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Over three decades ago, I crossed the Sahara desert as a young man, ambitious, curious, daring and eager to see the world for what it was. My journey from Europe to Nigeria through the Sahara brought with it a renewed understanding of life and land. I was overwhelmed by how big the desert and how serious the problem of land degradation was so I began to do more research on desertification and land use. With more knowledge, I embarked on projects to combat desertification like the MAKODA Greening project, Desert warrior show, planting gardens in Asaba and Lagos and I hope to do more.

As much as the desert is beautiful, stretching effortlessly, glimmering in the sun, it shouldn’t be let to continue taking the villages and communities, displacing families and killing livestock. But the desert isn’t the only or biggest culprit of the menace. Humans have contributed so much to the rising rate of drought and desertification on earth.
As we mark, this year’s World Desertification and Drought Day with the theme – Land: Food. Feed. Fiber. – It is time to think about the land and act on it. Today’s theme focuses on the changing public attitudes to the leading driver of desertification and land degradation: humanity’s relentless production and consumption.
As populations increase and become more urban, so does the demand for land to provide food, shelter, animal feed and fiber at the expense of the existing arable land.
The first word of the theme ‘Food’ brings our attention to the fact that one third of all food produced each year (about 1.3 billion tonnes) is lost or wasted. Food loss or waste leads to needless CO2 emissions, the loss of economic value and natural resources used in the production such as land, water and energy.
With Feed, we see that annually, 13 billion hectares of forest are lost to land conversion for agricultural use such as pasture and cropland and more than 70% of our natural ecosystems. This has huge negative effect on water availability, biodiversity and the climate.
Fibre highlights our exploitative nature and the irrational importance we place on luxuries (Fiber): The fashion industry produces more emissions than airline industry. Clothing and footwear production causes 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This figure is set to rise by 2030 with increase in demand.
We all one way or the other contribute to environmental problems and we can be better than this. Below are a few suggestions as to how to be a better citizen of the earth and combat desertification and drought.
• Save water and use only when necessary to prevent drought.
• Plant a lot of trees to keep the desert away.
• Reduce your food waste by buying only what you need, planning meals and donating non-perishables to those in need.
• Adopt a more balanced diet with plant-based foods to reduce demand for agricultural land and water.
• Repairing, donating and swapping clothes can save water and mitigate climate change
• Support environmental conscious brands.

Join us today and be a part of the conversation on our different social media platforms as we mark World Desertification and Drought Day.


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