Friday, January 23, 2015

The Future Lack of Food and It's Impact

As for environmental issues that I find the most catastrophic and problematic, food has to be one of them. Now food offers so many topics to be discussed in terms of the enviornment. Food justice and making sure that everyone has the access to healthy foods is an important one... but so is the use of GMOS or genetically modified organisms/foods. While both of those are also issues that we as a society need to discuss, I think that the more problematic aspect of food is that we seem to be negatively affecting it due to climate change. Crop yield is being heavily affected due to the random and uncontrolled variability in our climate. There have been multiple studies conducted that state that "climate variability historically accounts for one-third of yield variability for maize, rice, wheat and soybeans worldwide -- the equivalent of 36 cubic tons" (Science Daily Article See Link Below.) This means that there is 36 cubic tons of food that has the potential to NOT be grown and distributed. This information is currently being used by policy makers to try to come up with a solution to grow enough food for the public, stabilize the income of farmers, and still be very cheap. This is a hard task especially since there has been a recent push to boost food security across the globe.

Reserchers hope to use this information to find "hot spots" or places where they believe crops will still grow regardless of the climate conditions. This is problematic because the response to these hot spots will most likely be to over farm and suck all of the natural nutrients out of the ground to then supplement with chemically-based fertilizers. This of course would hurt these patches of land even more detrimentally than climate change because the only solution as of right now is to wait a couple decades until the nutrients return naturally; Unfortunately,  don't have decades to wait . We have a food crisis now that will be exasperated when we over farm on the only areas that we can get crops from.

So of course the next question is what to do. Policy makers have to worry about short term solutions as of right now, or else they will have thousands of people unable to eat healthy food -maybe even starve- because they are unable to feed them. My solution would to be to share food. If bigger countries with a lot of resources and money were to ship crops to countries that don't have as much- that would save so many people. We just need to work on working together and not for "our own." Sadly, my solution is unlikely to happen in the near future. Hopefully, policy makers will see that if they care for the short term as well as the long term the method that we are using right now will have catastrophic consequences that will be seen sooner rather than later.

Science Daily Article:

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