U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said last weekend that drought and devastation were threatening the livelihoods of more than a billion people in 110 countries. On Sunday (World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, to those in the know), the U.N. Environment Programme blamed humans as the main cause of desertification. It cited agriculture, grazing, and climate change as big-time contributors to the problem. Half of Africa’s arable land has been lost to desertification. China’s government promised to step up its efforts to fight desertification, which has claimed more than a quarter of the country’s land.