Desertification is not far. It is already here
- The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought alerts us to a phenomenon that spreads out from North to South.
- Several projects of the We Are Water Foundation, such as the construction of a reservoir in Ganjikunta, show the good practices to fight a process that threatens the access to water and the food safety of millions of people.
We can see that the so called Spanish Mediterranean Arch concentrates the areas with greater risk; in some cases there is already a slow deterioration process, with important areas in the Southeast and South. In these areas there is the already mentioned climate aggravation, as it rains very little and when it does, it is seasonal rain and very frequently comes as violent downpours.
Desertification may be slowed down
It is easy to understand that the elimination of our bad practices is the key factor to fight desertification. The Goal 15 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addresses this serious threat directly. It is essential to pursuit a sustainable agricultural and livestock development. To that effect, in many occasions it is only necessary to resort to traditional practices that have been abandoned due to demographic pressure and very often to a political mismanagement that has allowed the imposition of single-crop cultivation, altering the ecological balance. Reforestation is also essential as it is linked to the retention of the “living” layer of the earth and the recovery of the aquifers.
A project that summarises and shows these actions clearly is the one finished by the We Are Water Foundation in 2011 in Anantapur, the largest district of the 22 that make up the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, together with the Vicente Ferrer Foundation: the construction of a reservoir in Ganjikunta. There, in an area threatened by desertification and subject to the climatic whim of the monsoons, the catchment of rainwater by means of small reservoirs allows farmers to diversify their crops, guaranteeing water in the long drought seasons and recovering the aquifers by filtration, thus providing water to the wells in the area and improving reforestation.
Another project of the Foundation that shows how to find solutions in communities threatened by the deterioration of fertile soil is the recovery of the natural water cycle in the Bosawas Reserve, in Nicaragua. Education is one of the key work areas for the recovery of traditional agricultural and livestock techniques, in order to achieve the sustainability of the economic activity. There, together with Educación Sin Fronteras , the Foundation developed and implemented an educational programme for the mayangna indigenous community with the aim of slowing down deforestation and promoting the intercultural relationship and the gender rights.
It is possible to fight desertization, although it is not an easy task. May the threat of its nearness raise our awareness so that we support the initiatives that fight it!