UNITY Earth Ambassador Takes on Desertification
UNITY Youth Submission by Earth Ambassador Tylee Tom, Dine/Navajo, AZ: “Growing up on the reservation, I’ve always been taught to respect the earth and everything it provides. Many teachings and songs I’ve been taught is about every living plant and animal. Preserving the teachings and responsibility of oneself and others, who play a big part in our lives. From caring for our animals to the birthing of them. like I have always been told “you take care of your animals and crop, they will take care of you”‘
“With livestock and overgrazing in my community. We’re Replanting the plants within different part of the land. As well as reducing livestock. Until the vegetation rises once more. Keeping that balance between them” explains Tylee.
As PRB explains, “people have managed fragile drylands successfully for millennia in many parts of the world, pressure upon the land is much greater today as roughly 2 billion people inhabit drylands around the world. Human activities that contribute to desertification include the expansion and intensive use of agricultural lands, poor irrigation practices, deforestation, and overgrazing. These unsustainable land uses place enormous pressure on the land by altering its soil chemistry and hydrology. Eventually, overexploited drylands suffer from erosion, soil salinization, loss of productivity, and decreased resilience to climatic variations. A rise in global temperatures is likely to accelerate the process of desertification as evaporation rates increase.While these various causal factors have been identified, the actual process of desertification remains poorly understood.”
One way Native youth can take action against desertification, is to look into your local tribal and state practices. Tylee explains how he plans on “helping my community in creating irrigations for crops and sustainable dams for animals. Creating new ways to keep our environment rich in soil and natural vegetation is key to this work. Any Native youth can help by advocating for our generation to keep our community clean, this will also keep it safe for new and future livestock. Assisting elders on their farms and fields has a huge impact. I encourage Native youth to engage elders in teaching them new techniques, and asking about traditional practices they have.”
This is a call to action! The preservation of Mother Earth has been identified by Native youth as a top priority. Earth day was April 22nd, but you have all May to make a difference! How will you help preserve our environment and precious resources? All it takes is a little planning for your Earth Service project and you’re on your way to earning some spending money and cool UNITY swag!