“With our system, two people will be operating a small swarm of drones, and they will be able to plant 100,000 trees a day,” he said. “If you get 600 teams working around the world, we will be able to plant a billion trees a year — and that’s a scale that makes a difference.”
The Challenge: Tropical DeforestationTropical deforestation is a major contributor to climate change. This is because trees are made up of 50% carbon. When trees are cut down, that carbon is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary contributor to climate change. Through this process, deforestation releases more CO2 than the global contribution of all the world’s cars, planes and trains combined.The root cause of deforestation is people clearing land to grow food or earn an income, usually in the poorest parts of the world. Local poverty drives local deforestation and local deforestation drives global climate change.As a result, the solution to the problem is not as simple as planting new trees.
The demand for beef, pork and chicken raised on smaller farms closer to home is growing. Now, some Midwest farmers, like Johnson, are exploring how to graze livestock to meet those demands while still earning a profit.
Compared to cropland, grasslands “harbor significantly greater plant, microbial, and animal diversity, and generate higher levels of nearly all agriculturally vital ecosystem services, including pest suppression and pollination.” To break prairie, then, is to dismantle the very supply chain that underpins American agricultural abundance.
The USDA recently gave $225 million in federal funding to 88 environmental projects across the country, including a program in Oregon to help improve the soil health in Wallowa County, home to the Zumwalt Prairie, one of the last intact native grasslands of its kind in the United States.
“The Great Green Wall initiative is Africa’s flagship programme to combat the effects of climate change and desertification,” said Eduardo Mansur, Director of FAO’s Land and Water Division, while presenting the new map at the COP22 in Marrakech.
The footage of this video was taken last month at the end of the rainy season in the Chihuahuan Desert, the largest desert of North America. We are restoring the former grasslands that existed before while making this land productive using our cattle, thus giving hope to the people living there, to the wildlife, to the native grasses and plants, to the microorganisms.
California’s largest tribe is at the vanguard of a forward thinking program—designed to combat climate change—that is also helping them reclaim their past. The Yurok are making money by preserving large swaths of northern California’s forest, and reinvesting that income to conserve salmon habitat, reassemble their ancestral lands and preserve their culture.