Water is becoming an even more precious resource in the future
It is becoming clearer that we will have to adapt to the tropical heat. Air conditioners will become more in demand during the summer (both than ice cubes in drinks and ice cream). The snow will probably be just a memory. Unfortunately, this will not be the only consequence of increasingly obvious climate change and human carelessness.
Water is becoming more precious as the clouds on all meridians have begun to seriously skimp with rain. Prolonged periods of drought are more common. Desert areas in the world are a logical result if we add to this fact the increase in temperature, mass cutting of forests, fires, accelerated development of animal husbandry and tourism, increased construction activity and misbehavior with water reserves.
In the past decades, millions of hectares of crops have been devastated by severe droughts and serious shortages of drinking water have been recorded around the world (for example, in China in 2006). Droughts in Australia have lasted for more than 45 years. A record number of forest fires was recorded in the United States of America due to the lack of rain. Some areas of the Earth affected by droughts have already experienced dramatic floods – this is not illogical, although it seems illogical. Namely, dry and hard soil is one of the consequences of long-term drought. The dry and hard soil cannot absorb the heavy rains that finally fall.
Deserts are expanding. Desertification (turning the soil into a desert) occurs on all continents (except Antarctica). The vision is that the Mediterranean could look like the Sahara in just a few years. This vision is quite possible and achievable. Desertification is a worldwide problem. Desertification and land degradation is a slow process but a serious social problem. A prerequisite for solving it is a decisive political decision to approach the problem. In addition, it is important to have transparent data, as much sustainable agriculture as possible and a significantly more lush green cover.
The main cause of these phenomena is climate change. Desertification has affected 36 million square kilometers of the Earth’s surface and more than 250 million people. This topic was seriously discussed for the first time in 1977, in Nairobi, Kenya, organized by the UNCCD (UN Convention on Desertification), the world’s main initiator of the fight against desertification – say scientists from the Scientific Committees. These phenomena can be mitigated by various measures, such as “capturing” salt, grazing control, cover crops, improving the technique of obtaining charcoal.
Desertification is the process of expansion of desert environments and soil degradation in arid, semi-arid and moderately humid parts of the world. Desertification is a worldwide problem. More than 75% of the Earth’s surface is already degraded, and more than 90% could be degraded by 2050. Agriculture depends on the soil, which people should know well – say eminent experts from the Department of Herbology of the Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy.
The countries in the north of Europe (such as Denmark, Poland and Scandinavia) are suitable for climate change, but not the Mediterranean countries. There are solutions, for example, some new crops should be introduced (for example, almond cultivation). Also, there is a good trend of returning to old varieties of certain crops. Areas under flax and hemp should be increased, etc. States should respect and apply EU regulations, but also act independently.
Climate-smart agriculture can reverse land degradation trends only if there is political will for strategic drought management. Otherwise, turning the land into a desert and drying it out can have enormous consequences for people, nature and the economy. It inevitably leads to mass migrations. The concern is justified if, for example, it is known that in Greece the average rainfall has decreased by more than 30% from the mid-1970s until today and over 35% of the territory could turn into a desert. The cause for alarm is also coming from Italy. The government has declared a “state of emergency” in the central and northern regions of the Apennine peninsula (due to water reserves that have reached a minimum). It is clear that extremely high temperatures and a lack of rainfall have threatened livestock and agricultural crops. The harvest was threatened by more than 30% during one year in 2007, while (for example in the Balkans, i.e. in Serbia) it happened that more than 10,000 poultry died in just 10 days due to high temperatures.
The water level of the rivers is decreasing and endangering the flora and fauna. States are raging with fires. The prices of fruits and vegetables are therefore constantly increasing on market stalls and in stores. Experts warn that the area of drought is constantly expanding due to climate change. Even the most fertile territories could turn into arid lands in less than 100 years.
In the next 2 decades, drought and desertification threaten the survival of almost 2 billion people on the planet. Currently, more than a billion people live in zones that are already in the phase of turning into a desert. Of the 5.2 billion hectares of the Earth, over 40% are dry areas. About 40% of currently fertile and arable land on Earth is in danger of turning into barren deserts (due to lack of water and precipitation).
Hot and dry Africa has 29 (out of 36) of the poorest countries in the world. In these countries, two thirds of the people live in absolute poverty and lack of water. This problem also seriously affects Asia is. In China, India, Mongolia, Pakistan and Syria, deserts are expanding much faster than predicted. Nepal is affected by mountain soil erosion. In China alone, the process of desertification has affected 27.3 of the total territory (2007), and the direct consequences are felt by more than 400 million people (data from 2007). Europe is not immune to this problem either. Barren soil increased by more than 40% in the period between 1900 and 1970 (due to poor use of water resources, deforestation, fires and rapid urbanization). This percentage (40%) has been growing rapidly for the last few decades.
Food production will need to increase by 75% in the next 2 decades – according to UN estimates from 2007. Improving the efficiency of the use of water and water resources (especially irrigation, prevention, rehabilitation of partially degraded land) has become imperative for all people (if it is known that even today 80% of water consumption goes to agriculture).
The 2022 UN Conference on Desertification will be held from 05-08 October 2022 in the French city of Montpellier.
NGOs, scientists, local communities, international institutions, private and public sectors, every level of civil society: hundreds of participants from around the world will be gathering at Montpellier from 5 to 8 October 2022 to debate and share their stances on land degradation from the angles of desertification, protection of biodiversity and adaptation to climate change, and its worldwide impacts: https://desertif-actions.org
The two-time Grammy Award winner and a long-standing UNCCD Land Ambassador, Ricky Kej embodies and inspires positive change through the emotional language of art and music. The UNCCD Land Anthem that he created together with another Land Ambassador Baaba Maal and other musicians from Canada, India, the USA, Senegal, South Africa and Vietnam has already been produced in eight languages. The song that celebrates Life on Land has been performed at key international events, such as the UNCCD COPs and the Desertification and Drought Day global observances. You can download the lyrics in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian, and watch the original release on our YouTube channel.