Since 2018, new records have been set in terms of droughts, hottest months and driest years in centuries. The drought, heat and pests have been affecting the forests more and more since 2019 and unfortunately there is no improvement in sight in 2020 either. In Germany there was the most severe forest damage in over 200 years. Fires and storms have greater effects, because of the large amount of damaged wood and the tree damage, there are more problems with pests and fungal attack. Fine dust and environmental toxins from agriculture give many plants and animals the rest, especially insects such as bees suffer from environmental destruction. Air pollution, insecticides and pesticides are not only a danger for bees, they also endanger many other species, especially in areas of agriculture and livestock farms. Many of the typical trees and forests in forestry are monocultures and conifers such as douglas firs, spruces, pines, larches and firs – unfortunately they do not offer much nectar. Almost 80 percent of the conifers were felled because of damage. At just under 70 percent, the proportion of damaged wood in 2019 was more than three times as high as in 2010. As already described in the article on the Leipzig Oak Park of Diversity project, even strong tree species such as oaks are affected. Whether from pests, powdery mildew or drought stress, the plants suffer very badly from drought. Like many deciduous trees, oaks are deep-rooted, which draw water from the lower soil layers. What they don’t need themselves, they release closer to the surface. This makes oak a good soil regulator, for example through its pronounced symbioses with microorganisms and fungi. Oaks and other robust trees suffer from climate change, as do many people and animals. Damage to trees and forests is not only caused by fire, drought and heat waves, but also by fungus, pests, snow breaks, storms, floods and environmental toxins – as well as air and water pollution.
There are around four billion hectares of forest on earth. There are around 60,000 tree species worldwide and over 10,000 of them are threatened with extinction. According to an assessment by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), more than half of European tree species are endangered. Of the approximately 450 tree species, 265 do not occur on any other continent. More than 150 species are threatened, 66 species are at the highest level of endangerment and therefore close to extinction. In total, more than 28,000 animal and plant species are listed as endangered worldwide. These are data and statistics from recent years and some of the figures are already out of date, especially after the massive droughts and forest fires. It can be assumed that many more species are now threatened and in some regions even extinct.
According to climate research, long-term studies and weather experts, extreme drought is becoming normal in Europe in summer. In spring there is also a lack of water for healthy plant growth in many places around the world. The soils and forests can hold less water because the important reservoirs are not only dried out but damaged, i.e. the storage capacity is reduced and in some cases reduced for years. If middle and deeper soil layers harden, humus layers decay to dust or are destroyed, even a lot of rain does not help at first. It then takes years of moderate rain and much plant growth until these soil layers are loosened and watered again. Trees, hedges and other plants that can form complex, strong and deep roots need a few years to loosen middle and deep soil layers. Many plants lose branches, leaves and fruit during a drought or extreme drought. The proportion of trees with significant crown thinning increased to about 35 percent in 2019. If the trees and plants are generally weakened, they are more susceptible to parasites and other pests such as bark beetles, jewel beetles and processionary moth. In most cases, the damaged wood cannot remain in the forest. Much of this wood is not suitable for wood processing or high-quality products for the construction and furniture industries. Often the only option left is to process it into inferior wood products such as chipboard or wood pellets. A lot of damaged wood has been coming onto the market since 2018 and the price of wood has collapsed dramatically, the forecasts for 2021 and 2022 do not look any better. There is currently so much wood per year that would normally be enough for three years or more. The forest and wood industries are recording massive losses, and even cheap oak is already being sold as firewood. Forest companies and forest owners will have to work for a long time to compensate and repair the damage of recent years.
Future challenges, conflicts, wars and crises because of the worldwide water availability and water supply
The water reserves in the soil are becoming increasingly scarce, the soils are becoming drier overall. It has been relatively dry in Germany since 2015. The past two years exceeded the previous record drought of 1976. At that time it was exceptionally dry for five years and some tree species were replaced or supplemented by drought-resistant species such as hornbeam, service tree and field maple. But the adaptation of forests to the crisis and forest restructuring makes no sense if the groundwater will levels sink, lakes, rivers and water reservoirs partially dry up. Dry periods in winter are also a big problem, because when there is no snow there is much less water due to the melting of snow. The problem has been known for a long time, for example the lack of water supply due to the disappearance of glaciers and large areas of snow or ice. When mountains and oceans absorb more sun, the planet heats up even faster, especially at the North Pole. Fires and very hot times in northern areas of Russia also accelerate the thawing of the permafrost soil. Similar to the largest share of the greenhouse gas methane from agriculture or livestock farming, methane is released by the decomposition of the thawed biomass. As this happens in a very short time, the atmosphere, biosphere and weather systems cannot simply compensate for this, resulting in extreme climate changes and an increase in extreme weather conditions. For some years now, climate researchers have been able to prove the connection between extreme drought and severe flooding. In the meantime, there have been several fires, droughts and floods of the century, not only in Germany and Europe – but unfortunately also in Africa, America, Asia and India.
According to various surveys, around 80 percent are very concerned about the persistent drought. In France, Poland, the Czech Republic and other European countries, the spring was marked by low rainfall this year. French forests are very much endangered by the drought years and the hot summer of 2019. It was one of the deadliest heat waves in all of Europe, killing thousands of humans. The harmful effects of the droughts can be clearly seen on satellite images, many brown and gray fields in Europe and many large cities such as Berlin are affected. It affects especially regions in the north and east, in principle all federal states are affected. The cities in particular need more greenery, as they can heat up much more as the surrounding area. What you see more and more often are dry meadows, trees and bushes. The parks and water areas are therefore just as important as the greening of roofs and facades. The soil moisture, the total groundwater level and the groundwater levels in different regions of Germany are too low, at least in relation to normal amounts of precipitation and water levels. In April 2020, there was far too little rainfall in almost all federal states; the states of Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony and Thuringia were particularly affected. The soil moisture in the topsoil and total soil is simply too little for many plants. Due to the lack of water available to plants, drought stress or water stress quickly occurs. The photosynthesis of the plants and the growth decrease. If the usable soil water continues to fall, plant water stress occurs and the plants begin to dry up.
The drought monitor of the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research showed that the total soil in large parts of Germany was characterized by extreme to extraordinary drought in April and midsummer 2020. Similar to the drought monitor from the Environmental Research Center in Leipzig, there is also a research project in Switzerland called Drought CH or Trockenheit.ch, where information on the current situation is shown. The colleagues also summarize a lot of interesting data from the last few years. Such information is becoming more and more important, especially if conflicts over water resources increase in the future, whether in the energy industry for cooling or in agriculture for agricultural irrigation. It affects many European countries. If the water reserves become increasingly scarce, conflicts of use over water resources can be intensified considerably. The use of water, water resources and water management must become more economical or more sustainable so that there is not another water crisis in the next few years. Using ponds, water towers and underground water reservoirs to collect rainwater makes more and more sense, especially when you consider that around 80 percent of all irrigation throughout Germany is done with groundwater. An increasing demand for water from agriculture contrasts with other usage interests and problems, such as the public supply of drinking water, over 70 percent of which is obtained from groundwater. In addition, forests consume a lot of groundwater in dry times, this can affect rivers and other waters. The drought year 2018 and 2019 severely dried out many soils and water reservoirs, to compensate this it takes many years of rain above the usual annual average. Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony are the federal states with the lowest rainfall. Specific figures can be found on the relevant weather portals and statistics pages.
Forest dieback, desertification and expanding deserts in Europe
Due to the third year of drought in a row, there will also be considerable problems for the plant world in winter and spring 2020, as many soils and plants will not be able to recover so easily under these extreme conditions. The garden, park and forest maintenance is therefore more important than ever this year, every citizen should lend a hand in his spare time, even if it are just a few buckets of water for the tree in front of the door or some irrigation for bushes, hedges or trees at the streets. Unfortunately, awareness of sustainable use and the problem of water waste is still not taken seriously. The production of one kilo of beef requires around 15,000 liters of water, pork almost 6,000 and chicken 4,300 liters. The average water footprint in Germany is 3,900 liters per person per day. This figure includes the amount of water that is used for the production of consumed food and goods in one’s own country, but also the water that is needed, for example, for the manufacture of clothing or electrical appliances abroad. This also applies to ‘more ecological’ electric cars, which unfortunately are still made with a lot of coal, plastic and oil. The coal electricity for car production and rail traffic alone is astronomical.
2019 was the hottest year in the history of Europe, according to scientific findings, with the drought year 2018 and the drought summer 2020, it is now the worst drought in a row for 250 years. The droughts and heat waves of recent years clearly show that the climate crisis is having a significant impact on our lives, the environment, consumption and our economy. An adaptation of the plants to the more extreme climate occurs naturally, but should be supported and improved by sustainable strategies of climate change adaptation. This should not only apply to crops or to livestock, but also especially to endangered species. The selfish nature, way of life and work in certain areas of society and industry, such as fossil energy, monotonous agriculture and forestry, is harming the environment. Selfishness, ignorance and little will to change in the direction of sustainability, nature and environmental protection have produced a destructive chemical industry, energy industry, aviation, shipping, heavy industry, monoculture agriculture and monotonous forestry.
The biodiversity, soil and water quality have suffered extremely, valuable landscapes and habitats have been destroyed or have been lost due to rigorous greed for profit and environmental degradation. If things continue like this, even regardless of the climate crisis, there will soon be no more fertile land, only dust and desert. Greening Deserts Climate analyses and long-term studies, in coordination with international climate researchers and climate models, have repeatedly confirmed an increase in extreme weather conditions – even before the drought years or floods of the century, as in Europe and India in 2018 and 2019. There have been several warnings that extreme droughts and floods will become more frequent in Europe, initially in southern Europe and, with further drought years, also in central Europe. This has now even been confirmed in a study by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig. Now all we need are realistic solutions and feasibility studies to counteract these extremely rapid changes. A wind of change is blowing.
Usually the jet stream with the high and low pressure areas moves from west to east and brings Central Europe a mix of sun, clouds and rain. However, with the accelerated climate change, the high pressure areas tend to persist for weeks over some European regions in summer. As a result, there are long heat waves and droughts, in the low-pressure areas there are more frequent heavy rain and floods. Various temperature and heat records have been set over the years, in 2020 there were many cold summer nights and very large temperature fluctuations. Due to the many dry and windy days, the drought has increased overall. The logging caused by wind and storm damage amounted to 18.5 million cubic meters in 2018. That is four times as much compared to the previous year. There are many forest fires because the soil and top layers with branches, leaves or needles are very dry. The risk of fire is also very high for agriculture, especially when dry fields catch fire, for example from careless drivers and smokers or from broken glass. A field fire, forest fire or forest fire is no fun because it can spread to settlements.
In many German cities there is a state of emergency, as the asphalt and concrete deserts often heat up more than the surrounding areas can quickly reach heat records of over 40 degrees. Many people, animals and plants die. In the Frankfurt metropolitan area, thousands of dead trees will probably have to be felled due to the weeks of drought and heat in the midsummer 2020. Particularly in the driest areas of Germany, many villages and towns are affected by the tree death. Due to the drought stress and plant water stress that has damaged and weakened the plants over the years, a relatively short heat phase is enough to give the plants the rest, then often watering them does not help. On the contrary, too much water at once can even damage the plants, for example if the plant cannot absorb much water due to a large part of dried up leaves, there is then a risk of accelerated root rot at the high temperatures, which can occur more often with tap water and dried out roots. If many of the deeper soil layers have completely dried out, the water cannot drain off properly, and waterlogging then forms in some places. Gardeners and plant experts know the problem. So if possible use rainwater and then not too much at once, preferably over a large area and spread over a few evenings. If the soil is not too hard, you can put drainage in some places with a pointed stick. If the soil is slightly damp overall, the rainwater can then penetrate better into deeper layers and root areas.
Climate change knows no borders, large parts of Europe are affected by drought and water scarcity. We need an adaptation and improvement of the water management or regulation as soon as possible in order to secure the public drinking water and industrial water supply in the long term. The fear of the consequences of a third year of drought is great, especially if the water table drops, entire rivers and lakes dry up. The drought threatens historical gardens and even well-known parks, the drought also has an indirect effect on all plant growth in the area. Only if the spread of healthy and relatively wild nature is promoted by favorable conditions nature as a whole can recover and regenerate. In the case of monoculture agriculture and monotonous forestry, this is difficult, but not impossible. Some consequences can only be felt years later, as environmental and weather systems sometimes react very slowly. It is similar to the nitrate or slurry problem, where in some extreme cases the groundwater wil be polluted over the years.
Really serious consequences for agriculture are still to come, probably in the years 2025 to 2030. From 2013 to 2015 there have been massive changes in global weather systems and cycles. Many of these changes also occur gradually and over long periods of time, so they cannot be seen as clearly as the consequences of a drought summer. So that you can really change something sustainably and positively, you should think in time windows of over 10 years or even decades. It is frightening to see even natural mixed forests which are suffering from climate change. The drought years even have a strong impact on humid areas, as the groundwater level often falls due to the long dry periods. Wetlands and bogs can dry out, which increases the likelihood of bog and forest fires. In addition, there are the problems of peat extraction and the drainage of landscapes for agriculture. The diverse forest conversion and the expansion of wetlands such as floodplains and moors must finally be given priority. Many nature reserves, national parks, natural regions and near-natural landscape protection areas should be expanded and connected, if possible for example with flower strips and wild meadows. Protected areas in nature and landscape protection should also be expanded and include urban regions and larger city parks or city forests. Special wilderness biotopes for a relatively free development of really ’natural nature’ should be made possible in the protected areas. Because nature is not the same as nature, at least according to the understanding of society and people.
Soil quality and healthier soils through more ecological forestry and sustainable agriculture, as well as better water management, are important to mitigate the negative consequences and effects of climate change. The already often mentioned building up of humus, cultivation of deep-rooting plants, soil improvement and green manure plants can contribute significantly to soil formation and improvement of the overall soil. Protective layers with ground cover and wildflower meadows can protect the soil in particularly hot and dry times. The principle applies, just let it grow and support nature in the development of biodiversity with natural seeds. Naturally with suitable species depending on the region and vegetation zone, i.e. suitable plants of / for mountainous areas, wetlands, grasslands, meadows and forests. To do this, one should think more about aquatic plants and then use them to improve water bodies. Because a large part of the rivers and lakes in Germany is in a precarious state, at least when it comes to the ecological aspect, neighboring agriculture, shipping and biodiversity. Without ecosystem services, human life on earth would not be possible. Worldwide, around 60% of the ecosystem services examined by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment are in a critical state; they are at great risk from environmental pollution and environmental damage.
We all have to help make whole landscapes more diverse and resistant to climate extremes, including urban regions and cities – for this purpose, among other things, the Urban Greening Camp project started. More urban greening, solar and water surfaces as well as lighter surfaces can cool down urban areas, so-called for near-natural recreation areas and biological diversity. Agriculture based on solidarity and community gardens are also good solutions that can bring more biodiversity and community profits.
Here are a few more suggestions for improvement.
Professional advice and recommendation to good addresses and contacts in the above areas for corresponding consideration is possible, for this you can simply contact the author of this article by email.
Greening Deserts analyses and research projects have been dealing with climate change and extreme weather conditions such as exceptional heat, drought and floods since 2016. Despite all the optimism, the prognosis for the coming years does not look rosy. It takes a lot of effort, motivation and support to be able to work and live normally throughout the crisis. Cohesion is more important than ever in these times, egoism and ignorance only make things worse. We need more solidarity and courage, whether through useful information, the exchange of experiences or other meaningful actions. Simply going out into the streets unfortunately does not bring as much as taking part in constructive actions and actively participating in constructive actions for species protection, climate protection, nature conservation and environmental protection. For example planting trees, watering urban trees and plants, sowing wildflowers and caring for parks and meadows. Leaving this to others like the green space authorities or city cleaning is not a solution. In some countries or regions the corona crisis can result in massive financial problems and financial crises. There will be a lack of funds and resources for many of important environmental tasks or work in future. We all need to hold together in relation to the health of us all and the environment. Healthy ecosystems are the basis for a healthy life.
The global economic crisis and COVID-19 recession (Great Lockdown) will occupy society and the economy for many years to come. In principle there are several crises, e.g. the education crisis, health crisis, cultural crisis and social crisis. Greening Deserts articles also deal with these topics, especially in relation to the effects, consequences and causes of climate change. Many potential solutions are offered, but most of them can only be solved together – some of the suggestions have already been implemented personally or privately. I hope that many will follow. Good additions, ideas and suggestions for improvement are of course always welcome. @ feedback.greeningdeserts.com. Your friend of nature, Oliver Gediminas Caplikas. The next article deals with climate change adaptation and urban greening on many levels, for example with vertical farming. Heat-resistant and drought-tolerant plant species as well as special climate change woody plants will play an important role. Some of the plants are even drought-resistant or have a high ‘drought resistance’.
Climate protection, nature conservation and environmental protection is also species protection. These topics are important not only for the International Climate Week and international world days such as Arbor Day, World Tree Day or World Forest Day. In these times humanity has to deal with important climate problems in relation to the economy, ecology, environmental protection, nature conservation and sustainability almost every day, week, month and year. Like the corona crisis, the climate crisis knows no borders. It concerns us all. Global environmental awareness, sustainable living, more sustainable work and production can improve the climate and reduce human-made climate change effects, such as man-made deforestation, desertification and global warming. We can cool planet earth with more green landscapes, urban greening and diverse forests worldwide. Grasslands and wetlands play a special role in this.
Show that you can live and work really sustainably by saving energy, food, water and other natural resources. Reduce waste and pollution, especially plastic waste. Use alternative packaging and ecological products like bamboo or hemp products like Hemp Papers or Rice Straw Papers. Reduce deforestation, desertification and land degradation by using alternative heating and ecological building materials instead of wood. Do more for green places in your city, try to establish more community gardens, city parks, city forests, urban farming areas, fascade and rooftop gardens. The future of sustainable agriculture is ecofarming, aquaponics, hydroponics, permaculture, organic and vertical farming – even in urban areas. With urban greening on a large scale urban areas can help to cool down planet earth. Cleantech, greentech, green building, sustainable living, sustainable working and sustainable architecture is the future of sustainable building, sustainable production and sustainable cities. With large-scale urban greening, urban areas can help cool down planet earth. We all can learn a lot of desert cultures and desert cities, bedouins and indigenous people in arid landscapes or drylands. Many towns and regions around the Mediterranean Sea are also good examples, doing things like choosing light colors for their houses and roofs – but still missing more green roofs and rooftop solar on the buildings. Fascade greening and fascade solar could be a good addition to urban development in future. We need to be fast because of the desertification and rising droughts in Europe. The deserts and drylands of Africa are moving toward South Europe!
House boats or ships, mobile housing and underwater buildings can expand architecture and environmentally friendly habitats. Bamboo, hemp wood, rice straw building materials and fuels could reduce deforestation significantly. These methods would accelerate the process towards more climate neutral houses and urban areas. And again, the future of real sustainable cities, energy and traffic transition is AI and Cleantech, Energy Efficiency and Green Building, Greentech and Sustainable Architecture, Sustainable Living and Urban Greening, Sustainable Production and Sustainable Consumption, Sustainable Transport and Sustainable Working, Transparent Solar concepts and designs. Sustainable Agriculture, Ecological Forestry and Organic Farming in relation to community gardening, aquaponics, hydroponics, worldwide greening and permaculture projects can support the changes or transitions. Not to forget Sustainable Aviation, Sustainable Shipping and Sustainable Tourism. Think about new markets like a Plastic Fishing Market and Recycling Ships for example.
A good formula for real sustainable living and sustainable working is: Repair, Reuse, Recycle, Replace and Upcycle. – especially plastic. #RRRRU
Greening Deserts sustainable projects and initiatives such as Greening Camps and the Trillion Trees Initiative focuses on climate protection, education, research, the environment and species protection. We not only want to reforest or regreen the man-made deserts, arid areas and wasteland in Europe and Africa, we want also to create international platforms for sustainable economy, education, culture and science. The greening camps will also be climate camps and research camps for innovative cleantech and greentech developments. The camps will involve every region and culture in the greening and development process. The camps will also be a platform for the respective regions, with training and education in the foreground. There will be additional spaces or rooms for a library, lounge, workshop and a media room. This can enable many community activities and different types of events to be carried out, also online and virtually. International institutions, organizations, partners, projects, investors and sponsors are cordially invited to join our community network and projects!
There is a wide range of information about these topics, including innovative developments and real sustainable solutions to solve climate crisis, food, energy and water problems with global impact. Most of the solutions were confirmed by science and feasibility studies or similar concepts. International institutions and organizations were informed many times about Greening Deserts concepts, project developments and connected projects. @Agrophotovoltaik, Desert Bamboo Africa, Greening Coasts, Greening Drones, Greenhouse Ship, Green Ring Africa, Great Green Wall North Africa, Seeding Balloon, Transparent Solar,…
We not only need more actions, initiatives and innovations in the field of climate protection, nature and environmental protection. We need more action and effective solutions in relation to sustainable living and sustainable working in all areas, from big to small! Because the main problem and the main cause of the pollution are not only the car, coal and heavy industry, as well as agriculture, but it is every single one who causes and pushs the global warming and other negative climate changes by its consumption. This over-consumption and overproduction especially in areas of unhealthy monoculture food, IT technology, X-cars, smartphones and other pointless products are not just excessive waste but a meaningless destruction of resources and lives. Why should every year billions of animals and other life forms (animals and plants) die for humans if they can not even consume so many products. In some countries more than the half is thrown away, much products outdate or spoil because it is not effectively distributed or shared. Hundreds of millions of children go hungry every day and at the same time so many destroy and waste foods. In terms of food for example, one should improve preservation, logistics and distribution systems, use sustainable transport, drying and refrigeration systems more effectively worldwide instead of continuing to produce more – clearly, the solution is generally fairer distribution or sharing. If you extrapolate everything, the world produces food for over 10 billion people, countless mobile phones and notebooks for every single person.
Why do humans need so many products – more than they can even consume? Most of it becomes garbage. Metals, plastics and toxins get into the environment and sometimes even into our food. Recycling uses a lot of energy and resources. We need radical changes through more sustainable, cleaner and more sensible procurement, energy use, supply chains and production; we need intelligent, on-demand systems everywhere, so that products worldwide will be produced only as needed. In some cases, of course, essential products must be stored or produced for stock, like basic food or products like rice, for example. There should be reserves and storage for emergency cases, fast–rising demands or other critical things. But we and the world really don’t need hundreds of the same products that will become junk or scrap. Producers worldwide need to improve their operations in these areas, establishing Cleantech, Greentech, Sustainability, AI and On-Demand Systems. Large companies, as well as corporations, should simply produce less and only based on real demand by real consumers. At the very least, products which are constantly not consumed or thrown away – many meats such as chicken, pork and beef – should not be overproduced. They produce not only manure and methane which produce particulate matter, but they or the production wastes water and pollutes the groundwater and the environment in the long term.
We finally need a rethink in forestry and agriculture in terms of a more sustainable economy like Agroforestry, EcoFarming, EcoForestry, Mixed Culture and Permaculture. According to the latest findings and long-term studies, agriculture is responsible for most of the air pollution (approximately 40 percent) and the resulting water pollution! Years of deforestation had dried out whole landscapes and caused massive loss of wetlands, bogs and marshlands which can convert toxins and store up to fifty times as much CO2 as rainforests. Additionally, liquid manure and methane are a massive problem because the gases in the atmosphere create new fine dust, contaminating the groundwater for many years to come. In the coming Greening Camps, not only should these areas be researched, but also research the fields of green and clean technologies. The focus is on aquaponics, hydroponics, greenhouse, biowaste and water management, as well as new urban farming innovations.
Droughts in Germany and Europe: Drought threatens soils, agriculture and forests
It has been relatively dry in Germany since 2015, and the drought and heat waves in 2018 have seriously affected the environment. The soils of the forest are partly drier than the soils of grassland or greenland. The soil has dried out, even down to the deep layers. The groundwater very often sinks below critical levels, which significantly effects forests and bodies of water such as rivers and lakes. The water reserves are becoming increasingly scarce. Conflicts of use because of water scarcity can be exacerbated considerably. Water use and water management must become more economical and more sustainable so that there won’t be a real water crisis in the years to come. Using ponds, water towers and underground water reservoirs to collect rainwater makes more and more sense. This can be done with foils, trenches, solar pumps and agrophotovoltaic surfaces. Intelligent drip irrigation also saves a lot of water, because in dry times an incredible amount of water is wasted through irrigation or evaporation.
The fear of the consequences of another year of drought after 2019 is great, especially when drinking water becomes scarce and entire rivers or lakes dry out. After the exceptionally dry April and July, the probability of another year of drought becomes greater, but this cannot be definitively said until the end of 2020. Persistent drought threatens biodiversity, botanical gardens and well-known parks, even if many plants are watered; the aridity of the surrounding area has an indirect effect on all plant growth. An unhealthy environment in the neighborhood also affects healthy areas in the region; only if the spread of healthy nature is promoted by favorable conditions, can nature as a whole recover and regenerate. This is difficult, however, with monocultures, polluting agriculture and monotonous forestry. It is possible to change into a more sustainable agriculture and ecological forestry, still this year.
Since environmental and weather systems sometimes react very slowly, some consequences can only be felt years later, similar to the nitrate or slurry problem, where in some extreme cases the groundwater is still polluted years later. Many of the slow and creeping processes will have really serious consequences for agriculture. We will all have to live with the short-term and long-term effects of the climate crisis. Like nature, we can adapt to a certain extent, but active reduction of the problems and causes are of critical importance. Air quality is particularly important, because this also affects bodies of water and groundwater. According to the latest scientific research, air pollution from agriculture is even higher than pollution from traffic and the coal industry combined. This is not only due to the fine dust from dry fields, slurry spreading, keeping four, etc.; a big problem is the ammonia, which creates new fine dust in higher atmospheric layers. In the end, everything ends up in the water affectingthe water cycle and water quality.
Soil quality and healthier soils through more complex or versatile forestry and more ecological agriculture, as well as better water management, are important to mitigate the consequences of climate change. The use of humus generating plants, deep roots, soil improvement and green manure plants can significantly contribute to soil formation and improvement of the overall soil. Some plants even have the potential to save the climate. Industrial hemp, for example, and hemp plants promote biodiversity and improve the moisture content; the leaves and plant roots can also form humus. The pronounced roots loosen the soil. The hemp fibers of the stems can be used for hemp paper, hemp cardboard and other packaging. Undemanding types of hemp are suitable for this, as they can cope well with drought and do not have to be fertilized.
Protective layers with ground cover and wildflower meadows can protect the soil in particularly hot and dry times. The principle applies, just let it grow and support nature in the development of biodiversity with natural seeds. Work naturally with suitable species depending on the region and vegetation zone, i.e. suitable plants for mountainous areas, wetlands, grasslands, meadows and forests. To do this, one should think more about aquatic plants which can be used to improve water bodies. A large part of the rivers and lakes in Germany are in a precarious state, at least when it comes to the ecological aspect, neighboring agriculture, shipping and loss of biodiversity. This is also a problem of other European states. The economy and politics really need to care about the ongoing desertification and rising droughts in Europe. The deserts and drylands of Africa moving towards South Europe! The southern regions need fast climate adaption models and resilience plans to prevent worst case scenarious. Droughts, floods and rising fires are just the tip of the iceberg.
We all have to help make whole landscapes more diverse and more resistant to climate extremes, including urban regions and cities. For this purpose, among other things, the Urban Greening Camp project started. Solidarity agriculture and community gardens are also a good solution which can bring more biodiversity and community profits. Show courage, solidarity and support for a healthy nature and more sustainable life on planet Earth. Show that you can really live and work sustainably by using energy or electricity, water and natural resources sparingly. Avoid overconsumption and pollution, especially plastic and air pollution from cars, planes and ships. Avoid environmental pollution of any kind, especially through the use of fossil fuels and polluting fuels such as coal. Reduce plastic waste and uses alternative materials such as bamboo, hemp and rice straw paper. Remember your human connection to the planet, and work for a better and fairer climate.
Clean air, fresh water and a healthy environment are human rights. Climate protection, nature protection and environmental protection are also plant protection, animal protection and human protection or species protection, in general! We should all be more aware about climate justice and environmental justice; especially in future when a huge part of humanity will be affected by the climate crisis, extreme weather and rising sea levels.
Greening Deserts sustainable projects and initiatives such as Greening Camps and the Trillion Trees Initiative have been working on sustainable projects for society, a healthier nature and a more diverse environment for years. The projects mainly serve the protection of species and environmental protection. We want to reforest or regreen man-made deserts, arid regions and wastelands in Europe and Africa, as well as create international platforms for more sustainable research, economy, education, culture and science. The greening camps will also be climate and research camps for innovative cleantech and greentech developments. The camps can include almost any region and culture in the greening and development process. Larger camps will have an energy storage park and maybe even expanded to a cleantech and greentech campus or science park.