In the course of researching his forthcoming book on global warming, Living Through the Storm: How My Daughter’s Generation Can Survive Climate Change, The Nation‘s environmental correspondent Mark Hertsgaard recently reported on what he considers one of the most encouraging developments taking place in the fight against global warming.

The story, as Hertsgaard explained recently on Public Radio International’s The World, features West African farmers who rank among the poorest people in the world–and among those most threatened by climate change–who are taking effective steps to protect themselves, and sharing this knowledge with their neighbors far and wide.

The visionary behind the effort, Yacouba Sawadogo, was profiled by Andrew Leonard in Salon back in 2006, when Leonard explained how some three million hectares of degraded semi-arid land have been rehabilitated by farmers on their own initiative using traditional farming methods to restore soils damaged by desertification and drought largely thanks to Sawadogo’s efforts.

As Hertsgaard reports, Sawadogo has pioneered a simple yet ingenious response to the rising temperatures and withering droughts plaguing his homeland. Amid his fields of millet and sorghum, Sawadogo is also growing trees. And the trees, he says, work wonders. Listen to Hertsgaard’s commentary and read the transcript to hear why, and check out a related Salon post by Leonard to see how to assist Sawadogo’s efforts.


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