The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is a United Nations observance held annually on June 17. It is a call to attention to the prevalence of desertification and drought. It is also an opportunity to emphasize techniques of halting desertification and recovering from drought.
The campaign for 2020 incorporates the slogan, “Food. Feed. Fibre.” This theme aims to educate the world on how to lessen their impact on the environment.
Contrary to popular belief, desertification does not indicate the expansion of existing deserts. Desertification denotes the degradation of land resources in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas, the primary cause being human activities and climatic fluctuations. This is possible as a result of the extreme vulnerability of dry-land ecosystems to indiscriminate land use. Deforestation, overgrazing, and bad irrigation practices all destabilize the yield of the land.
As the world population grows, so does the demand for land. We need land for a host of reasons including to live on, to grow fibre for clothing, and sustenance for animals. This frenzied activity leads to fertile land becoming arid at an alarming rate, resulting in desertification and drought.
The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought day is held to create awareness on the complications of desertification, land degradation and drought, and how it can be addressed. It also serves the need to stress the importance of public involvement and collaboration at all levels.
The UN Convention to Combat Desertification suggests that changes in diet and a culture of responsibility can go a long way. Reducing food waste, and other environment-friendly habits, help us leave a smaller carbon footprint and free up land for other uses. According to the convention, “dietary change alone can free up between 80 and 240 million hectares of land”.
The world needs our help, the choices we make now will determine the future. Be conscious about your impact on the environment no matter how small.