Adventure Travel

Trees might be the only thing to save Sudan

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Sudan trees desert

Image: Wikipedia

Sudan is a country that has struggled tremendously over the past few decades. It has been racked with civil war and droughts. Things have gotten so bad in the Sudan that a recent report suggested that climate change could render the country completely uninhabitable by the end of the century.

The country has always been dry, perched at the edge of the great Sahara desert, which makes farming, the primary source of food in the African subcontinent, difficult. And it is becoming more difficult as time goes on.

Desertification is the primary enemy. It is created by conditions of drought that renders otherwise fertile soil dry and dusty. Wind then blows it away creating an ever expanding desert.

The situation is not only threatening life in Sudan. It is estimated that by 2080, almost the entire continent of Africa could be at risk of serious food insecurity. And given the size of Africa’s population, that means hundreds of millions of people would be facing near constant famine.

It is an incredibly dangerous and destabilizing future in one of the least stable regions in the world.

Obviously, climate change makes this problem much worse and more threatening because it makes drought more frequent. Over the past few decades, the desert has encroached relentlessly on people’s homes and farmland in Sudan in particular, making life increasingly difficult.

But the people of Sudan are not ready to give up just yet and have found that the only solution to the problem might be trees.

The great green wall is a name given to a project to plant a curtain of trees all the way across North Africa. The idea is that the trees will help anchor the soil in place so that the process of desertification can be slowed or even halted. It is hoped that the trees will act as a kind of natural barrier to the advance of the desert, which should make farming more sustainable in the areas protected by the barrier of trees.

This would be an enormous victory, since not only would it save the country of Sudan, but it would mark the first time a massive human effort reversed an impending environmental disaster. Not only that, but it would have been achieved in a country with extremely limited resources, proving to the whole world that even poor countries can make significant gains in the fight against climate change.

The project will require that hundreds of millions of trees be planted along the drought-stricken sahara region. It is hoped that the result will be a region that is farmable and sustainable. Many believe that the ongoing conflict in the region is the result of poverty and lack of resources that will hopefully be reversed by this project.

If the project is successful, it could lead to a new era of grassroots efforts to fight climate change. And it may be that the poorest nations in the world could be the ones to lead it.

If you want to get involved with the Great Green Wall project, you can donate here.

Wyatt is a writer and your friend. You can follow him on Twitter @WyattRedd.