John D. Liu is an environmental film maker, travelling the world exploring how countries follow natures systems to find solutions to droughts and flooding.
Ranging from China to Rwanda, communities are feeling the effects of a changing climate. Along with intensive agriculture that depletes the soils, farmers are losing livestock and crops due to excessive weather, lack of soil nutrients and poor landscapes.
Here John D. Liu explains how these communities have encorporated various techniques to work with the weather systems.
Terraces are built on hillsides to prevent soil being washed away, swales are created to capture water when it does rain so that crops have water through drought periods and natural vegetation has been allowed to grow back, especially in the ridges, aiding in carbon capture as well as keeping soil healthy and preventing it being lost.
In the Loess Plateau in China, communities are seeing an abundance of crops even though they are in the worst drought for decades. The soil has accumulated organic material from allowing vegetation to grow, which means it now holds nutrients and so holds moisture and carbon. These people have created these areas of living soil, actively producing carbon sequesting fields.
One man in the film explains it perfectly, "We have properly understood the miracles performed by trees."
As John D. Liu concludes, "Restoration can sequester carbon, reduce bio-diversity loss, mitigate against flooding, drought and famine, it can ensure food security for people who are now chronically hungry. Why don't we do this on a global scale?"
After the wettest winter on record in Britain, there is much that Europeans can learn from these approaches to absorb high levels of rainful, stabilise topsoil and prevent flooding. Dredging is like anti-biotics: It may (in some instances) solve a short term problem by sending water faster into the ocean, but it does not offer a long term solution, especially when high tides back up that water lower down stream. We need to look at whole ecosystems and what is happening on hillsides, not just at the crises points in the valleys.
John D. Liu features in Green Gold - How can we regenerate large-scale damaged ecosystems?
Enjoying our posts? Want to keep in touch with our most popular pages on this website? Sign up for our FREE monthly eNewsletter. You can also download an issue of Permaculture magazine totally free of charge HERE.