The Great Green Wall of Africa: reviving land, people, and animals with trees

The Great Green Wall plan. Image by NASA.

A lot of my writing life revolves around science, environmental sustainability, and biomimicry. This Fall, I’m starting a graduate program in Sustainability Leadership at University of Cambridge. As I prepare for that program, I’m researching different programs around the world that are restoring land and protecting species from the effects of climate change.

I recently learned about a project called the Great Green Wall. From their website:

Growing a World Wonder
The Great Green Wall is an African-led movement with an epic ambition to grow an 8,000km natural wonder of the world across the entire width of Africa. Once complete, the Great Green Wall will be the largest living structure on the planet, 3 times the size of the Great Barrier Reef.

A decade in and roughly 15% underway, the initiative is already bringing life back to Africa’s degraded landscapes at an unprecedented scale, providing food security, jobs and a reason to stay for the millions who live along its path.

The Wall promises to be a compelling solution to the many urgent threats not only facing the African Continent, but the global community as a whole–notably climate change, drought, famine, conflict, and migration.

Improving Millions of Lives
The Great Green Wall is taking root in Africa’s Sahel region, at the southern edge of the Sahara desert — one of the poorest places on the planet.

More than anywhere else on Earth, the Sahel is on the frontline of climate change and millions of locals are already facing its devastating impact. Persistent droughts, lack of food, conflicts over dwindling natural resources, and mass migration to Europe are just some of the many consequences.

Yet, communities from Senegal in the West to Djibouti in the East are fighting back.

Since the birth of the initiative in 2007, life has started coming back to the land, bringing improved food security, jobs and stability to people’s lives.

A Global Symbol
The Great Green Wall isn’t just for the Sahel. It is a global symbol for humanity overcoming its biggest threat — our rapidly degrading environment.

It shows that if we can work with nature, even in challenging places like the Sahel, we can overcome adversity, and build a better world for generations to come.

Growing More Than Trees
More than just growing trees and plants, the Great Green Wall is transforming
the lives of millions of people in the Sahel region.

The Great Green Wall makes a vital contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (known as the SDGs) — a global agenda which aims to achieve a more equitable and sustainable world by 2030. It’s rare to find a project that impacts all of the SDGs and the Great Green Wall does just that.

We can all be involved in this effort. Visit to learn more.

Growing a new world wonder across the entire width of Africa.
Growing fertile land, one of humanity’s most precious natural assets.
Growing a wall of hope against abject poverty.
Growing food security, for the millions that go hungry every day.
Growing health and wellbeing for the world’s poorest communities.
Growing improved water security, so women and girls don’t have to spend hours everyday fetching water.
Growing gender equity, empowering women with new opportunities.
Growing sustainable energy, powering communities towards a brighter future.
Growing green jobs, giving real incomes to families across the Sahel.
Growing a reason to stay
to help break the cycle of migration.
Growing sustainable consumption patterns,
to protect the natural capital of the Sahel.
Growing resilience to climate change in a region where temperatures are rising faster than anywhere else on Earth.
Growing a symbol of peace in countries where conflict continues to displace communities.
Growing a symbol of interfaith harmony across Africa.
Growing strategic partnerships to accelerate rural development across Africa




Award-winning author & writer—Product Dev — Biomimicry scientist — Podcaster. Runs on curiosity & joy. /

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Christa Avampato

Christa Avampato

Award-winning author & writer—Product Dev — Biomimicry scientist — Podcaster. Runs on curiosity & joy. /

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