Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Climate Change & Global Food Security
Who'd a thunk trees would be the answer?
"Sahara" by artist Angela Vandenbogaard
What happens to food production as temperatures warm?
Climate change models suggest that some of the highest impact will be in southern Africa. Given that hunger is already a significant problem there, this outcome is tragic. Between rising temperatures and coastal land loss to rising sea levels, food production levels will likely plummet. What can we do? How can we prepare to feed a growing world with a reduced agricultural land base?
Below is a fascinating discussion about the impacts of climate change on food security, sponsored by the Open Society Institute. The first few minutes, the speakers discuss the climate change models and some predictions of devastation - particularly in the hunger-ridden South Africa. The rest of the clip, however, explains a healing revolution in agriculture that can have profound effects for adapting to climate change. In Niger and Somalia, South Africa, farmers are nurturing trees in the midsts of their fields. How? The forest act like a pump. When air comes across the field, the trees cool it about 10 degrees. The roots aerating the soil, hold water, leads to raised water tables, and disrupt soil erosion. Their leaves stop the wind from eroding soil and blowing seeds away, and the trees provide mulch. This doubles and triples production, and has ended the loss of children to hunger in the areas where this agricultural tactic is utilized! A simple, effective alternative to genetically modified agriculture and high tech proposals.
This a visually boring video clip, but I figured you could listen to the audio in the background while you multi-task on another screen.
By the way, OSI is funded by the very controversial George Soros, about whose political impact we hear so much. I liked learning about the ways Soros is contributing to social issue problem-solving outside of the political arena.
The Adaptation Imperative-Food Security and Climate Change Open Society Institute
See more work by Angela Vandenbogaard here: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=21665