Acacia tree

To combat the issues brought about by global warming, 11 African countries are now building what’s being called ‘The Great Green Wall’—a 4,300 mile long and 9 mile wide stretch of trees across the continent from Senegal to Djibouti, reports the Guardian.

Across Africa, many noticeable effects of global warming are being felt: the Sahel is drying out due to lack of rain and overgrazing, contributing to desertification, which now affects 40 percent of the continent; 1,000 miles from the Sahara, desert sand is visible in the air; the rainy season in Senegal that once began in July now appears in September; and threats of losing more than two-thirds of the continent’s arable land in the next decade to desertification is posing serious issues for the growing populations across Africa.

Scientists and environmentalists believe the Great Green Wall will bring more rainfall, ultimately replenishing Africa’s water table and help to block sand drift from the Sahara, keeping the desert from spreading any further. Already, two million trees are planted every year in Senegal, reports the Guardian, bringing shade, food for humans and animals, medicines and gardens: “For the project to succeed, it was crucial to plant trees that would also provide benefits for people living here. The government has ambitious plans for planting more trees but the Great Green Wall is also a development project, aimed at helping rural people.”

Lifting Africa out of poverty and helping the continent combat issues including loss of land to climate change and rampant hunger, organizations including The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the G8′s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, have been introducing controversial biotechnology and genetically modified crops to Africa. Countries including Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Mali, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Ghana have all begun trials and /or deregulation of GMOs.

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Image: NeilsPhotography