By Tania Valenzuela
With our ever growing population there is a higher demand for food, which is linked to higher use of fertilizers which includes nitrogen and phosphorus that could lead to many environmental effects. There is also an increase in demand in the actual transport and the land usage of countries globally. However I will not be going into depth about these factors but rather I will focus on the climate aspect of these harvests. More specifically the fact that agriculture is suffering overall due to inconsistent weather patterns and the intensity of current natural disasters. An example being the disaster that occurred during late 2015 to early 2016 when a strong El Niño contributed to regional shifts in precipitation in the Sahel region.
Globally we already have a food scarcity issue, 800+ million people suffer from malnourishment while 2 billion people suffer from being overweight/obese. It’s an issue that has a lot to do with accessibility, however as climate change begins to become a more apparent issue we see that the issue could deeply worsen. When these issues worsen and food scarcity worsens there is also the chance that food prices will rise. Areas that find themselves with hotter temperatures such as tropic areas or semi-tropical regions in which fruit is grown have seen a decline to crop survivability. Due to the heat stress fruit and vegetables tend to grow and mature quicker, this in turn leads to the product spoiling faster. In addition to this much of the product will be defected and fail to sell to the buyers. Grown produce isn’t the only thing being affected, pastures are facing difficulties as well.
With the rise in climate change we see that much vegetation such as trees and native plants are resulting in death. This leads to insects and animals to migrate to different areas in which the environment is better suited to live in. Pastures ultimately become victims to various invasive species. Not only has this fact affected pastures but land degradation also plays a huge role in the decline of security of pastures, “impacts in pastoral systems in Africa include lower pasture and animal productivity, damaged reproductive function, and biodiversity loss” (IPCC 2021). Finally water systems that pastures tend to rely on are seeming to dry up due the increase in temperature.
Although we may not think of these factors when we are buying our groceries or having dinner with a friend, it is an ongoing growing issue that needs to be mitigated. The IPCC for example has proposed the implementation of shorter supply chains. This leads to more local produce being consumed instead of shipping produce products from across the world. Although most people are well aware of climate change, its effects on food cultivation seem to be invisible.
“Chapter 5 : Food Security — Special Report on … – IPCC.” SPECIAL REPORT: SPECIAL REPORT ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND LAND FOOD SECURITY , https://www.ipcc.ch/srccl/chapter/chapter-5/.
Flavelle, Christopher. “Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 8 Aug. 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/climate/climate-change-food-supply.html.