Resources for Further Learning:
Thoroughly Random Readings

The randomly ordered content in this section is intentional. You may even find some references with no links.

Newly Added Sites

This section will highlight new sites of interest which will also be included in each appropriate category below.

Greenpeace, International
Greenpeace’s work is based on a number of key principles. They are reflected in all our campaigns, and they guide whatever we do, wherever we do it.
Bearing Witness / Non-Violence / Independence / Promoting Solutions
Mission is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis.Our online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions are led from the bottom up by thousands of volunteer organizers in over 188 countries.

350 means climate safety. To preserve our planet, scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 392 parts per million to below 350 ppm. But 350 is more than a number—it’s a symbol of where we need to head as a planet.

For a better understanding of the 350 Mission, please refer to the organization’s complete Mission Statement on its home site.

Ecosystem: Eurasian Association of Youth Environmental Groups
This is an all-Russian, non-profit association of youth environmental organizations. The main activity of “Ecosystem” is an introduction of outdoor ideology and approach into the environmental education system, emphasizing children’s involvement with concrete research work and nature conservation through different types of outdoor activities.

The site offers some great photography and provides a look at environmental education inside Russia.

GCSE Video: Desertification in the Sahel
GCSE Bitesize is an information service offered by the BBC. This 7 minute video is from the Geography category of GCSE which contains many useful subjects related to climate and the environment.



Desertification / Drought, Desertification & Poverty in the Drylands
Willem Romanus Jozef Van Cotthem

This site is simply about desertification. In fact, it is the very first site that I used to begin the research for my documentary. Over the past years, I have come to know the owner of this blog as well as many others who truly understand the realities of ecosystem health and the environmental consequences of our behavior. Whether you are looking through archives or current postings, I think you will find this most informative.

The Earth Times
To provide the best environmental news coverage and also to give you the background information needed to better understand what can sometimes be enormously complicated and controversial environmental issues.

Africa Re-Greening Initiatives
The Author, Chris Reij, has extensive knowledge from his work throughout West Africa.

A commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists.

Circle of Blue
The international network of leading journalists, scientists and communications design experts that reports and presents the information necessary to respond to the global freshwater crisis.



UN News Centre
Breaking news from the United Nations News Centre.

Millennium Challenge Account
Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) is a bilateral U.S. development assistance program. The MCA was designed to be different than other U.S. aid programs in six key ways. The first (FOCUS) is outlined below. The remaining five appear on its website. FOCUS: The objective of the MCA is to help support economic growth and poverty reduction in the poorest countries in the world. The program is not designed for humanitarian assistance, to help in post-conflict situations, to further security interests, or to reward political allies.

United Nations University / International Network on Water, Environment and Health
UN Think Tank on Water - Created by the UNU Governing Council in 1996 to strengthen water management capacity, particularly of developing countries, and to provide on-the-ground project support. UNU-INWEH’s mission is “to contribute, through capacity development and directed research, to efforts to resolve pressing global water problems that are of concern to the United Nations, its Member States and their Peoples”.

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Topical seminars, presentations, paper, research to meet Wilson’s Challenge: “We are not put into the world to sit still and know, we are put in it to act.”

What is Groundwater & Why Should I Care About it?
We don’t often think about freshwater – either its origin or its availability. This USGS site will help answer a lot of questions and clear-up much of your uncertainty.

The Club of Rome
Not-for-profit organisation, independent of any political, ideological or religious interests. Its mission is to act as a global catalyst for change through the identification and analysis of the crucial problems facing humanity and the communication of such problems to the most important public and private decision makers as well as to the general public.

The Great Rivers Partnership
Nature Conservancy and Caterpillar Inc., through its Caterpillar Foundation, have embarked on the Great Rivers Partnership, an ambitious effort to guide protection of the world’s imperiled freshwater systems and transform the way large working river systems are preserved and protected. The purpose of the partnership is to create a new model for sustaining the world’s great river systems and the plants, animals and people that depend on them.

The Nature Conservancy
Leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. Since its founding in 1951, they’ve protected more than 117 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers worldwide — and operate more than 100 marine conservation projects globally – working in all 50 states and more than 30 countries.

Desert*Net Germany
German Competence Network for Research to Combat Desertification.

Earth Portal
Earth Portal is a comprehensive resource for timely, objective, science-based information about the environment. It is a means for the global scientific community to come together to produce the first free, expert-driven, massively scaleable information resource on the environment, and to engage civil society in a public dialogue on the role of environmental issues in human affairs. It contains no commercial advertising and reaches a large global audience. Earth Portal has three components:

  1. Encyclopedia of Earth – with over 3,500 articles – is produced and reviewed by 1,000 scholars from 60 countries.
  2. EarthForum provides commentary from scholars and discussions with the general public.
  3. EarthNews offers news stories on environmental issues drawn from many sources.

Global Environmental Facility / GEF
Independent financial organization that provides grants to developing countries for projects that benefit the global environment and promote sustainable livelihoods in local communities. established in 1991, helps developing countries fund projects and programs that protect the global environment. GEF grants support projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.

Inter-American Water Resources Network
Recognizing the need to strengthen water resources management, the mission of the Inter-American Water Resources Network is to build and strengthen water resources partnerships between nations, organizations, and individuals that transcend disciplines, political boundaries, and language barriers; promote education and the open exchange of information and technical expertise; and enhance communication, cooperation, collaboration, and financial commitment to the implementation of integrated water and land resources management within the context of environmental and economic sustainability in the Americas.

International Water Management Institute
One of 15 international research centers supported by the network of 60 governments, private foundations and international and regional organizations collectively known as the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) whose Mission is to improve the management of land and water resources for food, livelihoods and nature.

Organization of American States / OAS
Bringing together the nations of the Western Hemisphere to strengthen cooperation on democratic values, defend common interests and debate the major issues facing the region and the world. It is the region’s principal multi-lateral forum for strengthening democracy, promoting human rights, and confronting shared problems such as poverty, terrorism, illegal drugs and corruption. It plays a leading role in carrying out mandates established by the hemisphere’s leaders through the Summits of the Americas.

OXFAM International
Confederation of 13 organizations working together with over 3,000 partners in more than 100 countries to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice.

Syngenta / Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture
Goal: to improve rural livelihoods in semi-arid parts of the world in sustainable ways and to promote innovative methods and technologies to help farmers increase their food production and make a profit.

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification / UNCCD

A dynamic team of individuals working towards a common goal: promoting sustainable development through land management, in the context of the UNCCD.

The Water Page
This site is no longer operational but contains useful reference information. An independent initiative dedicated to the promotion of sustainable water resources management and use.  A particular emphasis is placed on the development, utilisation and protection of water in Africa and other developing regions.

Global-Mechanism Factsheets

Environment Programme / UNEP
Provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

Millenium Ecosystem Assessment / Maps and Grids / UNEP-GRID
Strengthening the link between scientific knowledge and decision-making.

Food and Agricultural Organization / UNFAO
This site on desertification aims: to assist national, regional and international stakeholders and networks involved in sustainable development of drylands and in particular in the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); and contains technical and scientific data and information, available at FAO, as well as links to a number of highly informative Web sites on desertification.

American Rivers
Through national advocacy, innovative solutions and our growing network of strategic partners, we protect and promote our rivers as valuable assets that are vital to our health, safety and quality of life.

Earth Policy Institute
Dedicated to building a sustainable future as well as providing a plan of how to get from here to there.

Endangered Species Coalition
The only organization that is dedicated one hundred percent to protecting our nation’s endangered species. As a guardian of the Endangered Species Act, the safety net for our nation’s wildlife, fish and plants on the brink of extinction, the coalition represents the millions of Americans dedicated to strong endangered species protections.

Friends of the Earth
Committed to fight daily to protect the rights all people to live in a safe and healthy environment – both at home or in countries around the world.

Global Water Policy Project
Promotes the preservation and sustainable use of Earth’s freshwater through research, writing, outreach, and public speaking.

Holistic Management International
Working with people around the world to heal damaged land and increase the productivity of working lands. Proven to work, even in drought, for over 23 years.

International Rivers Network
Protect rivers and defend the rights of communities that depend on them.

International Fund for Agricultural Development / IFAD
Specialized agency of the United Nations: established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference; organized in response to the food crises of the early 1970s that primarily affected the Sahelian countries of Africa; and established to finance agricultural development projects primarily for food production in the developing countries.

One of the most important insights emerging in advance of its creation was the realization that the causes of food insecurity and famine were not so much failures in food production but in structural problems relating to poverty and to the fact that the majority of the developing world’s poor populations were concentrated in rural areas.

Science Council of the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research)
Enhance and promote the quality, relevance and impact of science in the CGIAR, to advise the group on strategic scientific issues of importance to its goals and to mobilize and harness the best of international science for addressing the goals of the international agricultural research community.

World Wildlife Fund
Mission: conservation of nature. Using the best available scientific knowledge and advancing that knowledge where we can, we work to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth and the health of ecological systems.

Worldwatch Institute
Delivers the insights and ideas that empower decision makers to create an environmentally sustainable society that meets human needs. Worldwatch focuses on the 21st century challenges of climate change, resource degradation, population growth, and poverty by developing and disseminating solid data and innovative strategies for achieving a sustainable society.

Water – Decade Programme on Capacity Development / UNWater
Programme office aim is to strengthen the activities of the more than two dozen UN organisations and programmes already cooperating within the inter-agency mechanism known as UN-Water and to strengthen their activities and support them in their efforts to achieve the millennium goals related to water – not just as a matter of capacity development related to water but also of education, training and institutional development.

WaterWeb Consortium
Promote the sharing of information concerning water and the earth’s environment, this organization seeks to create a global community, bringing together educational, governmental, nonprofit, & commercial entities interested in water research, conservation, and management. Its goals are to advance water related issues, promote the use of quality information, and share information with water use stakeholders and decision makers. Links Database

BGR / Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources
Central geoscientific authority providing advice to the German Federal Government.

The U.S. Drought Portal
Part of an interactive system: to provide early warning about emerging and anticipated droughts; to assimilate and quality control data about droughts and models; provide information about risk and impact of droughts to different agencies and stakeholders; to provide information about past droughts for comparison and to understand current conditions; to explain how to plan for and manage the impacts of droughts; and to provide a forum for different stakeholders to discuss drought-related issues.

Research Network for Studies of Global Desertification.

Oregon State University / Institute for Water and Watersheds
Program aimed at supporting water conflict prevention and resolution in Oregon, across the United States and internationally.

Universities Partnership for Transboundary Waters
Striving to enhance cooperation in shared water basins, promoting a global water governance culture which balances social, economic, and ecological needs, and works toward peace and poverty alleviation through the provision of education & training, outreach & information resources, and coordinated applied research.


Articles & Publications


Facing the Weather Gods Scientific Report / Greenpeace
The impacts of Climate Change in Africa.
Although the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change are uniformly distributed in the atmosphere, this does not mean that impacts will be uniform across the globe. The continent of Africa is treated as a single region by the IPCC in its reports, though in reality it has a huge landmass with many distinct climatic zones ranging from moist tropical equatorial systems through seasonally arid tropical to sub-tropical (Mediterranean) climates.

Scientific Facts on Desertification

Facts About Deserts and Desertification

The World Bank / A comprehensive listing of all WB publications about Global Desertification

Climate Change Killed off Maya Civilization

Lessons From the Field – Boston Conservation
Sandra Postel for National Geographic
It’s hardly in a water-short region, so it may come as a surprise that Boston, Massachusetts, stands out as one of the biggest success stories in urban conservation in the United States.

Agricultural Policy White Paper
Nigeria: Umar Dahiru, Africa Desertification Control Initiative
Just because a country is capable of sustaining agricultural production, does not mean it will be able to successfully feed its people or establish agriculture as an export. This paper outlines the challenges in Nigeria. It can also be a blueprint for many other developing countries. Agriculture is regarded in Nigeria as the major employer of Labour for its citizens. A significant number of Nigeria’s citizens are engaged in one form of agricultural production or the other, be it crop, animal, fishery, etc., even though most of this productions are carried out at subsistence levels or rather low scale, it is mostly affected by inconsistent government policies on agriculture.

Climate Consensus
WSJ/Sept 03, 2009: Bjorn Lomborg’s Recipe to Save the World. Spraying clouds with drops of seawater to help them reflect the sun’s rays and keep global temperatures in check.

Changes in Climate and Water Availability Adding Stress and Costs to Global Electricity Sector
London, August 20, 2009: According to an Acclimatise global report, backed by IBM, nearly all electric utilities claim climate change is threatening power outages, higher costs and changes in usage as demand grows to power the world’s expanding cities.

World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development

Ethical Questions of Equitable Worldwide Food Production Systems

Unlocking the Water Potential of Agriculture

The 1st UN World Water Development Report: Water for People, Water for Life

The 2nd United Nations World Water Development Report: ‘Water, a shared responsibility’

Freshwater Biomes
Encyclopedia of the Earth

Guarani Aquifer System: Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development

Turning on the Tap: Is Water the Next Oil?
Harvard Business Review / Emmons, Garry 10/2005

Addressing Our Global Water Future
Sandia National Laboratories

Transboundary Water Resources Management

Non-Renewable Groundwater Development
UN University Press

Water Wars Looming / Overflowing Crisis in the Age of Water
Marks, William / excerpt from The Holy Order of Water

Transboundary River Floods: Vulnerability of Continents, International River Basins and Countries
Bakker, Marloes

Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Current State and Trends / Chapter 7: Fresh Water
Bos, Robert et al.

Securing the Future of Ground Water Resources in the Great Lakes Basin
Galloway, Gerald / Pentland, Ralph

Liquid Assets: The Critical Need to Safeguard Freshwater Ecosystems
Postel, Sandra / Mastny, Lisa - Worldwatch Institute

Deep Trouble: The Hidden Threat of Groundwater Pollution
Sampat, Payal - Worldwatch Institute

Israel, Jordon: Finding New Water Supplies
Ancient Problem – More Controversy
WashingtonPost: An acute water shortage has prompted Jordon and Israel to embark on audacious water-supply projects that supporters say will prevent an impending regional crisis but environmentalists have criticized as ill-advised attempts to rewire nature.

Emissions Linked to End of 2,000 Year Arctic Trend
Shifting Arctic Climate Patterns
WashingtonPost/adapted from an article in Science: Human-generated greenhouse gas emissions have helped reverse a 2,000-year trend of cooling in the Arctic, prompting warmer average temperatures in the past decade that now rank higher than at any time since 1 B.C., according to a study published Thursday in the online version of the journal Science.

Nature Conservation Helps Fight Climate Change
A single page press release from the Society for Conservation Biology offers a very succinct view on why it is in everyone’s interest to be proactive in conservation efforts – however large or small.

Millenium Assessment / Desertification Synthesis / Ecosystems & Human Well-Being
Desertification is a concept used to grasp the more acute forms of the degradation of land-based ecosystems and the consequences of the loss of their services. Drought is the silent killer – the natural catastrophe that is only too easily forgotten. Experience shows that awareness of the implications of desertification and drought must be expanded and that policy orientation must be backed by robust monitoring systems and related findings. The Desertification Synthesis, based on a sound summary of scientific evidence, states that desertification must imperatively be addressed to meet the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations. Desertification must be fought at all levels, but this battle must ultimately be won at the local level. The following is a list of the eight Millenium Development Goals.

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

When Green Means More Green
Rising energy costs may be good news for ‘Clean Tech’ firms and their Investors. This article from the Wharton School suggests that “the value of clean-tech firms isn’t supported by factors that could disappear quickly. Rather, it’s driven by forces — high energy prices and global warming — that could endure for decades.”

Land Subsistence / Human-Induced Ground Collapse
Groundwater is among a nation’s most important natural resource. Land subsidence is a gradual settling or sudden sinking of the Earth’s surface owing to subsurface movement of earth materials. Subsidence is a global problem. Learn about how human behavior contributes to this global problem.

Land Subsistence from Groundwater Pumping
Overdrafting of aquifers is the major cause of subsidence in the southwestern United States, and as groundwater pumping increases, land subsidence also will increase.

How 3-Regions are Coping with Aquifers & Rivers Running Dry
Parts of the US/UK/Australia are experiencing peak water in rivers and aquifers. Even though the world is not running out of freshwater – the same amount exists today as existed for millions of years, the problems that are occurring in these 3 regions are just examples of what is occurring throughout many regions of the world.