Hard Rain Journal 10-31-06: Sustainability Update -- Why should you care about what is happening in Morocco?
By Richard Power
We are at a crossroads in human history.
One direction leads to a brighter future. But it demands redefining energy security as sustainability, adapting to and mitigating the impact of global warming, and dedicating collective will and marshalled resources to achieving the UN Millennium Goals.
The other direction leads to a cul-de-sac, from which there is no escape. We will not be able to turn around and retrace our steps. Because in that cul-de-sac, we will meet the worst part of ourselves. We will first exhaust the environment that sustains us and then turn on each other.
Why should you care about what is happening in Morocco? Well, because life is a oneness. But even if you cannot accept that truth, I assure you that you should listen and learn about what is happening in Morocco out of your own self-interest.
More than 22,000 hectares of arable land disappear under the desert every year now in Morocco, according to official figures.
Desertification is now threatening all of the country. The ministry for the environment has said that almost 93 percent of Morocco is affected by aridity.
Date palms are the most ravaged by desertification. At the end of the 19th century Morocco had an estimated 15 million date palms, according to a study by geographer Ahmed Harrak. That number has now slipped to 4.5 million.
In losing date palms the local population "loses the main source of income, and is consequently forced to abandon the land and leave," M. Achlif, member of the independent group, the Moroccan Association for Development and Solidarity told IPS....
Land could now be lapsing into arid conditions more rapidly as sources of water are getting reduced, Zahir said.
Nature cannot, however, be blamed entirely. "Exaggerated pastoral activity and the misuse of land are significant factors," Zahir said. And the population demands on the disappearing green areas are increasing.
"The average annual population increase in the arid regions is 3.5 percent," Zahir said. "Therefore land is overused because the population seeks maximum benefits for itself in the minimum time possible."
Abderrahim El Ouali, The Old Picture Is Disappearing, Inter Press Service & International Federation of Environmental Journalists (IFEJ), 10-30-06
An African was wounded in the leg on Monday when Moroccan troops fired warning shots to stop 14 migrants trying to reach the border fence between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla, government officials said.
The wounded man and 11 other migrants were arrested and the remaining two fled into a wood nearby, they added. Those arrested were from Cameroon, Chad, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, they said....
It was the second recent attempt to reach Spanish territory by Africans desperate to escape before colder weather reaches northern Morocco, where rights groups say hundreds, probably thousands, of would-be migrants are hiding in wooded areas.
When 20 Africans tried to cross into Melilla at almost the same point four weeks ago, Moroccan troops arrested 15 and five managed to scale the 6-metre (nearly 20-foot) fence with makeshift ladders....
Morocco has since deployed more than 10,000 troops to increase border surveillance and staunch the migrant flow.
But Morocco, like other African governments, insists that only greater cooperation between Europe and Africa can stop illegal migration by providing better opportunities at home for African youths who now seek work and a better future in Europe. Morocco police wound migrant near Spanish enclave, Reuters, 10-30-06
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Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and http://www.wordsofpower.net. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net
Global Warming,Water Crisis, Sustainability,UN, Millennium Goal, Climate Change, Environmental Security, Morocco, Spain, MelillaWords of Power, Richard Power