Here’s a spot of good news. I have seen articles about low key plant based geo-engineering, but I didn’t realize it was so advanced. There is a Great Green Wall being built in an effort to hold back the rapidly advancing Sahara.
The numbers cited in the brochure on the project are encouraging:
- 500,000 hectares of Acacia woodlands restored in Burkina-Faso, Senegal, and Niger
- 5,000,000 hectares of farmland rehabilitated in Mali, Burkina-Faso, Niger, and Ethiopia
- $1 billion invested in Sahel & West Africa Program
The last time I can recall a quoted figure in a documentary, I believe the Sahara was advancing south in the Sahel at a rate of ten miles per year. Climate change will continue to drive that advance, but if it can be slowed by wiser practices across tens of thousands of square miles, that is a good thing.
The Sahara is a major feature on a large continent and it’s also a global climate force, cooling the Iberian peninsula, fertilizing the Atlantic, and impacting air quality in the Caribbean. Best of all, from my perspective, the dust drives California snowfall.
The most interesting effect of the dust is this – when it was less, the warming of the Atlantic drove a stronger monsoon, which kept the Sahara wetter – a positive feedback loop.
Climate is complex and I would argue that it is the existential threat for our species, in conjunction with our inability to maintain our population at a sensible level. The Great Green Wall is a rear guard defense, but it’s a line of defense for South Africa, our species theoretical redoubt during the Toba Catastrophe. Keep in mind that while the Toba theory has been debunked, our species did survive a genetic bottleneck, and there are signs that the refuge was the costal caves near Cape Town.