The land of the five rivers is on the verge of desertification, says Navtej Sarna

https://www.theweek.in/columns/navtej-sarna/2021/12/19/the-land-of-the-five-rivers-is-on-the-verge-of-desertification-says-navtej-sarna.html

Arvind Kejriwal was recently interviewed by three anchors on a discussion platform regarding his party’s political aspirations in Punjab. The first questioner wondered how he could handle a state which was all about gidda, bhangra and butter chicken. The second interviewer, sensing this to be a good tack, questioned Kejriwal’s chances as he was not a non-vegetarian, did not take a peg—as she put it—and did not perform bhangra.

Kejriwal’s responses, however scintillating, need not detain us here, but the lazy intellectual framework of the questions deserves a moment. Every profession is entitled to its lazy quota but when prime time TV rolls out unchecked stereotypes into millions of living rooms, the damage can be greater. A little digging on Google would have thrown up the National Family Health Survey of 2015-16 which shows that Punjab ranks the lowest in meat-eating across India with only four per cent of the women and 10 per cent of the men consuming any meat even once a week; corresponding figures for Kerala are in the nineties. It might have helped convince the anchors that all Punjabis are not in a permanent bhangra frenzy, with a Patiala peg in one hand and a chicken leg in the other.

What saddens me is that Punjab has brought this upon itself. If proof were needed of that, it was provided by the current chief minister himself on the same platform the next day. He ascended the stage performing bhangra moves accompanied by four dancers in full dance regalia; being consistent, he departed in the same manner. After that how does one blame any interviewer for rubbing in stereotypes?

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Where there is water, there is life ! (in Dutch)

Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM (Ghent University, Belgium)

Waar water is, is er leven ! Water brengt leven, water is leven. Daarom moeten we zoveel mogelijk water sparen, bij al onze activiteiten. Wij zorgen er voor dat NOOIT water verloren gaat.

Met deze gedachte in het hoofd heb ik een “aangepaste” methode ontwikkeld om thuis planten te kweken. De aanpassing bestaat er in dat we de container waarin we een plant kweken (een bloempot, een joghurtpot, een emmer(tje), een fles, een zak enz.) ook afdekken (met een deksel, een stuk aluminiumfolie, een stuk cellofaan, kortom een deksel dat geen water doorlaat).

En hoe doen we dat dan ? Wel, kijk eens naar bijaande foto’s van de manier waarop ik een Coleusstekje geplant heb in een joghurtemmertje met een deksel. Hieruit gaat nauwelijks wat water verloren, want alles wat in zo’n emmertje aan water aanwezig is, staat maximaal ter beschikking van de plant.

Alleen door het plantgaatje in het deksel en via de bladeren van de plant kan water verdampen. Alle andere sproeiwater wat we in het emmertje brachten, wordt door de plant opgezogen; en die zal daardoor ook beter groeien. En gaan de bladeren toch zachtjes verwelken, dan kunnen we nog altijd wat water bijgieten via het gaatje in het deksel.

Moest deze methode over de hele wereld toegepast worden, de wereld zou beduidend groener zijn, er zou minder klimaatopwarming zijn, de mensen zouden allemaal thuis voedsel kunnen kweken in containers (minder ondervoeding van kinderen, minder honger), het zou hier veel gezonder zijn en de mensen meer tevreden; er zou minder geklaag zijn over alles en nog wat.

Met deze methode ontstaat meer blijdschap, meer geluk. Een methode om ook een deel van de desertificatie tegen te gaan.

Pot gevuld met potgrond. Merk op dat we in de zijwand, op enkele cm boven de bodem een draineergaatje hebben aangebracht voor het evacueren van overtollig water bij het begieten (in feite zit er ook een zelfde gaatje aan de andere zijde van de pot).
Pot met 2 tegenoverstaaande draineergaatjes.
Potgrond of tuingrond om te planten.
Het deksel knippen we door vanaf een zijkant tot bijna in het midden, waarna we het centrum van het deksel cirkelvormig wegknippen.
Hierdoor kunnen we gemakkelijk een helft van het deksel opklappen bij het planten van het stekje.
We maken een plantputje in het centrum van de pot.
Van een jonge Coleusplant hebben we de top (het Coleusstekje) afgesneden.
We hebben het stekje weggesneden vlak boven een stengelknoop (waar 2 tegenoverstaande bladeren zitten). In de oksels van de 2 bladeren zit reeds aan beide kanten een uitlopende okselknop, die later zal uitgroeien tot een zijtak.
Dit is de weggesneden top van de jonge plant, die we nu gaan gebruiken als Coleusstekje.
Van die top zullen we eerst het onderste bladpaar wegknippen om een langer stukje stengel vrij te maken. Dat kan dan gemakkelijker geplant worden.
Het onderste bladpaar werd afgeknipt. Eventueel kan ook het bladpaar daarboven nog weggeknipt worden om het stengeltje van de Coleusstek wat langer te maken.
Om het stekje te planten, klappen we de helft van het doorgesneden deksel naar boven en schuiven het deksel rond het Coleusstengeltje dat in de potgrond zit. Dan klapt de helft van het deksel weer naar beneden en het wordt op de pot gedrukt, zodat de pot met vochtige (natte) potgrond afgesloten is.
Spoedig nadien zien we de top van het Coleusstekje verder uitgroeien. Het grote voordeel van deze methode is dat de natte potgrond binnenin de gesloten pot geen kans heeft om uit te drogen.
De stengeltop loopt uit, nieuwe blaadjes verschijnen. We kunnen de Coleusplant langere tijd in dezelfde joghurtpot laten doorgroeien. Zo nodig kunnnen we dezelfde techniek toepassen bij het verplanten in een grotere pot (of emmer) met een deksel. Coleusplanten houden immers van een voldoend nat gehouden potgrond.

Deforestation promotes global warming

By Mahnoor Riaz – December 30, 2021

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/921077-deforestation-promotes-global-warming

KARACHI: Human health and well-being are closely associated with forests that cover almost a third of Earth’s land area and are critical to our environment in numerous ways. Forests maintain hydrological cycle, conserve soil, prevent climate change, fix concentration of carbon in atmosphere, as well as preserve land’s biodiversity. Besides, many countries benefit from them for the production of wood and certain medicines.

Deforestation is the conversion of forests to permanent non-forested land for use in agriculture or and urban development. Tropical rainforests are also central to the issue. Reduction in the area of tropical forests is resulting in loss of biodiversity and accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Today, the whole world is facing environmental problems because of massive deforestation. Unchecked deforestation is going on for a long time. While forests including the tropical rainforests are being destroyed, efforts at the same time are also being constantly made to conserve forests.

There is a need to understand why forests are being destroyed. Nearly over half of clearing of tropical moist forests is for agriculture settlement. Agriculture expansion continues to be the main driver of deforestation. As the world’s population is expanding day by day, it is necessary to make food available for them. Logging to harvest timber for several purposes is also seriously degrades forests. Clearing of the forests is also being done to establish infrastructure for expanding cities and towns.

Deforestation has a devastating impact on climate and biodiversity. It has also greatly altered landscapes around the world. Forests are considered the primary terrestrial sink of carbon. Tropical rainforests are often called ‘lungs of the planet’, as they draw carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen.

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Erosion: Spain loses 3,000 tons of soil every minute

https://thesaxon.org/erosion-spain-loses-3000-tons-of-soil-every-minute/119822/

66% of the Spanish territory is currently in the process of erosion, especially in the southeast, but also increasingly inland. Nature takes a thousand years to create two centimeters of soil thickness, but Spain loses those two centimeters every twenty years.

30% of the Spanish surface, about 15 million hectares, is subjected to serious or very serious processes of water erosion, while another 24% is exposed to moderate erosion, according to data collected by the Almeria researcher José Javier Matamala, of the Spanish College of Geologists.

Extrapolating these figures, it can be stated that, of the 52 million hectares that Spanish territory occupiesApproximately 66%, that is, 34 million hectares, are affected by important erosive processes which are leading to a progressive and alarming desertification, according to data from the Government’s Spanish Program against Desertification.

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See also : https://cvbj.biz/spain-loses-3000-tons-of-soil-every-minute.html

Terraforming a Planet: Can Humans Stop Earth’s ‘Desertification’?

INNOVATION

Could the sci-fi classic Dune offer solutions to climate change and desertification?

Please read : https://interestingengineering.com/terraforming-a-planet-can-humans-stop-earths-desertification

===

MY COMMENT (Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM)

Yes we can ! See : https://www.terracottem.com/en

President Buhari Assumes Presidency Of Great Green Wall

by Tarkaa David

President Muhammadu Buhari has assumed the presidency of the Great Green Wall in Africa for a period of two years.

The Minister of State for Environment, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, disclosed this at the end of the 4th ordinary session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government (CHSG) of the Pan-African Agency for the Great Green Wall held in Abuja.

She said, “at the end of the 4th Ordinary Session of the CHSG, Nigeria took over the Presidency of the PAGGW. So for the next two years, Nigeria and President Buhari will be the President of the Great Green Wall Initiative in Africa.

“This means that within the period, Nigeria will work assiduously towards addressing the problems of land degradation, food security, desertification, climate change, depletion of the forest ecosystems and biodiversity in Africa, among others.”

(Continued)

Sustainable rural development is the new priority of the Great Green Wall

by Perry ShepardDecember 26, 2021 in World

The Great Green Wall has shifted its focus to broader rural development, helping Sahel-Saharan countries address sustainability challenges, according to the United Nations Environment Program.

The coordinator of the Great Green Wall Initiative explained that this rural development includes “improving production systems that sustain the livelihoods of small farmers and pastoral communities to increase food security, create jobs and strengthen the local economy through sustainable land management.” (GGW) of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Adamu Buhari, speaking to Lusa.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF), along with the United Nations Environment Program, the World Bank and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agency (FAO), has played a leading role in transforming the original initiative, which was tree planting, into one focused on integrated natural resource management to improve the way Live and landscape.

“The GGW is reversing the trend of desertification and land degradation at a time when climate change and biodiversity loss threaten food security,” warned Tina Pirmbelli, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

The official explained in a report published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).).

Buhari said that all the GGW countries in the Sub-Saharan region belong to the group of least developed countries in the world.

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THIS TINY AUTONOMOUS ROBOT CONCEPT CULTIVATES DESERT SANDS

LINK — TECH

Imagined by designer Mazyar Etehadi at the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, the nocturnal “A’seedbot” autonomous robot charges through solar panels during the day and crawls around on seal-like propeller legs at night. Through a series of sensors, the little robot can detect areas in arid desert sands with enough moisture to plant seeds. It then deposits them and moves forward with enough distance for a seedling to sprout. The aim of the rather cute robot is to address desertification. Read more about the project at designboom.

Image courtesy of Global Grad Show

Severe water stress, absolute scarcity for 2 to 4 billion humans by 2025

https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/12/25/opinion/severe-water-stress-absolute-scarcity-for-2-to-4-billion-humans-by-2025/1827114

MADRID: Now it comes to the scary water crises as it is estimated that, globally, over 2 billion people live in countries that experience high water stress.

On this, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) also reports that “other estimates are even more pessimistic, with up to 4 billion people — over half the population of the planet — already facing severe water stress for at least one month of the year while half a billion suffer from permanent water stress.”

This means that about 71 percent of the world’s irrigated area and 47 percent of major cities are to experience at least periodic water shortages. If this trend continues, the scarcity and associated water quality problems will lead to competition and conflicts among water users, it adds.

Climate crisis aggravates risk

“Climate change will increase the odds of worsening drought and water scarcity in many parts of the world. Drought ranks among the most damaging of all natural hazards. While droughts affect every climate zone, dry lands are particularly susceptible to drought and its impacts.”

Currently, most countries, regions and communities use reactive and crisis-driven approaches to manage drought risk. To address this issue, healthy land is a natural storage for fresh water. If it is degraded, it cannot perform that function. Managing land better and massively scaling up land rehabilitation are essential for building drought resilience and water security, explains UNCCD.

“Land restoration is the cheapest and most effective solution to improved water storage, mitigating impacts of drought and addressing biodiversity loss.”

Not enough, too much rain?

Meanwhile, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification explains that communities all over the world have suffered some of the most brutal effects of drought and flooding this year.closevolume_off

“Flash floods in Western Europe, Eastern and Central Asia, and Southern Africa. And catastrophic drought in Australia, southern Africa, southern Asia, much of Latin America, Western North America and Siberia are cases in point. The impacts extend well beyond the individual events.”

For example, the rise in food insecurity in the Southern African region and unprecedented wildfires in North America, Europe and Central Asia.

What is going on?

This is much more than bad weather in some cases, and is increasingly so, adds the UN Convention.

See also : http://www.ipsnews.net/2021/12/severe-water-stress-absolute-scarcity-2-4-billion-humans-2025/

By Baher Kamal

Desert Shrubs Cranked Up Water Use Efficiency To Survive A Megadrought — ScienceDaily

Shrubs in the desert Southwest have increased their water use efficiency at some of the highest rates ever observed to cope with a decades-long megadrought. That’s the finding of a new study from University of Utah researchers, who found that although the shrubs’ efficiency increases are unprecedented and heroic, they may not be enough to adapt to the long-term drying trend in the West.

“The Southwest is in a really dry period,” says Steven Kannenberg, postdoctoral research associate in the U’s School of Biological Sciences, “and this is further evidence of how much the ‘megadrought’ has impacted plant functioning and how anomalous this period is.”

Water Use Efficiency

The key metric to know for this study is intrinsic water-use efficiency, or iWUE. It’s a ratio of the amount of photosynthesis in a plant to how open the plants’ stomata are. Stomata are small openings in leaves that allow carbon dioxide to come in and water vapor to go out. Think of them as the plants’ nostrils.

When iWUE is high, then plants carry out photosynthesis with minimal stomatal opening. Several factors can affect a plant’s iWUE. If carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere go up, then the plants don’t need to open their stomata as much to bring in the same amount of carbon. If temperatures rise or water availability drops, the plant will restrict stomatal opening so as to not lose too much water.

It would stand to reason, then, that current rising carbon dioxide levels and warming and drying trends would lead to increases in iWUE. But by how much? And how does it compare to iWUE trends in the past?

(Continued)

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