Sometimes, when I look at the relentless degradation of the environment that is taking place worldwide, I feel it is almost hopeless. I still protest in whatever way I can, but it sometimes seems there is nothing to be done, given the forces at play.
However, here is a film which really gives hope, showing how even very degraded lands can be restored, not in decades, but literally within a handful of years, and become productive areas again, given the right management.
Nearly 20 years ago the filmmaker John D. Liu started a project about land restoration in China. The intention of the authorities was to reclaim a huge area, the Loess plateau, measuring 640,000 sq kilometres, across north-central China.
The remarkable thing is that it worked, and land which had been grazed and farmed almost to extinction was soon rehabilitated, providing not only a reforested area, but also a far better livelihood for the peasants still working the land.
Since then this form of permaculture, which seeks to re-establish a natural environment, which is self-sustaining, has been tried in many arid areas of the world, which have seen large-scale degradation of the land and water resources, and has proved successful wherever it was employed.
Forests are not just beautiful to look at, they also allow organic matter to flourish under their canopy, which in turn helps trap water, which would otherwise be washed away or evaporated. That then provides water for crops, and we end up with a balanced ecosystem.
This film gives an overview of the work that John has been fostering and recording over the years, and in the coming weeks I will show some of the other films that have been made, focusing more closely on different habitats that have been restored.
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Below are some before and after screenshots to inspire you