Climate Change and Its Effects on Food

Hello All!

We’ve all been hearing about global warming and climate change more and more often in the recent years. Although some people, like the president of the United States have decided to deny the presence of global warming, or to underestimate its importance. Nevertheless, scientists around the world all agree that climate change is threatening the life of the future generations to come. Today, I would like to do a summary of the negative consequences of climate change on our food. I would also go over some personal lifestyle changes we can make to play our part in reducing our greenhouse gas emission.

An increase in the concentrations of the greenhouse gases leads to climate change. It is true that the temperature across the globe has been increasing. This increase has been causing the glaciers to melt much faster than usual. Overtime, many of the rivers that are fed from those glaciers will dry up. As a result, the farms that are using those rivers as irrigation for their crops will be destroyed, unless the farmers find alternative irrigation methods. In addition, the melting of the glaciers would cause a rise on the sea level, which can ruin the rice crops of the many Asian countries.

The increase in our globe’s temperature also brings drought, heat waves, and floods. It causes extreme temperatures at certain parts of the world. These extreme temperature are not necessarily extreme heat, but they can be extreme cold temperatures too. In areas more economically dependent on agricultural productivity (Asia, the middle east, sub saharan Africa), there will be greater reductions in yields of crops. Countries like the U.S, China, Canada, and within Europe that have contributed to the climate change by greenhouse gas emissions the most, are the ones being the least affected by it.

As individuals, we may not be able to change or control our government’s policies regarding its industrial activities, research funding for climate change, etc. We can, however, make small changes in our lifestyle to make sure we are doing our part in reducing our carbon footprint. We can take public transit more often than driving a car, we can make sure we turn off the lights that we don’t use or any electronic device that doesn’t need to be turned on. We can try to buy recycled and recyclable products that prevent deforestation, because forests have protective effects against greenhouse gases.

Now, I will go through the two more major and less known lifestyle changes that we can make for reducing our carbon footprint. Did you know that food waste decomposition contributes significantly to the production of greenhouse gas emissions?  Approximately ⅓ of all the produced food for humans is wasted. If food waste was a country, it would be the 3rd highest greenhouse gas emitter after USA and China! Not many people know or talk about this issue. Before trashing the leftover foods, we have other options including feeding animals, donating to food banks or directly to people in need, producing food oils, and creating nutrient-rich soil for farming. Fortunately, many countries are now going through the process of creating nutrient-rich soil by separating their garbage and using compost for their food leftovers. One last option, which is also the easiest option, is to try to understand the dietary needs of people in a household. If we know how much food to buy and make, we can make sure we fulfill everyone without creating a surplus that we end up trashing. It takes time, but it’s doable.

Last but not least, livestock production contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. Cows, pigs, chicken, sheep, turkey, etc. all need land, water, and constant transportation and processing. Cows directly produce a big amount of methane as a result of the fermentation of food in their bodies. The processing and storage of cow manure produces greenhouse gases, and so does the processing and transport of all the food for the animals. It is true that livestock may be the only source of food for people of certain areas, and that’s completely understandable. What about us though? I’m not a vegetarian. I eat meat, but I think that it’s important for us all to stop and think about how much meat we’re eating. We need iron, protein, zinc, and vitamin B12 everyday. Meat is the best source of all four. At the same time, consuming too much meat not only has environmental consequences, but also brings people different health problems such as heart disease. We need to have moderation in meat consumption. Research is showing that on average, the people of first world countries eat way more meat than they need. I limit my meat consumption to two or three times a week. I try to get my protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 from other sources on the days that I don’t eat meat. This way of eating is more than enough to protect my body against deficiencies. If more people start doing that, the demand and production of meat would decrease drastically overtime. Some people may inhibit all meat from their diet altogether, which is completely okay too.

All the points mentioned today are small, inexpensive, and easy ways we can try to reduce our individual participation in climate change. I hope you enjoyed reading today’s blog. Leave any questions or comments for me below in the comments section.

Until next time!


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