Maybe you got it on one of our social media channels, maybe not. Jeroen, a good friend of MOYU founder Roel, has literally seen his 100 hectares of green, fertile soil in Pedralva (Portugal) go up in flames. Including infrastructure and habitable cottages. Jeroen has been working with a community for years to completely green this country based on permaculture principles - with the ultimate goal of using the project as inspiration and example for how people can live. Living in and especially with nature.
However, a devastating fire started last weekend, due to extreme drought. This drought is not strange in the area, but the extent of it and the frequency of the fires are strongly influenced by climate change and deforestation. This does not only apply to Portugal, but also to Spain and France.
We can write a long story about that, but let's keep it short:
1. Global warming is causing more frequent and more severe periods of drought and heat waves.
2. Since deforestation means fewer and fewer trees, the air is becoming drier and drier (trees help to keep the air moist through 'evapotranspiration', the process of evaporation and transpiration through vegetation and soil).
3. Fewer trees + less evapotranspiration + less moisture + less evaporation = less rainfall. In other words: even drier areas.
And those 3 together create a domino effect, resulting in periods of drought and burning. With all the devastation that entails.
You guessed it: planting trees. We know that we like to throw our readers to death with this (well, so to speak), but we only do that because research shows time and again that trees are an important, if not THE most important solution to many climate-related problems.
Trees bring extra water into the air and thus provide more rain. Their roots pump up water from the soil, bring it to their leaves, lose some of their water through evaporation, and this water escapes through the leaf pores: evapotranspiration (see image). This mechanism keeps the air moist, even as it flows further inland from the ocean coasts. If we didn't have these trees ... the inlands of all continents would simply be gigantic deserts! Just look at Australia, where deforestation has dried up the entire continent, leaving only a narrow green strip of coast (source).
Jeroen experienced the consequences of deforestation and climate change firsthand: years of work were wiped out by one fire. His situation is very dear to us at MOYU. We therefore want to help him and hope that you will contribute something.
It is essential that new dams and lakes are dug before the September rainy season arrives: if they are not there, all the fertile soil of the land will be flushed and it may take YEARS to get the soil fertile again. In addition, basic infrastructure must be built, such as a roof (where the DIY materials can lie under) and a tent, but also hard money is needed for new cuttings and compost to make the land greener again.
More background? read here the article in the AD.
Thank you for your attention!