"This summer’s record-setting heatwaves and dramatic fires in southern Europe
and the American west were stark reminders that the climate crisis has arrived.
But as the world warms, there is also a quieter, lesser-known crisis unfolding
underfoot. Desertification, long seen primarily as a threat to developing
nations, is coming for Europe and North America too, as worsening droughts bake
soils already degraded by conventional farming and grazing practices.
In Spain, for example, about a fifth of all land is now at high risk of
desertification, as is much of the agricultural land across Italy, Greece, and
western North America.
Desertification is a process that turns fertile farms into barren land through
the interacting effects of human activity and climate extremes. Soil
degradation is the diminishment of a soil’s capacity to support crops and
livestock, either because of the erosion of fertile topsoil or the loss of
water-holding, nutrient-rich soil organic matter and the life it supports.
Semi-arid grasslands like the Sahel and western plains of North America are
most vulnerable because loss of drought tolerant native vegetation can trigger
rapid soil degradation and loss of agricultural productivity.
A changing climate, however, is not the only cause behind desertification. How
we treat the land – how we farm and ranch – matters too. Healthy, life-filled
soils better retain the moisture that falls on farmers’ fields."
Via Glyn Moody, who wrote "maybe we should do this - soon"
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics