Africa's rich and diverse landscapes are facing a grave threat due to land degradation and the impacts of climate change. However, amidst these challenges lies an opportunity to restore the continent's natural beauty and create positive social impact. One organization leading the charge is 1MT Nation (1MTN), a high-quality nature-based carbon removal project developer in Africa, working towards the ambitious goal of restoring one million hectares of degraded land by 2030 through polyculture bamboo plantations.
The State of Africa's Landscapes
Africa's landscapes are among the most threatened in the world, with approximately 20% of the continent's land degraded. Years of overgrazing, monocropping, and other unsustainable agricultural practices have rendered most farms underproductive, significantly reducing food yields compared to their potential. This has led to chronic hunger, affecting more than 270 million people, roughly one-fifth of the population. Unfortunately, climate change is exacerbating this situation further, with irregular rainfall, prolonged droughts, extreme heat, and erratic weather patterns disrupting agricultural systems. Shockingly, 27 out of the 40 countries most vulnerable to climate change impacts are in Africa, highlighting the urgency of addressing these challenges*.
The Power of Nature-Based Solutions
Nature-based solutions have emerged as a promising approach to combat climate change and restore degraded lands. By harnessing the potential of nature, we can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, enhance biodiversity, and create sustainable livelihoods for local communities. 1MTN's commitment to restoring one million hectares of degraded or idle land through polyculture bamboo is a testament to the power of nature-based solutions. Planting bamboo on degraded or idle land helps restore the ecological balance and conserves biodiversity. It's also an effective way to combat deforestation and desertification. Bamboo also helps in soil conservation by reducing soil erosion, retaining moisture and providing shade and is an incredibly efficient carbon sequester (35% more oxygen production than an average tree), capturing and storing large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making it an effective tool in the fight against climate change.
The Role of Local Farmers
Local farmers play a pivotal role in the restoration process. They possess invaluable traditional knowledge of the land and its ecosystems, making them crucial stakeholders in implementing successful nature-based projects. By engaging local communities, projects like 1MTN's not only improve the effectiveness of restoration efforts but also create a sense of ownership and empowerment among the people. Moreover, investing in sustainable practices and empowering farmers can significantly increase food production, helping to alleviate chronic hunger in the region, and of course help mitigate climate change.
The Need for Global Support and Early Stage Investments
While the potential of nature-based solutions is enormous, they require significant resources to become a reality. Reforestation, afforestation, and forestry management efforts necessitate substantial investments. Companies and individuals around the world must step up and support such initiatives. Investing in carbon removal can be a powerful tool to drive sustainable change. Companies should not wait until they have achieved near-term science-based targets but start decarbonization as they work towards their goals. The need for funding in nature-based solutions cannot be understated. Nature-based carbon removal projects have emerged as a powerful solution to combat climate change by harnessing the potential of nature to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, these projects require early funding and a significant amount of capital to be successful in their mission. One of the primary reasons early funding is crucial for nature-based carbon removal projects is the need for substantial resources for land use compensation and various activities such as reforestation, afforestation, and forestry management. Restoring degraded lands, planting bamboo, and implementing sustainable land management practices all demand financial support.
Investing early in the carbon crediting process is equally important as it enables these projects to scale up and have a more significant impact. Carbon credits serve as a financial incentive for nature-based carbon removal initiatives, allowing companies to reduce their footprint by investing in projects that sequester or remove an equivalent amount of carbon from the atmosphere. By providing funding upfront, these projects can grow and become more robust, attracting additional investment and participation from a broader range of stakeholders.
Moreover, early funding empowers nature-based carbon removal projects to demonstrate their effectiveness and potential for long-term impact. These projects often require time to develop and gather data. A significant amount of capital is necessary to meet the ambitious targets set by nature-based carbon removal projects. Climate change is a global issue, and addressing it demands a wide-scale response. These projects need substantial investments to implement large-scale initiatives that can make a meaningful contribution to carbon sequestration and emission reduction.
Additionally, significant capital allows nature-based carbon removal projects to create co-benefits for local communities and ecosystems. For instance, projects focused on reforestation and afforestation can enhance biodiversity, support wildlife habitats, and improve the livelihoods of local communities. By investing more extensively, these co-benefits can be maximized, creating positive social and environmental impacts.
Creating Positive Social Impact and Empowering Local Communities
1MTN's projects exemplify how investing in nature can create positive social impact. By restoring one million hectares of degraded land, they are not only removing carbon from the atmosphere but also generating thousands of jobs for local communities. This creates economic opportunities, improves livelihoods, and contributes to the long-term sustainable development of the region. Additionally, 1MTN is taking its commitment to social impact even further by donating 10% of carbon revenues to a foundation dedicated to supporting local communities. Through the foundation, 1MTN aims to provide access to clean water, solar energy, primary education, sustainable agriculture practices, and security for crops and villagers. The main goal of the foundation is to support local communities within or close to project boundaries to become self-sustainable.
The challenges facing Africa's landscapes are vast, but the potential for transformation through nature-based solutions is equally immense. Organizations like 1MTN are leading the way by investing in nature, removing carbon, and creating positive social impact. Through its commitment to supporting local communities via the 1MTN Foundation, the organization goes beyond carbon removal to address fundamental needs and empower self-sustainability.
However, their efforts need global support to make a significant and lasting difference. By channeling resources, technology, and collaboration towards nature-based projects and supporting local communities, we can restore degraded lands, mitigate climate change, and ensure a sustainable future for Africa and its people. The time to act is now – join the mission to remove carbon, invest in nature, and create positive social
*Source: World Resources Institute