Environment & Climate Change

Rethinking Climate Change Chaos and the Food Security Question: What is the linkage?

What is the future of food in a climate changing world?

As the earth grows warmer and warmer, there is a concern if the promise of food sustainability will be kept continuous by our leaders and policy makers. The question of climate change is raising scientists’, politicians’, policy maker’s (among others)  eyebrows. Are humans trailing, slowly but surely, towards a tipping point of no return- The End? Along with other experts, James Hansen, who is a former Senior Climate Scientist at NASA, is reported by The Guardian to have stated that “2016 temperature is likely to be 1.25C above pre-industrial times, following a warming trend where the world has heated up at a rate of 0.18C per decade over the past 45 years.” This is based on the notion that we have “the highest concentration of CO2 since the Pliocene era 3m years ago.” In effect, local farmers’ ability to predict rains in places such as the sub-Saharan region for the past few years have been in a crisis which has altered too, the planting seasons.

Is climate change altering our agricultural systems?

But why food and food security? A healthy mind is a health body…and so it starts with food (from when one is still the womb) before other factors come in to contribute. Without food and (water), where would humans be? And can you have food in naturally inhabitable environment? Locating how food production or the food chain operates is key in understanding where the geopolitics of the world today is shifting. The upsurge of food aid in post World War II economies from the West (US mainly) in some African/Asian countries and the exchange of food from US to Oil giant economies in the MENA region depicts how food can also be used as a political weapon. Without food, politicians would worry that this might cause another ‘Arab Spring’. However, this does not depict what happens below the surface of food production till it reaches us in local supermarkets a lot of food waste still takes place. Today, there is a calling for agricultural [green] revolution which has not only improved the yields and availability of food in the world but underneath, lies the question of: ‘at what cost’?

Can we have enough nutritious food to feed the world? The Question of food security in changing climate.

Most modern agricultural technologies continue  the use of pesticides, which not only have an impact on the environment, but on humans as well. The depletion of soil in many countries’ countryside is quite alarming. Local people have been left without traditional food security means, and are now forced to rely on the  ‘junk food’ market which is romanticized to be a full nutrition pack in a single plate. Countries are being forced to import food from well-to-do countries in order to sustain their population. This has not come without its severe health conditions such as undernourishment, diabetes, and hypertension, like in the cases of Brazil and many other developing countries. Unfortunately, Lebanon, the country I will be staying in for a few years, is not independent of all this.


Projected climate change on yields around the world

By Ibrahim Bahati

Ibrahim Bahati is a MasterCard Scholar at The American University of Beirut studying an Msc in Rural Community Development. Ibrahim is also a recent Global People's Summit Fellow (2018).

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