Living in China's Expanding Desert By Andrew lanni

Summary: The Tengger Desert, which is part of the much larger Gobi Desert, is located within range of major Chinese cities; one of them being Beijing. The issue at hand is that the Tengger has been expanding at an alarming rate, wiping out villages and causing the government to move the residents who used live in those areas. According to scientists, the rate of desertification in the Tengger Desert region has been accelerated due to climate change and human activities. However, the Chinese government has not been doing much to prevent increasing Desertification and has focused more on relocating it's citizens to "healthier" or more suitable areas. In addition, many families who live on the edge of the Tengger have been overgrazing the area which has contributed to the its expansion.

China's deserts spread at an annual rate of more than 1,300 square miles

It is estimated that 20% of the area in china is uninhabitable desert land, and the drought is only getting worse. In an area called the Alxa League, the Chinese government has relocated around 30,000 of its people. These refugees are known as "Ecological Migrants" due to the expanding desert destroying there homes or making the Alxa League uninhabitable.

Chinese farmers who are settled in the northern region ( on the border of the desert) have been encouraged by the government to continue agriculture near the desert to prevent and/or attempt to reverse desertification. Officials have been offering subsidies to these farmers (around $600 a year) for "Grassland Ecological Protection". Hopefully they become able to reverse the expansion of the desert.

Analysis: The size of the Tengger Desert has been increasing at an exponential rate in China. Many farmers and other habitants living along the border of the desert have been forced to move to habitable areas as major winds have been carrying sand into their villages and destroying their crops. The Chinese Government needs to act fast on its environmental issues, one of them being cutting down carbon emissions, however, they need to counter the expansion of the desert before it makes a mark in their agricultural section of their economy.

My takeaway is that we must educate and voice the topic of climate change more often, especially in media/the press, in order for these environmental issues to be heard and solved. I had no idea that there was even a desert expansion issue occurring in China until i found this article. One of the most common issues of climate change in the media is that the polar ice caps are melting. That is a huge topic no doubt, but i feel as if the media has neglected many other occurrences of climate change as well. This desert issue is something big that needs to be reported but issues like these aren't prioritized in the news. I too often see headlines linked to Donald Trump, or something along the lines of who won American Idol, where these topics seem to be distractions from what we are really about to face in the near future: a major global crisis. If we don't act soon there will be extinctions in the masses and lands that were once habitable. This will only backlash on us economically and environmentally. There's a group of people in the U.S. who believe that many human activities aren't harming the environment. That way of thinking is very outdated and inconsiderate as they all seem to be old enough to the point where this great crisis will not happen in their lifetime, so they think "Why should we care?". If we, as the human race, don't set our priorities straight soon then who knows what our future will look like.

This video is from around 5 years ago. I couldn't find a recent video on Chinese Desertification because of how little of attention this topic seems to get.


Created with images by james j8246 - "Sand dune in Badain Jaran Desert, China" • edans - "Gobi" • james j8246 - "the living and the dead 生与死" • james j8246 - "dead desert poplar" • Wonderlane - "Star of Bethlehem, Magi - wise men or wise kings travel on camels with entourage across the deserts to find the savior, moon, desert, Holy Bible, Etching, 1885" • Dai Luo - "Dinner for two" • janeb13 - "red panda little panda cute"

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