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As touched on in my recent post, Seabuckthorn holds back the desert on the windy plains of Asia, desertification is a grave problem throughout the world, from traditionally arid, low-production areas to lush, productive greenbelts. Human activities (including redirection of surface water, siphoning of groundwater, intensive farming practices, clearcutting and many other factors) are implicated in much of this desert encroachment.

There are committed, effective people and organisations working in isolation all over the world to combat this growing threat, but according to Dr Willem VAN COTTHEM, the owner and sole contributor to Desertification: All about desertification and poverty, agriculture and horticulture in the drylands, efforts to act, research and support activists have been hampered by a lack of centralised information.

As he states on the About page of his blog, VAN COTTHEM (Professor Emeritus of Belgium’s Ghent University and current Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development) has been working for years to compile data and resources relating to desertification, low water agriculture, sustainability, poverty and related areas of interest, first via an email network and now through his blog.

The main reason for the establishment of such a network is that I noticed, when speaking with my colleagues of the Committee for Science and Technology (CST) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), that we all spend a lot of time searching the internet for interesting publications concerning our fields of interest. Everyone is looking for the same information, spending considerable time to find mostly the same articles, all of us reading these texts to see if their content is important enough, and if it is, to use that info for our own purposes.

Dr VAN COTTHEM excerpts portions of relevant articles along with links to the full text, supplemental links and occasionally, editorial commentary. The professor’s blog also maintains a selective blogroll, as well as a detailed and relevant categories list.

Again, for me all this is a question of offering time-saving to my readers. This is not MY BLOG, it is OURS for I am only the administrator to easy up the work of many colleagues and friends. My blog visitors seem to be very happy with this system, as I offer them a chance to save plenty of time by aggregating valuable information on all aspects of the topics in a sort of newsletter, in which I (re)publish that what seems to be of some interest to most of us. This way, we all save time for more practical things to do and meanwhile we bring interesting websites and blogs to the attention of many more people worldwide than one single site or blog could do for itself.

The result is a huge compendium of relevant data, articles and research on myriad topics relating to sustainability. For continuing over hundreds of posts to find and make available information to support sustainability efforts all over the world, Dr VAN COTTHEM’s Desertification is helping to Heal the World.

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