A dry future lies ahead of us!
A day's campaign to raise awareness of desertification
On the 17th June, the global campaign, Desertification Day, should raise awareness of the issue of global desertification. More than 250 million people are directly affected by this issue and roughly a billion people's livelihoods are indirectly threatened.
The recess of fertile soil - a trigger for poverty-related mass migration
World Desertification Day has been taking place since 1995, as defined by the UN General Assembly. The purpose of the day is to draw attention to the increasing desertification of many regions and the issues which this causes, such as starvation, poverty and mass migration.
The developmental stage which precedes desertification is termed 'steppe expansion'. Every year, the Earth loses roughly 12 million hectares of fertile soil as a result of this phenomenon; this surface area is roughly equivalent to that of Germany's arable land and this is due to increase in the future.
In keeping with estimates, roughly a third of the World's land mass which is used for agricultural purposes will be affected by land degradation and, potentially, by desertification. This is applicable, in particular, to huge areas of North and South Africa, Central and South Asia, Australia as well as to areas of North and South America and Southern Europe
How Greenfinity is able to help
Uromi in Nigeria is a particularly dry region where water constitutes a valuable commodity. In the grounds of the Holy Trinity School, a well was already in existence, however both the pump and the plumbing were defect. The necessary water had to be bought in at a high price. This is as well valid for the Amina Zwindila School.
To support the school during this crisis, Greenfinity decided to finance repairs to the well. The school can now generate its own water for drinking and sanitary facilities. From a global perspective, this was merely a drop in the ocean, however, for the school, this meant the world.
Thanks to your donation, we can have access to clean drinking water, even in this dry region.
What role does human behaviour have to play on this
It is not only the climate which is the key cause of the above, human beings' interference in nature's delicate infrastructure also contributes. Due to excessive use of arable land, overgrazing or deforestation, vegetation is receding or even disappearing altogether. The consequences of this: water shortages and soil erosion caused by wind and rain. The soil either becomes silt-like or develops too high a salt content, it is then no longer possible to survive in these locations.
The excessive use of natural resources, such as agriculture, forestry and livestock farming, go hand in hand with a sharp population growth in the countries affected. For example, the population growth in Africa, south of the Sahara, currently contributes 2.4 per cent annually, which puts pressure on the ecosystem.
The subsidence of the ground water level due to livestock farming - a vicious circle
The overgrazing of large areas is one of the triggers of desertification. The inordinate increase in herd sizes should protect livestock farmers from any potential future livestock shortages. However, this puts immense pressure on the soil as the farmers often neglect the all important rotation of pasture and pastoral migration is restricted.
To provide crops and livestock with enough water, many regions have created deep, modern wells. These go down as far as the aquiferous layers of the Earth's surface and cause the ground water level to sink, both due to the very nature of them and because pumping contraptions are used to bring the water to the Earth's surface.
The water seeping out of the ground is not sufficient to compensate for the quantity which has been extracted. At the same time, the herds tends to clump together around these secure water sources and thus take their toll on the water reserves in this way.
Major firms purchase fertile soil
A well construction project taking place in Bahia, Brazil, is a blessing to the region. In this area, which is permanently affected by sever drought, the situation has only worsened as a result of the climate change which has taken place over the last few years - no precipitation fell during the rainy season.
As a result of the new global interest in soja products, huge areas of fertile land are being bought up by soja producers in Brazil. Financially unstable farmers lose their precious land and have to migrate to the dry and infertile region of North East Brazil. To make the everyday lives of these people easier, Greenfinity is financing the construction of wells with the aid of donations, which should benefit the entire population and guarantee clean water for all inhabitants of the region, and without the long walk.
Thirst is not the only shadow cast over the land - diseases and infections as a direct result of lacking hygiene standards complicate the lives of the inhabitants.
Without this support, it would be impossible for the population, who are self-sufficient thanks to their intensive cultivation of vegetables and fishing in local bodies of water, to get access to clean, drinking water. They would have to emigrate sooner or later and move to the impoverished districts of big cities - and the soil would regress to desert once again.