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3.8 Million Acres Restored in a Handful of Years. It Can Be Done.

Updated: Jan 1, 2022

It takes energy, money, and political will. Spiritual maturity and foresight. This is the important work that needs to happen. Take the 1990's Loess Plateau project in China.

The Before & After Are Almost Unbelievable!

3000 of years of agriculture did their damage on the Loess Plateau. It was once extremely fertile, feeding 1/4 of China. That was in the 7th century. But too much extraction destroyed the soil, leaving it a desert. Rivers dried up, no trees to attract the clouds and rain. And even when it did rain, the water would quickly flow away, leaving mud and erosion. A disaster.

Until, the 1990's...

“It was a desperate place,” says Juergen Voegele, an agricultural economist and engineer at the World Bank who first visited the region in the mid-1980s.

Voegele returned in the 1990s to lead a major 12-year World Bank project to help restore dirt to healthy soils on a vast scale. “This was absolute desert. A few years later the whole thing came back,” he says. “We saw birds, butterflies, insects – the whole ecosystem began to recover. Even after hundreds of years of complete devastation, the seeds were still in the ground and things began to happen very quickly. We did not expect that.”

This entire story is told in this documentary.

Admittedly, the political reality of China is quite different than in other parts of the world, and this system might not work in other countries. But as far as seeing how quickly the devastated land can heal (with a basic level of human help), it's quite mind-blowing. Everyone should know what's possible.

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