The harshest of worlds: it's really hard to find any good news on the environment front. From overgrazing which is causing the spread of deserts, to lack of food and water, and pollution, Africa is one of the toughest places in the world in which to survive. (Africa - Environment).For years, development experts have thought that the combination of growing population, declining agriculture, and withering environmental conditions spelt spelt
Subspecies (Triticum aestivum spelta) of wheat that has lax spikes and spikelets containing two light-red kernels. Triticum dicoccon was cultivated by the ancient Babylonians and the ancient Swiss lake dwellers; it is now grown for livestock forage and used in baked disaster for Africa in the 21st century. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the International Fund for Agriculture Development in 1996, Africa was losing about 15% of its potential agriculture income every year to soil degradation - more than the value of annual food imports by the continent.
According to the United Nations in its Global Environment Outlook (GEO) - 2000, Africa is the only continent where poverty is expected to rise during the next century. And, the report says poverty is a major cause and consequence of the environmental degradation Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife. and resource depletion Resource depletion is an economic term referring to the exhaustion of raw materials within a region. Resources are commonly divided between renewable resources and non-renewable resources. that threaten the region. It adds that major environmental challenges include deforestation deforestation
Process of clearing forests. Rates of deforestation are particularly high in the tropics, where the poor quality of the soil has led to the practice of routine clear-cutting to make new soil available for agricultural use. , soil degradation and desertification desertification
Spread of a desert environment into arid or semiarid regions, caused by climatic changes, human influence, or both. Climatic factors include periods of temporary but severe drought and long-term climatic changes toward dryness. , declining biodiversity and marine resources, water scarcity, and deteriorating water and air quality, as well as the human health and environmental problems of growing urbanization. There are plenty of statistics confirming the severity of Africa's problems:
* An estimated 500 million hectares of land have been affected by soil degradation since about 1950, including as much as 65% of agricultural land;
* As a result of declining food security, the number of undernourished people in Africa nearly doubled from 100 million in the late 1960s to nearly 200 million in 1995;
* Africa lost 39 million hectares of tropical forest during the 1980s, and another 10 million hectares by 1995;
* Fourteen African countries are subject to water stress or water scarcity, and a further 11 will join them by 2025.
Climate change will only continue to make things worse.
If global warming global warming, the gradual increase of the temperature of the earth's lower atmosphere as a result of the increase in greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution. is taking place, and it looks increasingly likely that it is, then Africa is going to suffer catastrophically as a result. Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the UN Environment Program has warned that Africa would suffer most from the effects of global warming
The predicted effects of global warming on the environment and for human life are numerous and varied. It is generally difficult to attribute specific natural phenomena to long-term causes, but some effects of : "Africa's share of the global population is 13%, but it is responsible for only 3.2% of global carbon dioxide carbon dioxide, chemical compound, CO2, a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is about one and one-half times as dense as air under ordinary conditions of temperature and pressure. emissions. [This is expected to increase to only 3.8% by the year 2010.] Africans face the most direct consequences with regard to extreme weather conditions, with regard to drought and storms."
Africa is seen as highly vulnerable to climate change because of widespread poverty, recurrent droughts, inequitable land distribution, and overdependence on rain-fed agriculture. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “IPCC” redirects here. For other uses, see IPCC (disambiguation).
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 by two United Nations organizations, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment (IPCC See IMS Forum. ), the historical climate record for Africa shows warming of approximately 0.7 [degrees] C over most of the continent during the 20th century, a decrease in rainfall over large portions of the Sahel, and an increase in rainfall in east central Africa. Climate change scenarios for Africa indicate future warming across the continent ranging from 0.2 [degrees] C per decade (low scenario) to more than 0.5 [defrees] C per decade (high scenario). This warming is greatest over the interior of semi-arid margins of the Sahara and central southern Africa
The IPCC, like the UN GEO - 2000, has outlined a long list of future problems Africa will face. They too include growing water shortages and declines in the production of food and natural resources. The continent already experiences low food production in many areas, and potential declines in soil moisture will be an added burden. The greatest impact will continue to be felt by the poor, who have the most limited access to water resources. Water shortages will damage inland fisheries, through drought and habitat destruction Habitat destruction is a process of land use change in which one habitat-type is removed and replaced with another habitat-type. In the process of land-use change, plants and animals which previously used the site are displaced or destroyed, reducing biodiversity. . Ocean warming also will modify ocean currents, with possible impacts on coastal marine fisheries. Temperature rises will spread diseases such as malaria. Droughts and flooding, where sanitary conditions are poor, will increase the frequency of epidemics. More frequent outbreaks of Rift Valley fever Rift Valley fever
An arthropod-borne (primarily mosquito), acute, febrile, viral disease of humans and numerous species of animals. Rift Valley fever is caused by a ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus in the genus Phlebovirus of the family Bunyaviridae. could result from increased rainfall. Increased temperatures of coastal waters could aggravate cholera epidemics in coastal areas. In addition, sea-level rise, coastal erosion Coastal erosion see also (beach evolution) is the wearing away of land or the removal of beach or dune sediments by wave action, tidal currents, wave currents, or drainage. , saltwater intrusion Saltwater intrusion is a natural process that occurs in virtually all coastal aquifers, where they are in hydraulic continuity with sea water. It consists in salt water (from the sea) flowing inland in freshwater aquifers. , and flooding will have significant impacts on African communities and economies.
And, there will be more desertification caused by changes in rainfall and intensified land use as a result of population and development pressures. The resulting changes in ecosystems will alter the distribution and productivity of plant and animal species, water supply, and fuelwood. In addition, projected climate change is expected to affect the frequency, intensity, and extent of vegetation fires, which will possibly have further effects on climate change.
In Africa, forests cover five million square kilometres, one-sixth of the continent's land area. The moist tropical forests of the Congo constitute the second most extensive rainforest in the world and a globally important reserve of carbon. Trees and shrubs constitute an important component of the more than 12 million square kilometres of agricultural lands, pastures, shrublands, and savannas outside of closed-canopy forest areas.
Trees and shrubs are an important part of the ecosystem: they not only hold carbon, but store and emit water for precipitation, maintain soil fertility, and form habitats for a wide array of plant and animal species. Moreover, forests also provide firewood, structural timber, traditional medicines, staple foods, and drought emergency foods. Because a lot of people live in rural areas, they depend on trees and shrubs for many of their subsistence needs - firewood and charcoal provide approximately 70% of the energy used in Africa. Also, the export of timber, nuts, fruit, gum, and other forest products generates 6% of the economic product of African countries. Clearly, climate change puts at risk the many Africans who depend on the forest for their survival.
1. Urban waste is polluting South Africa's established water systems and is reaching into parks and wilderness eco-systems, according to Jay O'Keefe, director of the Water Research Institute. He says toxin levels in rivers flowing through the Kruger National Park Kruger National Park, game reserve, c.8,000 sq mi (20,720 sq km), Limpopo and Mpumalanga, NE South Africa. One of the world's largest wildlife sanctuaries, it has almost every species of game found in southern Africa. are steadily increasing and endangering river life. Do a research paper on the extent of the problem and what is being done about it.
2. The World Wilderness Congress The World Wilderness Congress is the longest-running, public international environmental forum and is the flagship progect of The WILD Foundation. The 1st WWC was held in South Africa in 1977 and has had a total of 8 meetings. (WWC WWC Worldwide Classroom
WWC Walla Walla College (Walla Walla, WA USA)
WWC World Water Council
WWC Women's World Cup (soccer)
WWC Workshop on Workload Characterization
WWC Washington Wheat Commission ), the longest-running, international, public environmental forum, was established in 1977. It has convened on six occasions: South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. (1977); Australia (1980); Scotland (1983); United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. (1987); Norway (1993); India (1998). Participants from more than 100 nations have included philosophers, influential and forward-thinking local leaders and communities, heads of state and senior politicians, field and game rangers, artists, corporate leaders, scientists, educators, managers, financiers, and others. Report on the activities of the WWC and its current work.
3. The El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO ENSO El Niño Southern Oscillation ) is thought to be large. responsible for climate variability over eastern and southern Africa. Invite a climatologist cli·ma·tol·o·gy
The meteorological study of climates and their phenomena.
clima·to·log to speak to the class about natural events that cause climate change versus change that's brought on by human activity.
According to the environmental group Global Witness, the ruling elites in Zimbabwe have cut a deal to "create the world's largest logging concession by gaining rights to exploit 33 million hectares of forests in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 15% of total land area, and ten times the size of Switzerland."
Global Witness - http:// www.oneworld.org/ globalwitness/press/ bd_zimbabwe.htm
Network for Environment and Sustainable Development Sustainable development is a socio-ecological process characterized by the fulfilment of human needs while maintaining the quality of the natural environment indefinitely. The linkage between environment and development was globally recognized in 1980, when the International Union in Africa- http://www.rri. org/nesda/
World Wilderness Congress - http:// www.oneworld.org/ globalwitness/press/ bd_zimbabwe.htm
RELATED ARTICLE: Clouds in the crystal ball.
The International Council for Science conducted a special survey for GEO-2000 on environmental issues that may need attention in the 21 st century. The survey was conducted among 200 scientists in 50 countries. Most of the responding scientists expect that the major environmental problems of the next century will stem from the continuation and aggravation of existing problems that currently do not receive enough policy attention. The issues cited most frequently are climate change (51%), and the quantity and quality of water resources (29%). These are followed by deforestation and desertification (28%), freshwater pollution (28%), and problems arising from poor governance at national and international levels (27%). Two social issues, population growth and changing social values, were also major concerns. Many scientists emphasized the potential importance of links between climate change and other environmental problems.
RELATED ARTICLE: What's being done?
According to a World Bank study, there are no simple or fast solutions to Africa's problems. "Many of the most immediately attractive remedies have been tried and have failed," says the study. Those attempts have included tree-planting schemes, family-planning programs, and new farming technologies.
The key message of the World Development Report (WDR WDR Westdeutscher Rundfunk (German radio and TV station)
WDR World Development Report (World Bank)
WDR Wide Dynamic Range (cameras) ) 1998/1999 for Africa is that most countries on the continent need to do much more and to do it faster. They need to increase their knowledge base, to invest in educating their people, and take advantage of the new technologies for acquiring and disseminating knowledge.
A 1998 meeting of African communications ministers came to some gloomy conclusions. The lack of "policies that promote equitable public participation in the information society as both producers and consumers of information and knowledge" makes it difficult for African countries to share the benefits of the global communication revolution currently taking place. Given that more than 60% of the people of Africa live in rural areas, they said one of the biggest challenges facing Africa is the development of a telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas. This is highlighted by the fact that the majority of people in Africa have never made a telephone call; less than half of one percent of the world's Internet users are in Africa.
The Machakos District in Kenya is seen as one of the success stories in reversing land degradation, even with a rapidly expanding population. Recently, in The State of the World Population 2001 report, the United Nations praised the Machakos villagers for their success in meeting population challenges. The villagers adopted new agricultural technology that checked food insecurity and environmental degradation. They used terracing, adopted diverse crops, planted trees for soil stabilization, water management, and fuel wood.
"New hillside cropping technologies have also added to the area's water requirement," says the report by United Nations Population Fund The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) began funding population programs in 1969. It was renamed the United Nations Population Fund in 1987, but kept its original abbreviation. .
Kenya's population is expected to increase by nine million in the next 20 years to 37.4 million. The report ranks it among countries devastated dev·as·tate
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.
2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark. by population-induced poverty and environmental degradation. It also says Kenya has one of the lowest individual average incomes in the world, and the bulk of its population has no access to safe drinking water drinking water
supply of water available to animals for drinking supplied via nipples, in troughs, dams, ponds and larger natural water sources; an insufficient supply leads to dehydration; it can be the source of infection, e.g. leptospirosis, salmonellosis, or of poisoning, e.g. . Life expectancy Life Expectancy
1. The age until which a person is expected to live.
2. The remaining number of years an individual is expected to live, based on IRS issued life expectancy tables. has fallen by about eight years in the past decade to 48.7 years (male) and 49.9 (female). At least six out of every 100 children born in Kenya die in infancy.
The report says population increase, especially in the developing world, threatens the already fragile global environment. The world population has doubled since 1960 to 6.1 billion and is projected to reach 9.3 billion in the next 48 years. By 2050, about 4.2 billion people will live in countries that hardly meet the daily requirement for basic needs.
RELATED ARTICLE: Drought in the sahel.
One of the most significant climatic variations in Africa has been the persistent decline in rainfall in the Sahel (the semi-arid belt between the Saharan Desert and the coastal tropics tropics, also called tropical zone or torrid zone, all the land and water of the earth situated between the Tropic of Cancer at lat. 23 1-2°N and the Tropic of Capricorn at lat. 23 1-2°S. ) since the late 1960s. The great droughts continued into the early 1970s and dramatically changed the balance between people and nature in Africa. That led farmers to switch to faster-growing varieties of millet: they had lower yields but crops that were more reliable in dry years. Still, they needed as much as three times more land to reap crops equal to those of 20 years before. This was a major shift in an area where 80% of the population depends on agriculture for survival. The trend was abruptly changed by a return of adequate rainfall conditions in 1994, the wettest year in three decades, but still little more than the longterm average of the previous century. And, it did not end the drought as many had hoped. Unfortunately, dry conditions returned after 1994. The persistent drying trend has caused concern among development planners regarding how to cope with losses of food production, episodes of food insecurity, displacements of populations, lack of water resources, and constraints on hydroelectricity.