For far too long, countries across Africa have borne the brunt of rampant desertification, drought and environmental degradation. However, a massive tree-planting project known as The Great Green Wall of Africa has combined the efforts of over 20 African nations in hopes to reverse the ongoing damage.
With the assistance of international partners and over a decade of work, the Great Green Wall is now bearing fruit.
The wall stretches across about 6,000 miles of the continent along the southern edge of the Sahara desert, or Sahel region. Since the 1970s, the lush vegetation and greenery that blanketed the region has faded away and rapidly degraded into a crusty, barren desert thanks to poor land use policies, bad development, and population growth.
Monique Barbut, who until recently was the executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, noted:
“The Sahel region is one of the most arid and most vulnerable places on earth. Food, water and economic opportunity are often scarce. The local population is growing rapidly and to survive people already face difficult choices every day. If climate change and land degradation continue at the current rate, vulnerable communities could be forced to make some disastrous choices.”
With these problems in mind, African leaders started implementing plans for the Great Green Wall in 2007. Since then, the initiative has seen billions of dollars poured into the project in hopes of building a “natural wonder of the world across the entire width of Africa,” capable of improving local populations’ living conditions, salvaging endangered rural economies and agricultural plots, and increasing the income and food security of generations to come.
The Great Green Wall website explains:
“More than anywhere else on Earth, the Sahel is on the frontline of climate change and millions of locals are already facing its devastating impact. Persistent droughts, lack of food, conflicts over dwindling natural resources, and mass migration to Europe are just some of the many consequences.
… Since the birth of the initiative in 2007, life has started coming back to the land, bringing improved food security, jobs and stability to people’s lives.”
And while the “world wonder” is only about 15 percent complete, participating nations have already noted a marked improvement to ecological conditions in the region.
In Senegal alone, 12-million drought-resistant trees spanning 30 million acres have been planted in under a decade. Over 12 million acres of land has been restored in Nigeria, while a stunning 37 million acres of land have been brought back to life in Ethiopia.
Food security is slowly returning for the millions of hungry and impoverished Africans in the region, while wells are refilling and bringing sustenance to some of the world’s most poverty-stricken communities. In addition to the immediate results, the region is becoming future-proofed against the ravages of climate change, which threaten to render the region uninhabitable at a far more rapid pace than anywhere else on the planet.
Additionally, the Great Green Wall has served as not only a wall of hope for the peoples of the region, but as a bridge toward regional integration and pan-African unity among communities that have engaged in bloody conflicts over dwindling land resources.
Green jobs, sustainable consumption patterns, boosted economic opportunities and broader progress toward social development are among the goals of the initiative, and will serve to allow locals to remain at home–rather than be forced out by the desperation that drives migration from impoverished regions in Africa.
Once the project is completed with the assistance of international organizations and conservationists across the globe, the Great Green Wall will be a truly massive wonder of the world–triple the size of the Great Barrier Reef.
Stressing the need for international support for the Great Green Wall, Barbut added:
“This bold initiative is bringing back natural resources certainly but it is doing much more than that. It is bringing back food and water security. It is creating jobs and new economic opportunities, especially for women and young people in rural areas. It is helping fight climate change. It is letting people not just survive but thrive.”
Lunar New Deal: GOP Lawmaker Suggests Altering Moon & Earth’s Orbit to Stop Climate Change
Texas Republican Congressman Louise Gohmert raised the eyebrows of his Congressional colleagues on Tuesday after seemingly suggesting that climate change could be combatted by changing the orbit of the moon, or even altering “Earth’s orbit around the sun.”
Gohmert, who has been decried as the “dumbest member of Congress” for his past absurdly anti-scientific comments regarding the ongoing pandemic and a number of other issues, has been a vocal opponent of progressive legislators’ attempts to put a “Green New Deal” on the government’s agenda.
However, his apparent suggestion of a “Lunar New Deal” to mitigate global warming could take the cake as his most hare-brained idea yet.
The comments came during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on four pending bills while questioning Jennifer Eberlien of the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, reports NBC.
“I understand, from what’s been testified to the Forest Service and the B.L.M. [Bureau of Land Management], you want very much to work on the issue of climate change,” the Texas congressman began.
“I was informed by the immediate past director of NASA that they’ve found that the moon’s orbit is changing slightly and so is the Earth’s orbit around the sun,” he continued.
“We know there’s been significant solar flare activity,” Gohmert said. “And so, is there anything that the National Forest Service or B.L.M. can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun?”
“Obviously that would have profound effects on our climate,” the lawmaker added.
Responding, Eberlein said with a smile: “I would have to follow up with on you on that one, Mr. Gohmert.”
“If you figure out there’s a way in the forest service you could make that change, I’d like to know,” Gohmert responded, without any trace of irony.
Longtime critics of the conservative legislator were besides themselves with bewilderment and mockery over the out-of-this-world suggestion.
On the opposite side of the aisle California Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu suggested that perhaps Marvel Comics superheroine Captain Marvel was up to the task.
“She can alter planetary orbits with her superpowers. I’m going to work on a bipartisan resolution asking for her help,” Lieu wrote on Twitter.
According to NASA, the Earth’s climate has changed throughout history for various reasons, including small variations in the planet’s orbit.
However, the agency’s website notes that this doesn’t discount the fact that anthropogenic or human-caused activities are the culprit of the current warming.
“The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over millennia,” the site says.
Luxurious Airships Will Soon Be ‘Hopping’ Between Cities, And Could Drastically Cut Flying’s CO2 Emissions
A revolutionary new startup called Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) is hoping to massively reduce the carbon footprint of air travel by replacing commercial airplanes with blimps for short-range flights.
An estimated 2.4 percent of global CO2 emissions come from aviation which, along with the other gases it burns and the water vapor trails produced by aircraft, is estimated to contribute roughly 5 percent of global warming.
However, by slashing the number of planes traveling short distances and instead using airships to hop between cities – think from Los Angeles to Las Vegas or New York to Toronto – HAV could contribute to a drastic cutdown of airliners’ carbon emissions.
At present, about 47 percent of regional airplane flights in Europe connect cities that are less than 230 miles (370km) apart, emitting a massive amount of carbon dioxide in the process.
HAV, which gained early funding from seasoned pilot and Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson along with UK government backing, says that its airships only emit around ten percent of the greenhouse gases of a passenger plane – and the number could reduce further as the startup continues to electrify its fleet.
According to HAV chief executive Tom Grundy, the airships are more like a “fast ferry” than an all-out replacement for airplanes. In total, a short-range blimp voyage should take roughly the same amount of time as a short flight when factoring in check-in times, security procedures and the wait at an airport.
“This isn’t a luxury product,” Grundy told The Guardian, “it’s a practical solution to challenges posed by the climate crisis.”
“We’ve got aircraft designed to travel very long distances going very short distances when there is actually a better solution,” Grundy added. “How much longer will we expect to have the luxury of traveling these short distances with such a big carbon footprint?”
The company has already begun discussions with a number of airlines to forge new partnerships to operate the routes.
“It’s an early and quick win for the climate,” Grundy said. “Especially when you use this to get over an obstacle like water or hills.”
Scientists Horrified as Over 27,000 Leaking Barrels of Toxic DDT Discovered on Seafloor Near LA
Over 27,000 barrels of the toxic insecticide DDT have been found so far on the seafloor about 12 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, in what could be one of the greatest examples of industrial pollution uncovered in recent memory.
The barrels have been leaking, and researchers fear that there could be up to a few hundred thousand barrels of DDT waste in total. Over 100,000 total objects have been found in the area by researchers at the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
The barrels cover an area roughly spanning double the size of Manhattan and lie off the coast of Santa Catalina Island, which is home to dozens of endemic species that exist nowhere else in the world.
DDT waste has been linked to cancer and widespread disease among humans as well as mass die-off events in the natural world. It is likely that the vast trove of illegally dumped DDT could be linked to the widespread cancer faced by sea lions along the West Coast.
“Unfortunately, the basin offshore Los Angeles has been a dumping ground for industrial waste for several decades, beginning in the 1930s. We found an extensive debris field in the wide area survey,” said Eric Terrill, chief scientist of the expedition and director of the Marine Physical Laboratory at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said in a statement.
Los Angeles Times reports that shipping logs from a disposal company implicate Montrose Chemical Corp. of California, a company that produced DDT, in likely dumping some 2,000 barrels of DDT-laced sludge each month from 1947 to 1961 into a designated dumpsite.
Additionally, logs from other entities show that several other industrial concerns in Southern California used the basin as a dumping ground until 1972, when the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act was enacted.
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