No Bread Today!

The future of global food production is under threat, due to rising temperature, droughts, soil erosion, overfishing and other factors. Our capacity to feed the world’s population will be at risk. In 2018 droughts have caused a significant decline in food production in Brandenburg, with further losses expected this year.

The future of food production is under serious threat. Rising temperatures, soil erosion, overfishing and other factors mean our ability to feed ourselves will soon be at risk1.

As the planet heats up, droughts, soil degradation, salinated water supplies and extreme weather events will become more frequent; putting severe pressure on crop production2. As you can imagine, the worst-hit areas will initially be poorer countries that are already struggling to sustain themselves3.

But the problem isn’t limited to just impoverished regions of the world, the West will also be affected. In 2018, droughts caused a significant decline in food production in Brandenburg, with more expected this year4. To make matters worse, insects are being wiped out at an alarming rate – and their populations are already threatened with collapse5. These losses, particularly of vital pollinators, will further undermine the complex biological systems that we all rely on6.

As if that wasn’t enough, global fish stocks are also threatened by overfishing7. This problem will intensify as rising CO2 levels acidify the oceans. Add to this the collapse of coral reef systems and the threat from algal blooms, and we’re facing barren seas. Freshwater systems, such as lakes and rivers, will be affected too8. Put simply, the fish that millions of people rely on won’t be there anymore.

If we can’t feed ourselves, we’re in deep trouble. Without radical, immediate action, our capacity to support the world’s population will be seriously undermined – and starving people are desperate people indeed. At this rate, we’re staring into a very hungry future.

References

  1. Carrington, 8 Aug. 2019, Climate crisis reducing land’s ability to sustain humanity, says IPCC, The Guardian, London, United Kingdom. ↩︎

  2. IPCC Special Report, 2019, IPCC Special Report on Climate Change, Desertification, Land Degradation, Sustainable Land Management, Food Security, and Greenhouse gas fluxes in Terrestrial Ecosystems., IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland. ↩︎

  3. Wheeler & Von Braun, 2013, Climate change impacts on global food security, Science 341(6145):508-513. ↩︎

  4. Deter, 23 Jul 2019, Brandenburg: Erntemengen bei Getreide variieren regional zum Teil erheblich, top agrar, Münster, Germany. ↩︎

  5. Sánchez-Bayo et al., 2019, Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers., Biological conservation 232:8-27. ↩︎

  6. Carrington, 10 Feb 2019, Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature, The Guardian, London, United Kingdom. ↩︎

  7. Pinsky & Byler, 2015, Fishing, fast growth and climate variability increase the risk of collapse, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 282(1813):20151053. ↩︎

  8. Diaz et al., 2019, Summary for policymakers of the global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services – unedited advance version Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service. ↩︎