Published On: Wed, Jun 15th, 2016

How Climate Change Affects Food Supplies

“The hottest season on record” is becoming a popular term on meteorology reports across the world, and experts predict that climate change show no signs of slowing down. Harsher weather and fewer rains affect everything from how you spend your time to how you eat. Perhaps one of the most serious impacts is the way you grow food. As the climate changes, so must the way farmers around the world grow their crops.

Climate Change and Growing Crops

Each summer, the weather gets warmer and the insects come out in droves. Pests such as this pose a threat to crops, and even worse, many of them are becoming immune to traditional methods of protecting our food from them. They are surviving longer, reproducing more, and even able to survive outside of their previous comfort zones. For example, insects once found only in southern regions may become visible further north as temperature patterns change.

How Climate Change Affects Food Supplies

It’s not just pests that threaten crops, unfortunately. With fewer rains comes a lessened ability to farm crops that depend on the rain. The result may seem simple–just water them more. However, in areas where water is scarce, this may not be a viable option. Even in places where it is an option, farmers can expect to pay much higher costs due to more water usage.

Arability can also be expected to decrease. Higher temperatures mean many crops no longer grow well in what was once their prime locations. A crop that grows in Mexico now may not grow as well in 10 years, when the average temperature of the area is higher. While the simple solution may seem to be simply to move the crops north, the soil in northern areas does not have the same nutrients and may yield smaller crops or no crops at all.

Reduced yields mean less food, of course, a serious problem when you consider the population is expected to grow by more than 2 billion people over the next couple of decades. On the other hand, it has also been predicted that up to 25 percent of global crops could be lost in the same time frame. This combination spells disaster.

It isn’t just crops that are at risk, either. Heat waves cause serious repercussions for livestock such as cattle and pigs, and even fisheries are in danger of losing much of their supply if methods to combat the problem are not found in time.

What Can Be Done to Combat the Climate’s Effect on Food Sources?

Food production, especially related to meats, actually causes more greenhouse emissions and contributes to the problem of climate change. Many experts suggest that we’d have more sustainable food sources if more people switched to vegetarian and vegan diets. However, many experts also point out that most people do not want to change their diets and that this method of combatting climate change is not viable because of that reluctance.

Other experts have suggested the use of cruelty-free methods of “growing” meat, which would mean fewer livestock farms and freed space to focus instead on growing more crops that can survive in current and future climates. However, this method would depend highly on biotech, a term that sends many people running.

One of the most sustainable methods of combatting climate change and saving our food supply is to learn to grow our crops indoors, something many cities have already started doing. Growing food indoors with LED lights allows farmers to control when crops receive lights, what temperatures they are exposed to, and how often they receive water. This control, coupled with the indoor setting, would allow for year-round growing of crops.

Companies on the Cutting Edge

Many companies are already working to find new ways to produce the foods people have come to love. One such company is Hamptoncreek Foods. The founders, scientists, chefs, and plant experts that make up this up-and-coming business focus on finding plants and creating a database not only of where they currently grow, but where they could grow in the future and how they could be used to replicate other crops or food sources. They have already created a line of condiments and cookie products that people are raving about, and they expect to make many more products in the future.

No matter where you live in the world, and whether you are an omnivore or stick solely to leafy greens, there is no doubt that climate change will affect your food supply in the future, if it hasn’t already. Luckily, experts all over the world are working diligently to find fixes and create ways to grow versatile crops and keep up with the growing population.

About the Author

- Paul Linus is an eminent online journalist who has been writing news, features and editorials on different websites from across the world for about a decade.