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Combating Desertification For a Better Tomorrow      

Desertification is one of the biggest threats to the Namibian ecosystem and essentially, it’s economy. 

Ina Wilkie, manager of the World Future Council, in this episode of MYD Earth talks about desertification, what causes it and how Namibians can work to combat it. 

MYD: Where are we when talking desertification?

There’s two sides to this, one side is a lot of land is degraded on the planet, so about half of all our agricultural land is degraded and if you look at where conflict areas are and you map that with degraded land you see a lot of overlap. The good news is that we know how to restore land and estimates are that we can restore about two billion hectares of degraded land, and we know how to do it, and in a lot of places in the world people are already doing it.

MYD: What do you mean when you say degraded land, what does that mean for the world, what does that mean for land?

If land is degraded, it doesn’t provide the ecosystem services that you want it to, so it doesn’t store water; maybe your topsoil has been washed off and you can’t grow food there anymore and once that process is started, you know it sort of carries on. 

MYD: What are some of the causes of land being degraded? 

There are many causes and many overlapping causes, but a lot of the way we do agriculture, monocultures, a lot of the poison we put out onto the field, that’s often a cause for degradation.

MYD: And what would it mean for humanity if land was to be left degraded?

We would not be able to produce the food we need, we would not be able to store the water in the ground that we need and so we can talk, but at the end of the day if we don’t have food and if we don’t have water, that’s the worst consequence we can have for humanity.

MYD: Let’s talk a little bit about your film?

The film is the result of a project I’ve been doing over a few years for the World Future Council, and so what we do is we look at policies and programs that work well, we identify them on certain topics. Now this was land restoration, so I’ve been travelling across a few countries that are world champions in combating desertification and a lot of pictures or stories that you will see in the film are from Tigray, Northern Ethiopia.

Ina advises that Namibians be more open to change when it comes to combating desertification and to be receptive to people who are actively pushing to bring about this change. 

“There’s also the saying you know that you shouldn’t laugh about people or small groups who are changing things, because change has never happened differently … Change has always happened by somebody or a little group of people changing things. That’s the only way change will come.”

Watch the MYD Africa Show on One Africa TV every Tuesday at 20h00 with repeats on Thursdays at 06h30 and Sundays at 19h30. 

Listen to the MYD Earth Show on 99FM every Monday at 18h00.