Climate change and food security?
Well, it’s no news that the climate is changing. Climate change is not a new thing. It’s already happening and has affected us on so many levels. With all the increasing temperatures, change in rainfall patterns, increasing carbon dioxide concentration, and many more, there’s bound to be a change in our food system, access to food, and food quality.
Let’s look at it on different fronts.
– Just like you and I, plants can only tolerate heat to a certain level. With warming, there’s more heat. This heat drives ozone production which impairs plant growth and damage leaves.
– The warm temperatures also prolong the season in which pests are active and enable their spread to higher elevations. With this happening, our food crops don’t stand a chance.
– Weeds aren’t left out either. The increasing temperature also favors their growth and distribution and new species are rising.
– On another side, there’s flooding and drought happening and our food crops don’t stand a chance either way. With drought, there’s no water to grow crops and with flooding the water is in excess
– In areas experiencing drought, the soil becomes more dry making it difficult to till and grow crops. Less water is available for irrigation.
– With more carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere, research has shown that exposure to increasing levels of carbon dioxide can decrease the nutrient content of staple crops. More people will be faced with zinc and protein deficiency.
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– Animals are faced with severe heat waves. This has caused heat stress which reduces their overall productivity.
– With drought, there’s a shortage of food for livestock and there’s no water to grow grains and forage crops.
– Increasing temperatures also favors the growth and spread of animal pests and diseases.
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– The ocean is acidifying due to the absorption of carbon dioxide in large concentrations. With this, the water becomes un-livable for fish and other sea creatures. Some migrate, and some die off. This leads to a reduction in population.
Now have it at the back of your mind that the fish population is already declining due to overfishing and death from oil spills and toxic chemicals. Climate change is now added to the list.
– The acidity has also led to the bleaching of reefs. Coral reefs are habitats for fish. They provide habitat to about 25% of all marine life. With their habitats gone, there’s trouble for everyone.
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With climate change favoring pests, ocean acidification, and so on, there is pressure on food sources. Global food security is threatened. There’s an increase in food price and food distribution and transportation is affected. In regions where food is scarce, climate change is adding more fuel to the fire.
A lot of people will be pushed towards unhealthy diets. There’s a big dietary shift to the next available option which is highly processed and caloric foods which isn’t the right choice. With this comes nutritional deficiencies and other diseases.
This Post Has 5 Comments
Such an interesting read! & a really important topic. It’s definitely something that needs to be discussed more, so thanks for sharing!
I didn’t know that climate changes affected us this much, I’m happy i saw this
I have just done an intern project on effects of elevated Co2 and O3 on plants,these effects are true, but the mechanism is complicated. co2 increase the productivity but protein content decreases, this is due to more carbon assimilation i.e, more energy is made due to more co2, where as O3 is toxic and cause injury and membrane dysfunctions.
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