The previous 4 blogs have discussed the major issues of concern for primarily African nations, but Africa is probably the best place to begin looking at how we can address the problems of desertification and the impact of climate change throughout the world. It has some of the most diverse species of plants and animals on the planet, many of them in topographically defined desert regions. The presence of the world’s largest desert in the Sahara needs no explanation, and the abundant opportunities for the development of solar power plants likewise needs no explanation.
The news is often headlined by stories of peoples from various countries migrating to other countries to escape their political or economic woes. But one thing we can learn from these African nations and the people who inhabit them is that it is possible to fight to stay in your homeland if you are creative and resourceful enough. In general, Africa is considered to be a continent with significant untapped resources, but the most important resource in any country is its people.
The Great Green Wall project shows us that cooperation between individual countries is possible, and not solely for the purposes of irrigation. This project will cover an estimated 4500 miles when completed, the distance from San Diego, California to Boston, Massachusetts – and then some. It will cross governments of every type, and yet seeks to benefit every country it touches. Ten years later, progress, albeit small, has been made but these African nations are demonstrating to the world the value of cooperation in dealing with desert problems that key countries in the world are currently facing.
One question that is not being considered by most governments is how they will deal with climate change if it turns a part of their country into desert land within the next 50 years. Resources such as water that are often taken for granted will need to be managed to prevent civil unrest. Sources of food production once thought reliable will disappear. Such changes can undermine the very foundations of a democratic government.
African leaders from around the continent are currently dealing with these situations, and have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in managing them. Due to the lack of funding and technological resources, they are finding solutions with only a minimum of technology, and are often discovering the best solution is the natural solution. This approach has proven both effective and socially sustainable.
There is some truth that technology can provide solutions to many of the world’s most difficult problems, including dealing with desertification. But as was stated earlier, a nation’s most valuable resource is its people, and eventually world leaders will come to recognize the vast amount of knowledge and experience leaders across Africa have available to offer the world.