By 2025, 1,8 billion people will experience water scarcity, and two thirds of the world will be living under water-stressed conditions.
“This is a scenario that should make us think long and hard about how we as the chemical industry deal with water and how we can assist in fighting ‘aridification’ (or the drying out of the earth) on 17 June, the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought,” says Deidré Penfold, Executive Director of the Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA).
If we don’t meet the aims of the Paris Climate Agreement, more than 25% of the earth will experience serious drought and turn into desert by the year 2050, according to a study published in the latest Nature Climate Change journal.
The Nature Climate Change study also predicts that the regions that will be most affected by an average temperature increase are those located in Central America, Southeast Asia, Southern Europe, Southern Africa and Southern Australia.
What is desertification?
Desertification occurs when previously fertile land becomes desert through deforestation, drought or improper agriculture. The areas at risk are often home to some of the most vulnerable people and eco-systems.
“We must stop using land as if it were a limitless resource, ignoring its role in our everyday lives. Not putting a halt to this threatens food and water supply, biodiversity and even human security itself.
“Short-sighted actions such as unplanned urban sprawl, unsustainable agriculture and over-consumption lead to unsustainable land use, which eventually causes degradation and loss of critical ecosystem services. As a result, consumption of our planet’s natural reserves has doubled in the last 30 years, with a third of the planet´s land already severely degraded,” says Penfold.
Let us rather turn land degradation into land restoration so we can realize the land´s full potential, she says.