Silk Road in the Age of Climate Change
The Silk Road was the world's first superhighway, a series of desert and mountain crossings that enabled silk to make its way from the ancient Chinese capital of Xian. The Silk Road allowed links between China and the West to flourish, encouraging an exchange of art, ideas and culture as well as trade. Desertification and drought has taken its toll on the Silk Road. The once great civilisations dotted along the road have now been consumed by the desert and the region is home to some of China's poorest people. The Silk Road is considered a climate hot spot, like the poles, where climate change is accelerating faster than in other areas. These changes include glaciers retreating at an alarming rate along the route. However, there is a twist to the story. Many parts of the Silk Road have exceptionally powerful wind resource locations. It is where China is now building massive wind farms and the renewable industry flourishes. Green factories are springing up everywhere along the route, most notably in Gansu and Xinjiang. The migrant workers who once traveled to Beijing for work have now returned home again to find new 'green' jobs.