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Desertification Around The World Essay

1599 words - 7 pages

Desertification around the World
Grand Valley State University

We as humans are like a virus; we use up as much resources as we can and when there is nothing else, we move to somewhere else. The problem is what happens when there is nowhere else to move to? Overusing scarce resources has its consequences and one of those consequences is the occurrence of desertification. In short, it occurs when a certain area overuses their water resource and over grazes their land until the water resource is gone and the soil can no longer be used for irrigation. On a global scale the amount of usable water and land exceeds the demand, but in particular areas, the scarcity of these ...view middle of the document...

But those areas in which it is possible for sustainability must be looked after with great ease or we’ll be finding ourselves fighting a losing battle.
Desertification is most seen in areas like the Middle East and Africa where population growth and agricultural performance has been an issue for a while. They starve and thirst every day just because they can’t sustain crops due to their land and the depletion of their water and trees. Some economists say that we are seeing people in areas like this experiencing malnutrition because of the World’s increase in demand for food when we have a fixed supply of land to irrigate. But how can they say we have a fixed supply of land when every year we are killing our land by overgrazing? “More than 50 percent of the agricultural cropland has been converted to nonagricultural purposes” (Tientenberg, pg. 231). For the past several years we have seen the population growth slowdown, meaning the increase in demand for food isn’t as drastic as it used to be. The problem is the availability of land usable for irrigation has declined. This means we are seeing more people every day suffering from lack of the essential nutrition and proteins but this obviously isn’t spread evenly throughout the world. Places like the United States, Australia, and countries throughout Europe have an excess of the proper resources to keep from land becoming degraded. On the other hand, places like Africa and the Middle East fight every day just for the basic essentials. In Africa, they experience the loss of vegetation due to a .7% annual deforestation rate. Africa’s deforestation rate more than doubles the global rate at which it currently sits. This and the amount at which they extract their water resource for crops is an equation for starvation and death; an equation they know all too well.
Though desertification hits the people involved in the area the hardest, it also has a huge impact on the economy on a local and national level. As I’ve discussed before, people in these areas don’t have the food security due to the unpredictable agriculture. Because of this lack of security, people in these areas create survival strategies to attend to only the most urgent requirements. The problem with this is that when people in these areas go into survival mode, it most of the time leads to a breakdown in unity among the community. People are only worrying about themselves and what they need meaning the increase in the extraction of accessible resources in the area; if they don’t get it now, someone else will. This and the increase in droughts and political crisis calls for a complete hold up of development in the area. The problem with these consequences is that it weakens the economies of the developing countries. This is especially true for countries that have no other resource other than their agriculture. When people can’t grow their crops, they can’t sell those crops. This leads to them not being able to...

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