Exeter, Devon UK • Jul 14, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Features Spotlight: Saving the Planet in Africa

Spotlight: Saving the Planet in Africa

In this Spotlight series, The Features editorial team have dug deep to keep you informed on outsider stories that were missed in mainstream news.
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Photo Credit: TreeAid

In this Spotlight series, The Features editorial team have dug deep to keep you informed on outsider stories that were missed in mainstream news.

Saving the planet in AfricaWilliam Harrop (Print Features Editor)

This summer, Europe was scorched by a record shattering heatwave as temperatures soared as high as 38.7C here in Britain. Whilst this all serves as a striking call for action on climate change, the news seems relatively bereft of encouraging news, beyond the UK government declaring a ‘climate emergency’. Elsewhere, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Africa’s efforts to combat the creeping threat of environmental degradation offer some of the world’s most inspiring signs that we can tackle climate change if we work together.

Ethiopia has made great strides towards restoring its lost forests.

Few countries in Africa display this better than Ethiopia which, in July of this year far surpassed the world record for the most trees planted in 12 hours by planting 353 million trees across the country. Whilst afforestation might not be the ‘solve all’ problem it is often believed to be, Ethiopia has made great strides towards restoring its lost forests. This isn’t a project in isolation either. Ethiopia is one of 20 African countries who signed the 2017 African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative, pledging to restore 100 million hectares of forestland. This is especially encouraging when considered alongside a recent UN report stating that restorating lost forests can help remove up to two-thirds of human-produced carbon.

Africa is also home to perhaps the most impressive environmental project ever conceived; the Great Green Wall. This scheme, initiated in 2007, is the brainchild of the African Union and involves planting an 8,000km long, 15km thick patchwork of productive green landscapes sprawling across 11 African countries from West to East Africa. Although only 15 per cent complete, the scheme’s aim of preventing the spread of the Sahara Desert is already showing signs of success. Green land along the wall sports more resilient soil, whilst also stimulating the local economy by providing jobs and food stability. Africa’s collaborative commitment to the environment is something the rest of the world, and Europe in particular, should seek to imitate. 

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