• Agents of Change

    • ‘New Oasis’ is cultivating small utopias in the Saharan desert, embodying what some consider is “humankind’s best opportunity to survive.”

    Vegetable gardens in the Sahara desert and other oases / 

    Although it is hard to imagine, from the year 9000 B.C. and the year 4000 B.C., Northern Africa and the Saharan were covered in savannahs and forests, watered by abundant rains. However, by the year 3500 B.C., the weather changed and was quickened by the overexploitation of the land. With the passing of time, one of the richest life supports on Earth was transformed into one of the largest and most arid deserts on the planet: the Saharan desert.

    Nowadays, intensive industrial agriculture and the overexploitation of the land have degraded over two billion acres of the world’s crop land. Additionally, climate change is contributing and speeding up global desertification. These factors have inspired several initiatives that want to restore the Sahara’s “greenness”. One of the most promising projects is “New Oasis”.

    An idea that originally burgeoned in Brazil during the Eighties, from the collaboration between Pro-Natura and JTS Concept, it works towards spreading “Super Vegetable Gardens” that will grow throughout the year in the Saharan desert: one “new oasis” in the Sahara at a time.

    This international effort, which only requires two hours of work a day, involves ancient Amazonian agricultural techniques and modern research to fight the threatening desertification caused by climate change, industrial agriculture, and excessive pasture. These restoration projects in the Saharan areas in Algeria, Mauritania, Burkina, Faso, Chad and Senegal will employ biomass and biochar technologies based on Pre-Columbian Amazonian techniques.

    The outstanding implementation of this project is the use of biochar: a naturally occurring process that amends the soil by using carbon to double or triple the production of food by acre. The fertilisation of the soil using biochar is an ancient practice that has been employed in the Amazon for centuries. Many have referred to the project as the “humankind’s best opportunity for survival” or the “Third Green Revolution”. 

    Tagged: Agents of Change, deserts, Sahara desert, Sahara, ecology, nature, Reforesting Credits: Image (George Stein Metz)