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Desertification

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Submitted by: Iris Yuan

In comparison to global warming, deforestation, and water pollution, desertification appears to be a minor issue. After all, “it’s just a desert,” but is it really?

Desertification is the process of slightly dry land losing its humidity, bodies of water, and plant and animal life. It is caused by many different factors, but most importantly, loss of vegetation. How would that be a minor issue?

Places that experiences desertification are likely to have famine occur. Drought and poor land management contribute to famine. Also, since the soil is dry, the amount of food produced will be reduced, and people who live on that type of land have less to eat and drink. Desertification can cause flooding, poor water quality, pollution, and dust storms. People can die from starvation, dehydration, and the hot, dry weather.

Desertification most often occurs when the soil becomes loose enough to be washed away, which leads to dry, lifeless land, also known as a desert. Vegetation holds together the soil, however, the growing lack of plant life is slowly but surely leading to the creation of more and more deserts.

Drylands make up 40% of Earth’s land area, and are home to over 2 billion people. With the threat of desertification, 1 billion people, half of the total population living on dry land, is at the risk of being exposed to desertification.

Desertification is just as bad as water pollution, deforestation, and global warming because it causes organisms to die and become extinct. It’s important to pay attention to the dangers that desertification brings to humans.

When faced with the issue of desertification, a common response is to cram more into a smaller piece of land. This aggressive farming hurts more than helps, leading to further land degradation, and with that, even more of a chance of desertification.

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