This year, ecologists in Senegal began an ambitious new project. They are planning to plant a 9-mile wide band of trees that spans the whole width of Africa. They can’t do it alone, of course. With support from the African Union, it will carry on past Senegal’s borders into Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso and on across the continent. The forest will be 4,000 miles long, will cross 11 countries and end in Djibouti on the East coast. Dubbed ‘the Great Green Wall’, it has one purpose; to stop the southwards march of the Sahara desert. 
I don’t know enough about forestry to know if it will work or not, even if it is ever completed. The Sahara is advancing at 30 miles per year, so I don’t know if it will happen fast enough, but if it succeeds, it may turn out to be one of the iconic projects of the climate change age. It is a symbol of cooperation in the face of creeping ecological disaster, and of hope that the Sahara’s advance can be halted. For me, it has a spiritual echo too.
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