In Europe’s most affected country, the agricultural overuse of water is made worse by climate change
The heatwaves and forest fires that swept through the Mediterranean this summer gave Europeans a grim lesson in the dangers of climate change. But many experts are just as worried about a longer-term affliction: desertification.
An often irreversible process, desertification is a growing problem in Europe — especially in Spain where about a fifth of the country is already affected.
“Desertification is one of the world’s big four environmental areas of concern, together with climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution,” said Elias Symeonakis, an expert on the subject at Manchester Metropolitan University. “We depend on those areas that are degrading . . . for our food and our population. Once they are degraded, there is not much you can do.”