In an effort to bring attention to land degradation and desertification, the United Nations has launched the UN Decade for Deserts and Desertification (UNDDD).
Noting this extreme drying process to be among the most severe challenges of our time, the UN states that a quarter of the world's land has been degraded through processes such as topsoil erosion since 1980, with at least an additional 1% lost each year. Some 2.1 billion of the world's people, many of whom reside in developing nations, live in regions already classified as natural drylands and are thus especially vulnerable to processes like desertification.
According to Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN's Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), soil degradation has been a primary factor in land conflicts in Somalia, as well as the rise in Asian dust storms, and steep food price increases in the past few years. Adding to the problem are climate change impacts such as rising temperatures and erratic precipitation.
Speaking with grave concern about the situation, Mr. Gnacadja stated, "The top 20 centimeters of soil is all that stands between us and extinction." In an attempt to restore ecological balance, scientists are suggesting measures such as preservation of drylands ecosystems, improved land and water management, the use of drought-resistant seeds and even the granting of carbon credits for protecting the soil.
Our appreciation, Mr. Luc Gnacadja, United Nations, and all scientists working to raise awareness and halt the depletion of life-giving soil. We pray that humanity quickly unifies in actions to preserve precious drylands and the balance of all life on Earth.
During an interview for the December 16, 2009 edition of The Irish Dog Journal, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke as she has on previous occasions about the urgent matter of climate change and how to best ensure the welfare of all beings.