Combatting desertification has been global challenge today, as it severely reduces the earth's capacity, causing more environmental and social-economic issues to human beings, including deforestation, water scarcity, food security, forced migration and political instability. Desertification in China is an especially urgent task, as it feeds 19% of the world's total population while having more than 25% of its land in the desertified conditions. 

 

Ant Forest is a mini app embedded in China’s largest online payment software Alipay. Launched in 2016, it has motivated half a billion users to digitally and collectively combat desertification by planting 122 million trees which cover over an area of 112,000 hectares and avoid 7.9 million tons of carbon emission. As users accumulate virtual points by adopting a low-carbon lifestyle, such as taking buses, walking, and paying bills online, their points will be converted to different species of trees planted in some of China’s most arid regions by Ant Forest and its NGO partners.

In this, I created a scroll of abstract dots and shades, corresponding to the real data of combating desertification effort in Mu Us Desert, Kubuqi Desert, Taklamakan Desert. The clustering brushstrokes are extracted from the remote sensing data processed from Earth Explorer and calculated as normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) which shows a vibrant land cover change in those desertified regions. Transforming the geographic information data into the dots and shades of the sweeping greenness happened during the past three years, I intended to spread the word of our changing climate and environment through this panoramic landscape painting inspired from the One Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains (千里江山图) by the legendary Chinese painter Ximeng Wang (王希孟)during the Song Dynasty.