Sunday, June 26, 2011

Desert greening in Horqin- Timberland Earthkeeper

Dear Readers,

Today I will be sharing on an environmental cause and hope it will bring awareness to the issue of desertification - something that we as Singaporeans may perhaps not empathize with , other than the certain months of haze that make us realize the importance of nature, the importance of the environment - and that we should all do our part in any way we can.


In 2001, Timberland started on one of its community service projects to support greening activities in China's Horqin Desert that is situated in Inner Mongolia, through Japan based non-profit organisation - GreenNet.

The Horqin Project is a large-scale tree planting initiative set up with a purpose to reverse massive desertification. Overgrazing of the land and excessive deforestation by Man has led to desertification which has changed the once lush and green Horqin Pasture into Horqin Desert. This results in terrible sandstorms that sweeps across China and its neighboring countries.Timberland continues its tree planting activities in Horqin Desert, hoping that it will recover its lush greenness.

So, what's the issue with desertification ?

Over a quarter of China's huge landmass is officially classified as desert. Up to 400 million people are under threat from the fast-advancing deserts in the country's western and north-western provinces of Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Ningxia and Shaanxi. The impacts of desertification on urbanised eastern China are severe and getting worse. Huge quantities of sand are deposited on urban streets and the desert's leading edge is within 150 miles of Beijing. Economic loss has been estimated at around US$ 6.5 billion per year. However, the most severe impacts are felt by those who depend on the lands being desertified - every day they see the topsoil they rely on for food and for their livestock blown away on the wind.

In China's Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang provinces in particular, some of the causes are clear. The huge pressures on China to feed 1.3 billion people has resulted in a doubling of grazing livestock numbers over the past 30 years. In 2002 China had 427 million head of livestock, up from just over 200 million in the early 70's. Previously arable land has also been over ploughed, loosening the topsoil.

Warmer winters and less rainfall have left the fertile topsoil of Inner Mongolia even more susceptible to the strong winds that course across the area.

Th infertility of the land causes pasture to decrease -and due to the lack of grazing ground, it will severely affected the productivity of livestock agriculture.

And the dust storms are getting from bad to worse, affecting health and the environment.

Chinese documentarian Lu Tongjin has been chronicling desertification in Mongolia since 1995. Here are some of his images of the environmental and human costs (in the link below)

Livelihoods blown away... | Greenpeace International


Volunteers plant trees in a bid to end the deserts's creep toward Beijing and the lengthening reach of the dust-laden winds.The ecological sand barrier, consisting of newly planted trees and grass, will anchor the dunes and eliminate the threat to nearby high-voltage power lines, ensuring the reliability of the power supply of the Inner Mongolia power grid. With Beijing’s proximity to Inner Mongolia, the city has been under threat of sand storms for a long time. The sand barrier will curb the pace of desertification in Inner Mongolia while at the same time improving the ecological environment of Beijing.


Increasing the green is an activity for all mankind.

(1) Be part of the forestation volunteer group - join the Earthkeepers
Experience first hand the usefulness of forestation and see with your own eyes - the effects of deforestation.

Earthkeeper is a word created by Timberland. “Earth” means the place we live in and “keeper” means guardian. When you put the two words together, it represents someone who is concerned about environmental issues and willing to take action to protect our Earth, like the minor act of cycling instead of driving and using energy efficient bulbs, to bigger things like replanting eroded areas and using renewable energy to reduce the burden on our environment.

This is what Earthkeepers do. Their goal is to share this ideology with future Earthkeepers and move forward. For the Earth that we live on, consider joining the Earthkeepers.

To them, a life without the outdoors is unimaginable. They love the outdoors and that’s why they started Earthkeepers. When Timberland realised that the production of our outdoor boots, shoes and accessories affects our environment, they relooked at the way they do business and did something about it.

Apart from carrying out regional measures and eco-friendly activities worldwide, they also increased our usage of renewable energy as well as organic and recyclable materials in the production and transportation of our products. They are also the first company in the world to use recycled rubber from discarded tyres to manufacture the soles of our Earthkeepers shoes collection.

(2) Be part of the "plant a tree" day in your neighborhood

The" Plant a tree" programme in Singapore is launched by the Singapore Environment Council and the Garden City fund. On the last Sunday of every month and on special days like World environment day or Earth day, the public can now plant trees at designated parks or nature reserves.


"Be a Timberland Earthkeeper and support desert greening in Horqin!”

For me, I plan to take this first step .....

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