Desertification and Canada


Photo credit: Huffington Post

(Photo: UNCCD)

How Canada Is Taking Action To Combat Desertification

This Earth Day, we invite you to take your children outside, into nature, to strengthen their connection with the environment. It is the best way to motivate them to protect it.

The effects of climate change are not always obvious to us. Yet, they are undeniable. It is easier to see the harmful effects in parts of the world with very different geography from Canada: the arid lands, where three billion people live.

Such areas are extremely vulnerable to desertification, land degradation and drought–phenomena exacerbated by climate change.

Too often the people who live in these areas, particularly small-scale farmers, are seeing their means of subsistence threatened and their families overwhelmed by water, food and energy shortages. When these shortages go on long enough, they escalate into greater crises: famines, armed conflicts and forced migrations.

In sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 75 per cent of the land is degraded and 10 million hectares becomes so every year. For farmers, this represents lost income of more than $4 billion annually. For woman farmers it’s even worse, because women often have access only to less fertile land. They also receive less training and financial aid.

Like poverty, desertification affects women and girls disproportionately. Twice as many women and girls suffer from malnutrition as men and boys. Women and girls spend an enormous amount of time providing their families with water: in sub-Saharan Africa, 40 million hours every day. And when conflicts break out, they are more affected by violence and lack of security.

In the next few decades, desertification could create as many as 135 million climate refugees. By 2050, water shortages will affect 52 per cent of the world’s people.

Read the full article: Huffington Post

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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