I am endlessly fascinated by the potential to restore degraded ecosystems – even when they have been deserts for a very long time. I have been involved with a project in Somalia, which some of you may already have seen, and several other smaller examples. But larger scale ecosystem restoration projects are possible, and offer a lot of hope for the future – both in terms of mitigation, and adaptation.
I have recently become aware of the ambitious plans afoot to re-green the Sinai peninsula. This is a great example of what I talk about a lot – the potential we humans have to generate truly positive change.
Many of the projects I have worked on have involved ecosystem restoration that works in very similar ways to this project – just on a smaller scale. Water management earthworks, soil building, re-vegetation – especially on watersheds – alterations and interventions surrounding these things can make a huge difference. They can turn a negative feedback loop into a positive one.
Remember that desertification is a growing issue. We risk turning further huge areas to desert through harmful agricultural practices. We need to reduce the amount of desert, not just halting desertification but turning our planet green again. And we need to start thinking on a bigger scale.
But even when we do not ourselves have the wherewithal to orchestrate projects of this size and ambition, we can support those who do. We can do what we can on the land we are looking after and we can advocate for the bigger changes we want to see.