What will we eat when climate change disrupts traditional agriculture? In her new book, The Fate of Food, environmental journalist Amanda Little deals with a topic that we will all have to face in the near future as a result of climate change.
Heat waves, droughts and floods will radically transform our nutritional habits. What impact will that have on humanity? What will we eat? Where and how will the food be produced? How much will we pay for it? The author sought answers to those and similar questions in her new book.
In her interview with Vox, Little said: “Climate change is becoming something we can taste.” According to the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), by the middle of the century, global warming will reach the limit value at which agriculture as we know it today will no longer be able to supply humanity with food.
The author claims that disturbances of the food supply are already very much in evidence today: the extreme weather phenomena of recent years have destroyed olive groves in Italy, peach orchards in Georgia, USA, and avocado farms in Mexico. The trend may even lead to mass famines in the countries worst hit by climate change by the middle of the century.
There are many plants that react quite sensitively to changes in climate. It is expected that the first foods to disappear will include coffee beans, wine grapes, olives, cacao, berries, citrus fruits, avocados and stone fruits.
Humanity has got itself into this mess, says Little, but it is not too late to get ourselves out of it. A number of recent innovations seek to find solutions to the projected global food crisis. There are two main approaches to the problem: one of them envisages a future of technologically upgraded foods (such as artificial meat), while the other seeks to make the food industry simpler and to return to technologies in use prior to the industrial revolution.
From cacti through algae and vitamin-rich flowers to drought-resistant root vegetables, Knorr and WWF have compiled a list of 50 nutritious foods whose consumption would be more advantageous for human health, while their cultivation would benefit our planet relative to our present dominant food sources.
A number of fashion designers have reacted to climate change and its consequences with their collections shown at the Paris Fashion Week.
Clean water is a great treasure, yet we waste a lot of it for no good reason: for instance, a dripping tap can waste up to 75 litres per day. It is our obligation to save water: it leaves more for others, and we can also save money.
The fashion industry is one of the most harmful for the environment: it wastes water, pollutes the air, encourages overconsumption, wastefulness and also produces massive quantities of waste. The damage caused by the monthly replacement of fast fashion collections on the shelves of fashion stores would fill a very long list. But how can we counteract it?
Most people are aware that any unnecessary calories we ingest are detrimental to our health, but few consider that food consumed in excess of our real needs – and the energy, water and other resources used for its production – is of little utility, it is practically wasted.
The textile industry is one of the most polluting industries of all: it produces microfibres and chemicals and uses huge quantities of water while making 150 billion new articles of clothing every year. The environmental load caused by the fashion industry causes inestimable damage, and the best way to counteract that is to choose clothing made of more sustainable textiles. But where are they?
Food waste is a growing problem in developed countries. Massive amounts of perfectly edible food is thrown away because of merely aesthetic blemishes. The psychological factor behind the phenomenon is disgust, which may apply in relation to edible insects, as well. That attitude ought to be reconsidered from a climate protection perspective.
In recent years, a new concept related to environmental pollution has gained wide-ranging recognition: microplastics. The term denotes pieces of plastic smaller than 5 mm resulting from the break-up of plastic items. During washing, clothing made of synthetic fibres sheds many microfibres that pollute our waters and damage our environment.
A BBC article suggests that people’s personal responsibility doesn’t stop at reducing car traffic: eating and shopping habits must also be rethought.
Pope Francis urged people to change their lifestyles and to take concrete action instead of empty words in his message communicated on the Fifth World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, issued to young people raising their voice for the environment on 1 September.