The problem of deforestation (loss of trees => desert) is occurring worldwide at a rapid rate.
In developing countries, people cut down trees to sustain their own lives, but in the end are worse off than before, because nothing will grow in a desert.
When people remove the trees from an area, the area becomes dry, and seed dispersing animals dissappear.
The plants that are there already cannot live in a dry environment and die under the dry heat.
There are two inspiring stories I'd like to share, one that I learned about for the first time today, and the other I learned about several years ago.
I heard about the story of Toyama many years ago. He is an old Japanese man who is planting trees in the Gobi Desert of China and Mongolia. He has been doing it for 15 years, since he was 80. He is now 96, but is still trucking. You can read Toyamasan's story here.
The other story is of Jane Wynne, at Wynne Farm in Haiti. I first read the article on Haiti today on NPR. Haiti is suffering from severe environmental degradation. She is one of few people who is preventing it at her farm. She also educates Haitian children about how to prevent deforestation, and teaches them how to plant. Here is the Wynne Farm story.
Related to the issues that face rural areas, is the heat issue that faces cities. Cities are technically deserts, more or less. There is an ocean of rooftops reflecting the sun. Something called the "Heat Island Effect" affects cities where there are not enough trees. These cities are very hot. For a long time, I was really interested in becoming an architect, and designing "Green Roofs" to help with the environmental issues that face cities. You can read more about Green Roofs at my website, http://www.spaz.org/~sofia/greenroof.html
Recently my JHS students have been studying about Mother Theresa. She was like Wynne and Toyama. She focused her energy on helping, and was successful in saving the lives of many homeless children in Culcatta.
Today I realized that anyone can help with global problems if they try.
I also realized that most people don't want to step out of their little lives to help the world. They feel too busy, there are too many issues in their own lives.
But there are problems everywhere, even in our own towns, like homeless issues and orphaned children, and hot, dry asphalt in our cities. If I think about myself, I don't really do anything to help, I have dreams, but I don't act upon them. How to plan, donating time, and other issues get in the way...but really...
If everyone stepped out and acted like Lynne and Toyama, we would have a wonderful world.