"..for that wind that made one a boy again...One could breathe that only on the bright edges of the world, on the great grass plains or the sagebrush desert." - Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop, 1927
It is fitting that we celebrate the drylands: their abundance, their cultures, their beauty and diversity. Drylands are among the most productive of ecosystems, and their people stand among the most resilient on the planet. Drylands are ecologically diverse, and economically important. They serve as the world's breadbasket and are home to more than one billion people.
We must also consider the plight of the drylands. As the world's nations work towards ratification and implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification, the drylands' heritage, beauty, and productivity are at risk. The traditional wisdom of drylands people is imperiled by the day-to-day struggle for survival. Soil degradation, loss of biodiversity, and the effects of climate change endanger the drylands and thus menace us all.