A big, beautiful wall is currently being built across the entire width of Africa.

While the U.S. argues over building a wall on the U.S. Mexican border, a massive "green" wall is going up across the continent of Africa.

When we think of walls, we usually think of a structure to keep people and/or animals out or in. But The Great Green Wall being built across Africa has an entirely different purpose.

The Sahel region, along the southern border of the Sahara desert, is one of the poorest regions in the world, and one of the most impacted by climate change so far. Persistent drought and lack of food has created conflicts over resources and forced people to migrate away from the region. The Great Green Wall project is an ambitious attempt to mitigate the environmental and economic effects of climate change in this part of Africa, utilizing nature itself to do so.


The goal is to create a 6000-mile (8000 km) "living wonder" across the entire width of the continent, from Senegal to Djibouti, restoring the degraded land and creating millions of jobs in the process. The project involves planting trees and other vegetation—hence the "green wall"—but its impact goes far beyond adding greenery to the landscape.

The Great Green Wall tackles many issues at once, including many of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

The UN hopes to make significant progress in improving the lives of people around the globe by 2030 with its Sustainable Development Goals. The Great Green Wall helps with many of them. It helps battle poverty by providing food security and opportunity for farming and businesses to grow from it. It supports gender equality by improving water security so women and girls don't have to walk long distances to collect water and by empowering women with new opportunities. It provides environmental resistance to climate change in an area where temperatures are rising the fastest.

It's also an important symbol of peace, unity, and hope in a world that can sometimes feel hopelessly divided. Twenty African nations have joined together on the project since its inception a decade ago. The wall is now 15% underway, and while ongoing support is needed for the work to accelerate to a good pace, the groundwork has been laid. If this desolate region can be brought to life environmentally, economically, and societally, it will show the rest of the world what's possible when diverse people work together toward a common goal.

When complete, the Great Green Wall will be the largest living structure on the planet, three times the size of the Great Barrier Reef.

The project an enormous undertaking for sure. But many international organizations, including the African Union, European Union, World Bank, and United Nations are partnering to bring it to fruition.

The African Union Commissioner for the Sahara and Sahel Great Green Wall Initiative, Elvis Paul Tangam, says that the key to the project is how it involves and empowers the people. “The Great Green Wall is about development; it’s about sustainable, climate-smart development, at all levels...It’s about ownership, and that has been the failure of development aid, because people were never identified with it. But this time they identify. This is our thing.”

"The Great Green Wall promises to be a real game-changer, providing a brighter future for rural youth in Africa and a chance to revitalize whole communities," says Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD. "It can unite young people around a common, epic ambition: to ‘Grow a 21st Century World Wonder,' across borders and across Africa."

And Ireland's President, Michael D. Higgins says, "With its capacity to unite nations and communities in solidarity, the Great Green Wall represents the best kind of international cooperation that will be required in this century."

A wall that unites people and creates economic opportunity for people living on either side of it? So here for it. If you are too, The Great Green Wall asks that you share the project and sign the Great Green Pledge that helps them have more power to lobby governments and organizations to support the movement.

Let's let the world know that this is the kind of wall we'd like to see more of.

Growing a World Wonder (Virtual Reality film)

A groundbreaking 360° film about Africa’s Great Green Wall, and the people growing it.

Posted by Great Green Wall on Wednesday, December 2, 2015
True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Last year, we shared the sad impact that plastic pollution has had on some of our planet's most beautiful places. With recycling not turning out to be the savior it was made out to be, solutions to our growing plastic problem can seem distant and complex.

We have seen some glimmers of hope from both human innovation and nature itself, however. In 2016, a bacteria that evolved with the ability to break down plastic was discovered in a Japanese waste site. Two years later, scientists managed to engineer the mutant plastic-eating enzyme they called PETase—named for polyethylene terephthalate, the most common plastic found in bottles and food packaging—in a lab.

Here's an explainer of how those enzymes work:

Ending Plastic Pollution with Designer Bacteria youtu.be

Now researchers have revealed another game-changer in the plastic-eater—a super-enzyme that can break down plastic six times faster than PETase alone.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Schools often have to walk a fine line when it comes to parental complaints. Diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences for what kids see and hear will always mean that schools can't please everyone all the time, so educators have to discern what's best for the whole, broad spectrum of kids in their care.

Sometimes, what's best is hard to discern. Sometimes it's absolutely not.

Such was the case this week when a parent at a St. Louis elementary school complained in a Facebook group about a book that was read to her 7-year-old. The parent wrote:

"Anyone else check out the read a loud book on Canvas for 2nd grade today? Ron's Big Mission was the book that was read out loud to my 7 year old. I caught this after she watched it bc I was working with my 3rd grader. I have called my daughters school. Parents, we have to preview what we are letting the kids see on there."

Keep Reading Show less
via DanielandDavid2 / Instagram

Editor's Note: We used "black" in lowercase for our headline and the body of this story in accordance with emerging guidelines from the Associated Press and other trusted news outlets who are using uppercase "Black" in reference to American descendants of the diaspora of individuals forcibly brought from Africa as slaves. As part of our ongoing efforts to be transparent and communicate choices with our readership, we've included this note for clarity. The original story begins below.

On February 26, 2019, Stacy and Babajide Omirin of Lagos, Nigeria got quite the shock. When Stacy delivered identical twins through C-section one came out black and the other, white.

The parents knew they were having identical twins and expected them to look exactly the same. But one has a white-looking complexion and golden, wavy hair.

"It was a massive surprise," Stacy told The Daily Mail. "Daniel came first, and then the nurse said the second baby has golden hair. I thought how can this be possible. I looked down and saw David, he was completely white."

Keep Reading Show less