Saturday, February 15, 2014

Can desertification be reversed

Sometimes I neglect some of the other great environmental issues in my desire to write something relevant about climate change / peak oil.  So I was especially pleased when one of my readers (thanks JL) turned me on to this exceptional TED talk about desertification—its causes and possible solutions.  Soil fertility is obviously one of the major issues because it is damn difficult to grow food in deserts.

Allan Savory certainly seems to think he has found at least one workable solution to the problems of expanding deserts. Here's his TED talk.

The complete transcript is at the TED website linked below.  Look for the "Show Transcript" button right below the video embed.  I would have cut and pasted the whole thing except it is larded with links specifically designed to prevent that.
The most massive tsunami perfect storm is bearing down upon us. This perfect storm is mounting a grim reality, increasingly grim reality, and we are facing that reality with the full belief that we can solve our problems with technology, and that's very understandable. Now, this perfect storm that we are facing is the result of our rising population, rising towards 10 billion people, land that is turning to desert, and, of course, climate change.

Now there's no question about it at all: we will only solve the problem of replacing fossil fuels with technology. But fossil fuels, carbon -- coal and gas -- are by no means the only thing that is causing climate change.

Desertification is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert, and this happens only when we create too much bare ground. There's no other cause. And I intend to focus on most of the world's land that is turning to desert.

But I have for you a very simple message that offers more hope than you can imagine. We have environments where humidity is guaranteed throughout the year. On those, it is almost impossible to create vast areas of bare ground. No matter what you do, nature covers it up so quickly. And we have environments where we have months of humidity followed by months of dryness, and that is where desertification is occurring. Fortunately, with space technology now, we can look at it from space, and when we do, you can see the proportions fairly well. Generally, what you see in green is not desertifying, and what you see in brown is, and these are by far the greatest areas of the Earth. About two thirds, I would guess, of the world is desertifying. more
And the link to the Savory Institute website.

No comments:

Post a Comment