This is The ChangeUnderground for the 28th of February 2022.
I’m your host, Jon Moore
Decarbonise the Air, Recarbonise the Soil!
Way back on the 2nd of October 2017 in episode 84, I first reported on the Great Green Wall. From that episode:
So this green wall is fifteen kilometer deep reafforestation program along the southern boundary of the Sahara desert. It will eventually stretch from the Atlantic to the Indian Oceans. The idea to build a barrier against the southern movement of the Sahara.
So that’s the what and the why but what about does it work?
So far Senegal is by far the most advanced with the planting and maintaining of the Green Wall. They have planted 11 million trees. The effect has been to reduce wind erosion, provided shade and increased microclimate humidity. But more than, formerly dry wells have re-filled, this has allowed gardens to be planted again, people to be fed and communities to flourish.
That’s five years ago, so what’s going on now?
From the website: greatgreenwall.org
The Great Green Wall is taking root in Africa’s Sahel region, at the southern edge of the Sahara desert – one of the poorest places on the planet.
More than anywhere else on Earth, the Sahel is on the frontline of climate change and millions of locals are already facing its devastating impact. Persistent droughts, lack of food, conflicts over dwindling natural resources, and mass migration to Europe are just some of the many consequences.
Yet, communities from Senegal in the West to Djibouti in the East are fighting back.
Since the birth of the initiative in 2007, life has started coming back to the land, bringing improved food security, jobs and stability to people’s lives.
Now I got to thinking that such a thing could be visible from, if not space, at least on google earth. Maybe I’m not reading the images correctly or progress isn’t quite as quick as I imagined. Either way, I couldn’t find the Great Green Wall of Africa. The reports from Senegal show some promise. Increased water flows, rain even and increasing levels of prosperity. So that’s a good thing. I’ll keep an eye on both this project as reported and the google earth images. I truly hope this project works. If it does in Africa, then it can be replicated around the globe. There are areas of Australia where it could be used. The ongoing drought in the US could provide opportunities and then there’s the Gobi and its continued increase in size. A move from ploughing and/or grazing to a three dimensional perennial landscape in this particular situation, growing desertification, could serve as an example for other landscapes in how to cooperate across national boundaries for a much larger goal.
From this 40,000 foot overview position, I’m coming down to 5 to 6 feet altitude. Back in episodes 281 and 282, The Future, parts 1 and 2, I suggested given the years of pandemic and their effect on supply chains that we should all find ways to grow at least some of our food.
Given the situation in Ukraine and its unknown outcome, that suggestion seems even more pertinent today. Russia and Ukraine export huge percentages of the world’s wheat and Russia, after China, is the world’s second largest producer of artificial fertilisers. Trade bans and so on are likely to hit markets around the world. Whilst I am no advocate of chemical farming, the overwhelming percentage of agricultural production in the developed world and increasingly in the developing world is dependent upon these chemicals to produce food. Clearly a move to organic twenty odd years ago as the Cubans were forced to after the collapse of the Soviet Union as we’ve discussed in episodes 278 , 191 and 184, would have us free from these supply chain entanglements. Maybe this crisis will see us, as a species, moving to biological systems based nutrient cycling and end our dependence on oil based inputs. I live in hope. As we covered back in episode 191, the 100th monkey can’t be that far away, surely.
And I do have some hope. Last week I attended an online seminar/lecture/presentation entitled: Intercropping. This was illuminating. The data confirmed all the things I’d read previously. This especially so when it comes to myclillia in the system. The role of deep rooted plants scavenging water and it being transferred through the fungal networks to shallow rooted plants was amazing.
The takeaway is to endure as diverse a root profile as possible. We need to ensure change underground, to make an obvious pun. Some reflection on the presentation led me to the conclusion that a perennial framework into which annuals are planted, either in a no-till/no-dig way or with a minimum tillage system to maintain as much of the fungal network as possible. This means the clover based system I discussed in episode 286 has much to recommend it. I’m considering adding thyme and rosemary mini hedgerows of a step over nature around the edges of each plot. This would increase the root profile complexity whilst providing more bee feed. There may even be some malicious insect defence as well. The blocks are ready for the buckwheat, again, as the cayenne pepper I used previously to deter birds actually attracted the chooks to the seed. The chooks will be excluded until the buckwheat is established and I’ve over sown with the clover seed. So say a month without chicken pressure and we should be underway. Time will tell.
The last couple of months have been a little trying and this pod has suffered as a result. That period has now passed, fingers crossed, and I’ll be back to a weekly release on Mondays Tasamian time.
If you need help to shorten your supply chains there’s the free ebook at the World Organic News website and the No Dig gardening course is there too. Links in the show notes.
Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!
Thank you all for listening and I’ll be back next week.
The ChangeUnderground Academy No-Dig Gardening Course:
FREE eBook: https://worldorganicnews.com/freeebook/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1546564598887681
21 African Nations Fight Desertification with 8,000 Kilometer Long Great Green Wall
The Great Green Wall
Cuba’s organic revolution