Africa’s Great Green Wall is a project to create a natural wall of trees across Africa. The wall will stretch across Africa south of the Sahara desert from the Atlantic Ocean to the Horn of Africa. When finished the 8,000 km long and 15 km wide Great Green Wall will be the largest man-made structure on earth.
The project started in 2007 in an attempt to fight desertification, permanent drought and food shortages in countries of the Sahel zone, one of the poorest regions in the world.
However, the building of the wall is not moving forward fast enough. Up to now, only 15% of the trees have already been planted, mainly in Senegal. The ambitious project will cost over $4 billion. 21 African countries, the World Bank, the FAO and the French government have committed themselves to financing the natural wall.
The Great Green Wall will run through an area, in which the dry season can last up to 10 months a year. Experts claim that by 2025 a large part of the fertile land in the region could be lost if nothing is done to save it. In addition, the wall is expected to provide food for 20 million Africans and also bind millions of tons of carbon dioxide.
ambitious = good but difficult to do
bind = here: to make it stay in the ground and not let it escape into the atmosphere
carbon dioxide = gas that is produced when animals breathe out or when carbon is burned in the air
claim = to say that something is true, even if you cannot prove it
commit = here: to say that you will do something
desert = land where it is always dry and where there are few plants and a lot of rocks and sand
desertification = when farmland changes into desert
drought = long period of dry weather when there is not enough water for plants and animals to live
FAO = Food and Agriculture Organisation = organisation in the United Nations that helps produce food and gives it to poor people around the world
fertile = here: land that is good enough to produce food
mainly = mostly
move forward = to make progress; here: to continue building
permanent = existing for a long time
provide = give
Sahel zone = dry area of land between the Sahara desert and tropical Africa
The 2011 tsunami , which led to the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima, has swept thousands of sea creatures across the Pacific Ocean to the US coast. In the past 6 years scientists have found mussels, starfish, crabs and other marine animals washed up on the American Pacific coast. Marine biologists expect that there are even more species to arrive in the future.
The giant waves caused by the tsunami in Japan were almost 40 metres tall and washed objects into the open sea. In 2012, scientists found debris together with living creatures on them near the Alaskan coast as well as in Hawaii. They were sea animals that have never before been seen there.
Scientists are surprised that marine species have been able to survive over such a long period in such bad conditions. However, most species travelled on plastic or glass objects, things that do not decompose and stay the same for many years. On the other hand, animals that travelled on wooden objects did not make the long journey across the Pacific, because wood lasts only for a short time.
Because the debris moved slowly across the ocean the animals had time to get used to their new surroundings as they travelled the 4,000 mile journey across the Pacific.
With so much plastic and other garbage swimming in the world’s oceans, the danger of marine animals being washed up on foreign coasts has never been greater.
Experts are not sure what effect these new species may have on the local environment. Such invasive species may change the ecosystem of the area they arrive at. They might transport new diseases or kill off existing species . In any case, it will take a decade or more to see the results.
crab= sea animal with a hard shell , five legs on each side and two large claws
creature = animal; living thing
debris = garbage, waste
decade = ten years
decompose = to break down into many smaller parts
disease = illness
ecosystem = the animals and plants in a certain area and they way they live together
effect = result ; change caused by an event
foreign = another country
garbage = waste; things people throw away
however = but
invasive species = plant or animal that does not grow naturally in an area but has come there from somewhere else
journey = trip
local environment = the world around the place that you live in
marine species = animals and plants that live in the ocean
mussel = small sea animal with a soft body that can be eaten and a black shell that is split into two parts
nuclear catastrophe = here: an atomic power plant explodes and sends dangerous radioactive waves into the atmosphere
scientist = a person who is trained in science and works in a lab
starfish = flat sea animal that has five arms and looks like a star
surroundings = the place or natural area around a person or animal
survive = live on after a dangerous situation
sweep – swept = to push something away
tsunami = very large waves, most of the time cause by an earthquake in or near the sea.