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Drylands can be found on every continent, covering about 32 percent of the Earth’s terrestrial surface, but things weren’t always that way.

In a 30-minute span, John D. Liu, founder and director of the Environmental Education Media Project, tries to figure out what changed, talking to people in dry parts of Asia and Africa who can remember when they were surrounded by grass and plenty of water to drink and even swim in. Now, Asia has the most dryland area on the planet, with nearly 7 million square miles. Drylands cover nearly half of Africa, too.

The Earth Focus segment features Liu questioning if it’s too late to rehabilitate our damaged, large-scale ecosystems.

“Seventy percent of the world’s drylands have been degraded,” Liu said. “Hundreds of millions of people farm for survival and degrade fragile environments, and this is expected to worse with climate change and population growth. The fate of these people and the fate of the environment are intimately intertwined.

“If this goes on for yet more decades and generations, the outcomes will become more and more dire. This is a problem begging for a solution.”

EARTH FOCUS airs every Thursday at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT) on Link TV—channel 375 on DIRECTV and channel 9410 on DISH Network. Episodes are also available to watch online at linktv.org/earthfocus.

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