2050: Didier Sian – The Forester

What is your job? 

Secretary General of the Green Heart Foundation, an NGO, and Head of the Public Procurement Department at the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, and at the Ministry of Hydraulics, Sanitation and Healthiness in Côte d’Ivoire. In these roles, I work to reduce the temperature of the planet through my coordination of the mobilization of people from diverse backgrounds for the construction of the Great Green Wall, (GGW) a pan-African restoration and sustainable land management initiative in the Sahelo-Saharan region.

How are you helping cool the planet through your work? 

After the announcement of the project in 2005 by Heads of State, the Green Heart Foundation was the first organization to bring together young volunteers, and public and private organizations to make the GGW a reality. As a precursor to saving the planet, from 2006 to 2019, we mobilized 3,211 volunteers from over 25 countries to plant 1,220,515 trees on 5,398 ha. In 2022, we signed the agreement to create the World Center for Reforestation in Poland, which will help support the Great Green Wall and contribute to other reforestation projects around the world. By 2030, the restored surfaces will be able to sequester up to 313 million tons of CO2 equivalent contributing to cooling the planet.

What most surprised you about your job? 

The voluntary commitment of young people who set aside money and time to save the planet by reforesting Africa’s green wall. It is significant. As a result of their work, we have observed a rise in air temperature in the reforested localities of just 0.02°C — a tiny fraction of the 0.1°C to 0.2°C increase in the Sahel — as well as an increase in rainfall leading to a significant change in plant cover. The encouraging results of our work give me hope for improving the quality of living conditions on our planet.

What can we do to get more young people into public service?

By instilling in them, through training, eco-citizen values. This ​​is essential. The environmental crisis has an educational dimension. There is opportunity to put young people in contact with nature so that they learn to love and take care of it. They must be empowered through pragmatic initiatives to share experiences and develop their biosphere consciousness to make them ambassadors concerned about the viability of the planet. My love and respect for nature guided me to my current field of work.



20 People Helping Cool the Planet by 2050

Carolyn Whelan

Carolyn is a writer, editor and analyst who covers the nexus between business and social justice issues. She broke into journalism at the Rio Earth Summit where she interviewed Al Gore and environmental pioneer David Brower. Topics covered since then range from climate change and higher education costs to drugs pricing, geopolitical strife, business ethics, artificial intelligence, gene editing, alternative energy and the search for good jobs -- and innovation in all these areas. Her pieces, reported from Europe, the US and South America have appeared in Fortune, Newsweek, the International Herald Tribune, the Wall Street Journal and SciAm.com. Previously she worked for the Economist Intelligence Unit, Barrons.com, Columbia Business School, WWF, the UN and PwC. Carolyn is fluent in French and Spanish and resides in Brooklyn.

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