Jan 6 2011
Lost in the constant news about bloody wars, civil strife, and unspeakable atrocities against civilians by rebel groups and soldiers, is the fact that Africa is facing an environmental disaster.
Some of the main issues are deforestation, air and water pollution, loss of soil and soil fertility, and a dramatic decline in biodiversity throughout the region.
Much of the pressure is coming from Africa’s population growth. Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the world’s fastest growing populations (approximately 2.2% a year). Experts estimate that by 2025 the population of Africa will be over a billion.
The growing population is straining natural resources.
For example, wood burning accounts for up to 70% of all energy used, and during the 1980s alone Africa lost nearly 11% of its forests.
Increased food demands mean increased agriculture, much of it unsustainable in nature and turning land into arid wasteland.
Africa’s wildlife still faces danger from increased loss of habitat and black-market poaching. The picture shown is from NASA, showing how different Africa and Europe appear at night from space.
Africa still has huge areas to develop, but if care is not taken these areas may be destroyed.
- How can Africa grow more food? (guardian.co.uk)
- The fight to stem Africa’s rural exodus (cnn.com)
- Sure, Africa’s green – but also powerless (one.org)