The story of how modern man is slowly exhausting the planet is not a new one. Deserts are advancing, water is becoming scarce, and every twelve years the Earth’s population increases by 1 billion people.
One man has discovered how to make our deserts green and our planet healthy again. It’s John D. Liu a cameraman and ecologist who figured out the solution almost by chance and has dedicated his life to spread the word ever since his discovery. Even though the world has become a more complicated place than it was hundreds of years ago, the solutions to reversing the problems with the ecosystem remain reasonably simple
In 1999, John D. Liu went to China on assignment to film the Loess Plateau restoration project. While working on the project, he saw a large plot of 640,000 Km2— almost the size of the Netherlands— transformed from a desert into a large green oasis. Scientists had discovered that several thousand years of agricultural exploitation and the relentless grazing of animals had led to the loss of vegetation on the hills and valleys. As a result the rainfall no longer seeped into the earth but simply washed down the hillside taking the rich soil with it. This progressively destroyed the region’s fertility. Baffled by these discoveries, Liu decided to make the re-greening of deserts his life’s goal.
With his knowledge of filming, Liu made a movie to record the almost superhuman effort the Chinese people exerted in order to complete this seemingly impossible task. The film was named Hope in a Changing Climate and it was posted on the Internet to ensure worldwide distribution.
Soon governments that were facing a similar situation as depicted in the film, started contacting John D. Liu. This documentary follows Liu into these countries. In Jordan Princess Basma Bint Ali invited him to explore the reasons for the spreading of the barren land. One of the things he discovered immediately was that the excessive grazing was to blame for a lot of the devastation that is visible in what used to be a land ‘flowing with milk and honey’.
Liu now has success stories in many different countries around the world. He has worked in Rwanda, Ethiopia, Jordan and others educating the government and citizens about the steps they need to take in order to protect their ecosystems, see their land restored and eliminate the threat of famine.
The fact that this can be done is good news for all of us.