FRANCE 5 – MONDAY APRIL 4 AT 9:00 P.M. – MAGAZINE
“When the desert advances / It’s life that goes away”, already sang France Gall in 1987, on the words of Michel Berger, inspired to the couple by a trip to Mali. Thirty years later, no noticeable progress, according to the Journal of Climate, which published, in 2018, a study carried out by researchers from Maryland. They claimed that the Sahara desert had grown by 10% between 1920 and 2013, gaining an area equivalent to that of France. In question, according to them, for two thirds a natural phenomenon and for a third global warming.
The episode of Saharan winds that southern Europe experienced in March puts the subject back in the news. Even if they are known, the sirocco lifts offer images that mark the spirits. They also provide the opportunity for Hugo Clément, of the magazine “Sur le front”, to present the very successful documentary by Félix Seger devoted to the populations who carry out actions either to fight against the progression of the sand or to adapt to it.
Do not rely on the introduction, as often alarmist: it in no way suggests the great discoveries and small miracles that will follow. After passing through the Pyrenees, direction Africa and the United Arab Emirates for five reports.
First of all in Mauritania, in Chinguetti, a city partially engulfed by sand, with almost unreal landscapes for those who do not know the place – the “Sorbonne of the desert”, whose libraries conceal rare works. First miracle: in the middle of filming, the rain begins to fall.
Total discovery, on the other hand, in Namibia, where the battle of water opposes the man and the animal. Specifically, thirsty lionesses and elephants, and villagers. Félix Vallat, naturalist guide for fifteen years, shares his nights watching for felines and his days making sure that the pachyderms will be able to drink.
In the United Arab Emirates, a country which also constantly has to repel the onslaught of sand, the surprise comes from an urban oasis. Karim El-Jisr, sustainable development manager, gives visitors a tour of this eco-neighborhood that emerged from the white sand desert in ten years and is full of promising innovations – such as greenhouses cooled by water evaporation, which consume very little energy.
Discovered again in Senegal, where the inhabitants participate in the reforestation of the “green wall”. This titanic project consists of replanting, often by hand, trees over a vast strip of territory that stretches from east to west across the wide breadth of Africa.
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