Great Green Wall

It’s no surprise that one of the ways we’ll fight climate change is to plant a lot of trees. Across the entirety of northern Africa, millions of trees are being planted to help, and also to hold back the spread of the Sahara.

Senegal reforestation
McGahuey from the Site USAID – uploaded by Béka [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I’ve written about the green Sahara before, and I’ve written about great walls before, so it makes sense to combine these two and write about the Great Green Wall project.

It’s a great idea: plant a line of trees and/or grazable plants, 15 kilometres wide and 7600 kilometres long, stretching from the west to the east coasts of northern Africa. To give you an idea of the scale, that’s like a single giant forest reaching from Amsterdam through to Kolkata in India – passing through the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, the Black Sea, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan on the way. Or a single forest stretching from Juneau, Alaska to Caracas, Venezuela (assuming that you plant trees in a direct line through the Caribbean).

The Great Green Wall is planned to run along the bottom edge of the Sahel, which is region directly to the south of the Sahara. As that desert creeps further into the Sahel, the Great Green Wall is supposed to check its advance. It’s a joint effort between almost all of the countries of northern Africa – from Mauritania, the Gambia, and Senegal in the west through to Ethiopia and Djibouti in the east – and many UN and international agencies and organisations.

It’s difficult to get figures on exactly how many trees have been planted so far – in 2016 it was reportedly 15% complete – but damn if it isn’t a bold move to mitigate the current climate crisis.

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