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 temperature, 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 prolongs the season which pests are active and enables 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 favours 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.
– Animals are faced with severe heatwaves. This has caused heat stress which reduces their overall productivity.
– With drought, there’s shortage of food for livestock and there’s no water to grow grains and forage crops.
– Increasing temperatures also favours growth and spread of animal pest and diseases.
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– The ocean is acidifying due to absorption of carbon dioxide in large concentrations. With this, the water becomes un-livable for fishes and other sea creatures. Some migrate, some die off. This leads to 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 fishes. They provide habitat to about 25% of all marine life. With their habitats gone, there’s trouble for everyone.
With climate change favouring pest, ocean acidifying, 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.
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.