The Sahara is the largest hot desert on the planet.
Figure 1: The Sahara (NASA public domain image)
For much of its history, the Saraha was much wetter than it is now. Around 1600 BCE, shifts in the Earth’s axis increased temperatures and decreased rainfall. This article makes the interesting point that “a pale-green and discontinuously wet Sahara is the likelier context for human migrations out of Africa during the late Quaternary” from our ancient home in the Rift Valley. Some claim that the Sahara once had many lakes. We now know that Lake Chad was much bigger than it was. This NASA site reveals the massive Lake Mega Chad. At over 400,000 square kilometers it dwarfed today’s Lake Chad.
Figure 2: Lake Mega Chad (NASA Earth Observatory website)
Desertification accelerated in the 20th century from human impacts. There were a series of droughts in the second half of that century exacerbated by human activity. And droughts commonly lead to conflict and war.
Ethiopia is to the south of the Sahara but it is encouraging to see how regeneration of marginal lands is working in sub-saharan regions.
This 2014 video reveals how nationally-sponsored and locally-led initiatives have improved 15 million acres, benefitting 30 million people through increased food security and better incomes. A theme emerges here in that it is important to include people in regeneration work that will benefit them.
Here is a 2019 update.
In both videos the quality of life has improved for the people of Ethiopia. The challenge for those of us conditioned to industrial agriculture is to create the social cohesion necessary for action.
The Great Green Wall
This video presents the context for the Great Green Wall. Note that the video also introduces Allan Savory’s regeneration methods. The narrator extols the benefits of regeneration in terms of carbon sequestration. The cooling effect will have a far greater impact.
Here is the human face of the Great Green Wall.
People on the northern side of the Sahara are also working to stop desertification.