Desertification – Agriculturally Induced Ecological And Climatic Shifts Created The Sahara Desert

When thinking about the Sahara do you picture a green landscape, lush with vegetation and teeming with life? Of course not! Because today the Sahara is a desert, dry and arid: a harsh and unforgiving landscape. The ecoregion is the worlds largest hot desert, stretching across North Africa, from the Red Sea to the Atlantic ocean. […]

Very hot climate - Sahara Desert, Libya copy

When thinking about the Sahara do you picture a green landscape, lush with vegetation and teeming with life? Of course not! Because today the Sahara is a desert, dry and arid: a harsh and unforgiving landscape.

The ecoregion is the worlds largest hot desert, stretching across North Africa, from the Red Sea to the Atlantic ocean. Geoarcheological research by Dr. David Wright of Seoul National University has found that human driven ecological and climatic changes, brought about through the advent of agriculture, are the principle cause of the shift from the lush green landscape it once was into the ecoregion we know today.

His research has found that, as vegetation removal increased to introduce domesticated livestock, the amount of sunlight reflected off the earths surface increased, causing shifts in atmospheric conditions that resulted in reduced monsoon rainfall. This then lead to escalating vegetation loss and desertifiction, creating a feedback loop that spread across the ecoregion.

Agriculture owes its roots in shift from hunt-gatherer polycultures into the monoculture of civilisation at approximately 10,000 BC- the cradle of civilisation being the fertile crescent, which spanned from the Persian Gulf to Upper Egypt. Urbanisation and the advent of cities are other defining features of civilisation, whose origins for contemporary global civilisation are found in the fertile crescent.

When discussing the introduction of agriculture by Euroamericans in the Americas, Dr. David Wright states – “(m)ore analogous to the African context, the introduction of domesticated livestock by Euroamericans into semi-arid and arid regions of the Americas profoundly altered the ecosystem, inducing regime shifts in many regions. Grazing and browsing ungulates evolved in the Americas during the Cenozoic and were a critical component of the ecological matrix (Grayson, 2011; Woodburne, 2012). Prior to Euroamerican settlement, vast prairie grasslands spanned the interior upland regions of both North and South America. However, with the exception of Highland South America, there were no domesticated grazers present before the arrival of European settlers. Cattle (Bos taurus)  introduced a new pressure to the landscape that spatially and temporally correlates to a regime shift from grassland to scrubland (Van Auken, 2000).”

Dr. Wright’s research displays how, as well as being an immediately destructive process through the loss in vegetation, agriculture creates conditions for escalating feedback loops, with increasingly worsening results. And with the contemporary food crisis bringing about a global land grab for domestic consumption, changes in climate and soil destruction is worsening too. In Britain, soil degradation through intensive farming has gotten us to the point where we have about 100 harvests left, at current rates of consumption.

Extensive damming and draining projects are now worsening the ecological conditions of the area that once was the fertile crescent, with no efforts by the governments to reduce or reverse the damage. And given that 15% of the worlds human populations currently live in deserts, the importance of Wright’s findings are apparent because, as he states “the implications for how we change ecological systems have a direct impact on whether humans will be able to survive indefinitely in arid environments.”

 

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Pipeline Resistance Dangers and Quashing Dissent in Florida–Why We Must #StopSabalTrail

This is a report provided by a friend/contact, who is involved in the resistance to stop the Sabal Trail Transmission Pipeline.

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Photo of Manatee by Jill Yelverton

The pipeline broke ground the first week of September 2016 and according to some accounts is 90 to 95% completed. Some articles make it sound like they just began construction. The plans for this pipeline were implemented in 2013 to transport fracked gas/methane from various areas up north. We were talking to citizens back then but few heard us and there were almost no stories in the mainstream media. In many places right now, the pipe is already installed and covered with soil. The product from this pipeline is going for export. It will not do anything to help Americans in the way of jobs or lowering energy costs.

A Spectra employee told one of our legal people that once the pipe is installed, anything can be run through it. Tar sands, bitumen, crude oil, etc. This pipe infrastructure can be used to steal our water, though few have thought of that possibility. There are 44 pipelines being planned or built in North America right now. They are all connected in some manner. This is an infrastructure that the powers that be will be able to do almost anything with. I am sure that eventually they will be stealing our water and that the fracking industry is waiting to gain a foothold in this state. The US has become the latest sacrifice zone. The robbing of natural resources in foreign lands has come home to the US. As Russell Means, indigenous leader and activist said before he passed, “…we are ALL living on the reservation now.”

People have been affected everywhere. Property owners in the path of the pipeline have become victims of eminent domain. And other property owners NEAR or CONTIGUOUS to the pipeline path are in just as much danger. They can’t even sell their properties for $1. They have to walk away from them. Communities of color have either no idea what the pipeline is for, how damaging it is or possess the resources to fight legally.

The impact to flora, fauna, our soil and water and even the human impact cannot be measured. The danger from explosions which are a common occurrence anywhere there is a pipeline is rarely mentioned. We have sinkholes here, the pipelines can shift under the ground; there is no way to keep them stable. And our governor has proposed transporting this product via passenger rail. The processing centers are being planned next to nuclear facilities and our shipping ports. What could possibly go wrong?

As evidenced by #StandingRock and other pipeline fights across the country, it is no longer safe to resist or actively resist. Bodily injury, legal implications resulting in financial costs, losing employment and having a criminal record takes a toll on grassroots activists. The need for financial backing to continue to resist has been made a priority and sometimes results in scams. Even environmental groups have taken payouts by the polluters. Sincere activists have no idea who or what group or individual activist to support.

With a police shooting at the pipeline on February 26th that resulted in a death, activists are asking themselves if their current methods of dissent are working or if new strategies to resist are needed. Of further concern now are the attempts to quash resistance and opposition organizing online. There is a blatant disregard of those laws that are supposed to maintain our personal sovereignty, allow for us to be truly free people and guarantee an open and free press as evidenced by the following document:
ACLU CHALLENGES WARRANT TO SEARCH DATA OF FACEBOOK PAGE FOR GROUP PROTESTING DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE
https://www.aclu.org/…/aclu-challenges-warrant-search-data-…

Projected date for completion of the Sabal Trail Pipeline is June 1, 2017. The fight is on to #stopsabaltrail. Are we too late?

http://www.stopsabaltrail.com.
http://www.facebook.com/groups/stopsabaltrailpipeline
http://www.facebook.com/stopsabaltrail
http://www.twitter.com/stopsabaltrail

PLEASE HELP US FIGHT THIS PIPELINE THROUGH ART! Read about it: http://www.gofundme.com/bluedtrees

#nodapl #waterislife #waterissacred #stopsabaltrail #stopsabaltrailpipeline #SST#STT #nopipelinesever #rezpectourwater #mniwiconi #bluedtreessymphony#economicjustice

Disposable Plastic Bottles – A Disaster For Wildlife And Rivers

Plastic bottles are a common part of daily life in the western world. In the US 1,500 plastic bottles are consumed every second, 80% of which end up on landfill sites, leaching chemicals into the ground. They contain Bisphenol A and phthalates, which have a harmful impact on human health and are released with heat. […]

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Plastic bottles are a common part of daily life in the western world. In the US 1,500 plastic bottles are consumed every second, 80% of which end up on landfill sites, leaching chemicals into the ground.

They contain Bisphenol A and phthalates, which have a harmful impact on human health and are released with heat.

They are made from the petroleum product called polyethylene terephthalate, which requires fossil fuels to produce and be transported. In their production, they require two gallons of water for the purification process of one gallon of water. They take longer than a human lifetime to decompose – 450 years as one estimate states.

Littering means many end up in ecosystems, such as rivers, where they create a plethora of problems for the animals who live there, such as their tops being mistaken for food by fish and birds, with 90% of seabirds now consuming trash.

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In Britain, plastic pollution is an environmental catastrophe for rivers, such as the Thames, with plastic bottles being one of the more common items found by those attempting to reduce the damage. The situation has gotten so bad that the Environmental Audit Committee has launched an inquiry into the damage caused by disposable drinking products.

Rather than tackling the issue at hand, most of the proposed solutions and strategies in place are based in industrial recycling measures. But, besides being ineffective and inefficient, the industrial recycling industry comes with an entirety of its own toxic problems and pollutants.

Solving the problems created by plastic pollution appear too vast to comprehend, especially when so many believe in the false promises of the bright-green business-as-usual-environmentalism that dominates discussion. But with techno-utopians and those in positions of institutional authority being less than helpful, it is clear that it is up to individuals and communities who value the health of the ecosystems they are part of to do what they can to reduce the damage of this culture and resist its relentless violence towards the living world.

I leave you with this quote from prominent environmentalist writer Derrick Jensen –

“By now plastic is almost everywhere. By everywhere I mean in a huge portion of consumer products, in food and packaging, in liquid containers and the liquids they contain. By everywhere I mean in the oceans and in the air and on the land. By everywhere I mean on Mount Everest and in the Marianas Trench and in remote forests.”