cause respiratory diseases from the dust and other air pollutants in the air. We used this website comparing health insurance in Australia to check the terms of a few Aussie health funds. It looks like Aussies will be covered against these types of things if they have private cover, but more than 50% don’t have private insurance, so their treatment options on the public system may not be as fast which puts them at higher risk. The best solution for those concerned in Australia would be to plant trees in reasonable places as the trees help with the reduction of wind and soil erosion, keeping the dirt on the ground.
Why Should We Fight Desertification?
If we do not all come together and begin fighting desertification, millions will be displaced, and the problem will gradually spread across the world. Desertification is indiscriminate and nowhere other than Antarctica is safe from it. Together, we can fight this environmental threat, but only together. If you are reluctant to help, simply look to China’s Taklamakan Desert. Over the next few centuries, the homes of hundreds of millions will look almost indistinguishable from it, potentially even yours.
In this article, we hope to have explained the severity of desertification, what it is, and why we should fight back against it. It is up to us to save the lives of millions and to reverse the damage done by desertification.