Security and Desertification

Security and Desertification

Posted on October 10 by John Bacher
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In an address to the American Congress as President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt stressed the connections between  world peace and  pushing back deserts.  He warned  how the looming disintegration of China and its related Boxer Rebellion  had stemmed from national collapse caused by deforestation and the subsequent rampant spread of deserts.

Roosevelt’s warning rings true  today as lands impacted by desertification stretching from India to Morocco have  becoming havens for terror, extremism and civil war. This reality is what makes it so bizarre that Prime Minister Stephen Harper on March 28, 2013 announced that Canada was revoking its membership in the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. The convention  before Canada’s pullout, had been ratified by every UN member state.

A Canadian diplomat who for several months was kidnapped by extremists in the Sahara, Robert Fowler, has termed Canada’s denunciation of the treaty has “climate-change denial.”  The revocation came one month before a conference in Bonn, Germany where the Harper government was expected to confront scientific analysis on the relationship between  desertification  and climate change.

Despite Harper’s description of the treaty as a “talkfest”countries that signed  are required to develop a Biodiversity Action Plan. One of the first to do so was African county of Djibouti. It has shown remarkable success in protecting its forests from the sands of the Sahara, and conserving its rare trees which thrive in arid conditions such as the African Olive and the Gabal Elba Dragon Tree.

What is most ominous and revealing of Harper’s blindness are the detailed similarities in Roosevelt’s description of desertification in China and the findings of current researchers. He found that many trees in China could only be found within the walls of cemeteries. The same situation exists in Africa today.

John Bacher

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014

John Bacher

John Bacher received his Ph.D. in History from McMaster University in 1985, and has taught at McMaster and the University of Toronto. A co-author of Get a Life: An Environmentalist's Guide to Better Living, Bacher is a passionate supporter of environmental preservation.