Advancing Africa Advertise Freely Climate Change Eating & Drinking Floodstorm Food Insecurity Freshwater Stress Genetic Muddyfixation Global Warming Health Impacts Incalculable Disaster Neverending Disaster Science Rules Social Change The Data

Hungry for Change

People often talk about the weather in relation to Climate Change, but neglect to talk about the possible obvious and inevitable side-effects – hunger and starvation.

Frontline Club will screen the film “The Hunger Season” on 1st October 2010, and follow it with a panel discussion hosted by BOND and Oxfam UK :-—the-hunger-season.html?utm_source=Frontline&utm_campaign=074ce4510f-Announcing+October+events&utm_medium=email

“Across the world a massive food crisis is unfolding. 
Climate change, increasing consumption in China and India, the dash for Biofuels are causing hitherto unimagined food shortages and rocketing prices. This has already provoked unrest and violence from the Middle East to South America and there is no end in sight in the coming months. The people who are going to be most sorely affected are those already living on the razors edge of poverty, those dependent on food aid for their very survival. As commodity prices have risen by 50%, the UN Agencies have barely half the budget they need to meet the needs of 73 million hungry people they are currently feeding…”

Biofuel targets may not be the only factor behind food price rises :-

“In The Great Hunger Lottery, the World Development Movement has compiled extensive evidence establishing the role of food commodity derivatives in destabilising and driving up food prices around the world. This in turn, has led to food prices becoming unaffordable for low-income families around the world, particularly in developing countries highly reliant on food imports. Nowhere was this more clearly seen than during the astonishing surge in staple food prices over the course of 2007-2008, when millions went hungry and food riots swept major cities around the world. The great hunger lottery shows how this alarming episode was fueled by the behaviour of financial speculators, and describes the terrible immediate impacts on vulnerable families around the world, as well as the long term damage to the fight against global poverty…”

And there is not always a direct link between more rainfall and more flooding – check the article and discussion here :-

“Wednesday, 15 September, 2010 : Does more extreme rainfall mean more flooding? Answer: Not always : Guest blog post by Lee Tryhorn and Stephen Shaw. : An extremely challenging aspect of present-day climate research is associated with the prediction of regional climate change impacts. That’s what everyone wants to know – how will climate change affect me? People are not directly affected by the global mean temperature. They care about the temperature, rainfall, and wind where they are. This blog post is the first in a series aimed at exploring what the local impacts to climate change might look like in different areas of the globe. A common sound bite associated with climate change is that with the expected increase in extreme rainfall events, we can expect more flooding. Recent work at Cornell University looking at inland flood risk in New York State suggests that this is not always the case…”

Some believe that food insecurity shouldn’t bother us so much – but that it will be the food giants that keep us alive rather than smallholdings. Wonder if Michael Tobis was thinking about the world’s majority farmers here, or just the pampered twenty percent ? :-

“…I want to talk about the Future Salad. I am really not worried about my 3000 mile salad, as I’ve explained a couple of times before. If there’s any civilization at all, getting the energy to move food around will not be a problem. Food is light and valuable; energy costs per unit are not about shipping…Now, I’ve seen nothing anywhere about year over year variability outside the ENSO question. So NOTE THAT THIS IS SPECULATION. But it seems to me that the faster things change, the more climate transients we will experience. This is sort of a natural extrapolation from a systems engineering perspective. There’s no guarantee in nonlinear systems, but in a typical linear system, the more it is pushed out of equilibrium, the more ALL MODES are excited, including modes that may not matter much in natural conditions. That means all the real oscillations famous, obscure and unknown on any scale that has a “memory”, i.e., components with state persistent over multiple years. I am a bit surprised that I haven’t come across anybody addressing this question. (I have half an idea why. Consider which subculture’s turf this would naturally fall upon.) I’d appreciate any correction on this front, either about somebody already having looked at this, and/or whether it’s a reasonable expectation. Suppose my hunch is right, though. The problem is that it won’t be all that cheap to grow a tomato. Why? Because nobody will know when and where to plant the thing. Frank Dobie quotes an old Texas saying that “Texas has no climate, only weather”. And as the rest of the world becomes more like Texas, the whole concept of climate will get swamped by the concept of climate change. You won’t know from one year to the next what to expect. You will plant the wrong stuff at the wrong time in the wrong place and the wrong stuff will fall out of the sky onto it…”

And finally…I couldn’t resist including this quote :-

“…chocolate is a safe haven in uncertain economic times…”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.