Plant the Seed of a Sustainable Idea
Published on: 17.06.2022
One of the most preferred destinations to travel to, Europe offers countless landscapes to explore, deserts included. Yes, deserts, that type of land formation one expects to find in hot climates. We tend to relate deserts with sand, thus neglecting the existence of other types such as the polar ones.
That’s the reason why when asked questions such as “What’s the largest desert in the world?”, many give the wrong answer saying the Sahara. The latter is the largest in the subtropical desert category, but it ranks third in the general list following Antarctica and the Arctic.
Deserts are considered all those arid ecosystems that receive fewer than 25 centimeters of precipitations a year. We usually use the adjectives empty, dry, and silent to describe them. We can add the man-made term to the list. One perfect example of a desert created by human activity (anthropogenic) is Bledowska in Poland. Massive deforestation in the area during the 13th century in the area with a high presence of sand deposited by glaciers millions of years ago created a desert. It spans over 32 square kilometers just a short drive from Krakow.
It stands not only as a particular tourist attraction but also as proof of human activity’s impact on nature. Deserts worldwide are expanding or changing. The Sahara is expanding at a rate of 48km per year in Mali. Meanwhile, Antarctica’s ice is melting thus raising major concerns along with the sea levels.
In order to raise attention on the impact of desertification and droughts, June 17th has been designated as the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. These two phenomena are considered great threats to sustainable development. They can lead to conflict and war, climate refugees and displacements, food insecurity, inadequate sanitation, health concerns, etc. On the other hand, water stress has been growing all over the world affecting humans, wildlife, and large ecosystems.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), 1.1 billion people worldwide don’t have access to water. Meanwhile, water systems such as rivers, lakes, and waterways are drying up or becoming too polluted. At this rate, the consequences of climate change on land and ecosystems will get only worse. One way to stop desertification and reverse climate change is by keeping the land alive and healthy. This is closely related to agriculture. Unsustainable agricultural systems and practices for food and raw materials for certain industries have caused massive damage to the soil. Global warming grows on unhealthy soil. You can read more on how soil and climate change are related in our blog post How Fixing Agriculture can Fix Climate Change.
Droughts worldwide have increased both in frequency and length. What is the situation of land and forests in the area where you live? How are people working to protect them and build sustainable economic models that benefit everyone involved?
If you need some inspiration we suggest you the story of famous Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado and his wife Lelia Deluiz. After photographing human and environmental suffering all over the world, the photographer decided to restore a section of the rainforest in his region by planting over three million trees.
Does this story inspire you to make a change, or you’re already working on it? Show us how. Submit your innovative ideas or projects to the Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition 2022.