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OP-ED Expanding Deserts, Falling Water Tables and Toxins Driving People from Homes

August 23, 2011 1 comment

ipsnews.net

Saharan dust blowing off west coast of Africa, over the Canary Islands, Nov. 11, 2006. Image credit:NASA

WASHINGTON, Aug 23, 2011 (IPS) – People do not normally leave their homes, their families, and their communities unless they have no other option. Yet as environmental stresses mount, we can expect to see a growing number of environmental refugees. Rising seas and increasingly devastating storms grab headlines, but expanding deserts, falling water tables, and toxic waste and radiation are also forcing people from their homes.

Advancing deserts are now on the move almost everywhere. The Sahara desert, for example, is expanding in every direction. As it advances northward, it is squeezing the populations of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria against the Mediterranean coast.

The Sahelian region of Africa – the vast swath of savannah that separates the southern Sahara desert from the tropical rainforests of central Africa – is shrinking as the desert moves southward. As the desert invades Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, from the north, farmers and herders are forced Read more…