I have been brainstorming a lot about this post because I want it to be impactful. I’ve actually come up with a lot of other blog post ideas, but they just weren’t quite right for the collective! I was looking through all of the Climate Change Collective posts we have collectively written about. We have covered a lot of topics. So I was trying to think of something different, but something that is important in our everyday life. I have decided to write about the impact climate change has on food security and what we can and should do about it.
It reminded me that I have been passionate about food security, waste and growing our own for a long time. I remember watching a video on green beans grown in Kenya which the farmers were forced to throw out due to their faults. I remember thinking about how they are growing food for us in the UK, and having to throw away the imperfect vegetables when I’m sure they would happily eat them! Luckily since then (2016) we have moved on a bit and now imperfect vegetables are being sold.
I like to go to the supermarket and pick out the imperfect fruits or vegetables to ensure that they do not get wasted. I just think the whole ‘imperfect food’ thing is ridiculous. It doesn’t taste any different if there’s any change, it is often cheaper in supermarkets.
How will food security be affected by climate change?
Did you know that most people will face food security by 2050? (Met Office, n.d). We often think that it won’t affect us. But in 2020 the UK had a 40% reduction in wheat grown due to heavy rainfall and droughts (DEFRA, 2020). A lot of the factors affecting food security are interlinked, take a look below.
As a result of climate change, the temperatures are expected to increase. This can be detrimental and some crops may be unable to grow in hotter conditions. This is likely to happen in countries close to the equator or in tropical regions. It then has the additional impact of job loss. There may be a shift in which countries grow what crops as each country begins to shift in what is suitable to their climate.
An increase in sea temperature causes acid rain, and for hurricanes to be more frequent and intense.
Extreme weather events
Extreme weather coincides with temperature increases as this can impact the frequency and strength of extreme weather. As I wrote earlier, droughts and floods have already had an impact on the UK wheat production, and we are of a more northern latitude. Some rice paddy fields are maintained by river floods and rainfall during monsoon season. A drought would have a huge impact on our rice consumption.
Extreme weather events already damage and destroy a lot of places. But with the increased frequency and strength, countries may be less prepared and their defences may become weaker. An extreme weather event such as a hurricane damages places, which in turn will ruin crops and livestock.
The global population is expected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050 (United Nations, 2023)! The population is currently 8.1 billion people. With more people, there will be less food available.
Sea level rise
Sea level rise will cause some agricultural land to have higher salinity levels from seawater incursion. Excess salt levels cause crop failure. It would contaminate groundwater, so more energy would be used to desalinate it. Coastal areas are likely to be affected the most, with some areas disappearing completely. The higher sea level will have an impact on the strength of storm surges as well.
What can we do?
The lack of food is likely to increase the prices which have already increased lately! Hunger and increased prices cause conflict which leads to even more issues. So, we need to make some changes to try and reduce these impacts of food insecurity.
Support sustainable agriculture
Sustainable agriculture is the way forward to ensuring food security. Growing drought or flood-resistant crops can help mitigate climate change effects. Growing a variety of crops will mean that they aren’t all destroyed if an extreme weather event occurs.
Try and support farms that feed the local community, you could even volunteer!
Continue reading: The impact climate change has on food security and how to help.
Reduce food waste
A lot of food across the world is wasted because of poor storage. If there was a better storage system, less food would be wasted and more available for other people. We have become too focused on the perfection of food, and so food with flaws is wasted.
There are lots of ways to reduce your food waste, check out the blog post I wrote here.
Grow your own food
Growing your own food is a way to ensure food is on your plate, especially organic food! There are so many other benefits to growing your own including eating in season and reducing food miles. I have had homegrown vegetables for as long as I can remember, and last year I started to grow some of my own.
There are loads of vegetables you can grow. I would recommend starting with carrots which require little maintenance, just thin them out to grow bigger carrots. They take longer than you would expect to grow, but are very tasty and can get big! Another easy vegetable to grow is chard, my favourite is rainbow chard. I planted some in July and it is still going strong now.
I will be writing a blog post soon on more vegetables that are easy to grow!
Find my fruit and vegetable seasonal guides here:
- UK seasonal fruit and vegetables in Autumn
- UK seasonal fruit and vegetables in Winter
- UK seasonal fruit and vegetables in Spring
- UK seasonal fruit and vegetables in Summer
Go vegetarian or vegan
Animal agriculture uses 75% of farmland in the world (Poore and Nemeck, 2018). If the land was used for growing vegetables, there would be enough food. And even if not everyone became vegetarian or vegan, it would still reduce the amount of land needed. Realistically not everyone is going to go vegetarian or vegan, but we need to at least try to reduce our meat and dairy consumption. Soybeans are often grown for livestock feed for us to eat them. It would require a lot less time, money and resources if we ate the soybeans.
A few ideas:
- Make Monday’s meatless
- Incorporate a new vegetarian/vegan form of protein into your meals e.g. bean stew instead of beef stew
- Next time you are at Starbucks, order your drink with vegan milk. A dairy alternative is at no extra cost
Related post: 8 reasons to go vegetarian
Fairtrade farmers are supported with fair pay, and they use sustainable farming methods. The price is a bit higher, but it ensures that they have a good quality of life and some of the money gets reinvested in the local community.
You can read more in this blog post: Why you should choose Fairtrade products
This blog post is just an overview of the food security issue. Read a book or watch a documentary to learn more! And not just food security, but climate change in general. I know I’ve mentioned this book a lot, but The Future We Choose is my favourite climate book, and it is easy to read. It’s not jam-packed with scientific words and facts, but instead with doable actions.
About the Climate Change Collective
The Climate Change Collective came about through a conversation between Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader) and Jamie (Jamie Ad Stories). We are a group of like-minded bloggers, concerned about climate change and wanting to make a difference. Each month, one member of the group writes a blog post associated with climate change. This month I am writing about food security. Previously I wrote about how climate change impacts animals. Read all of the posts here.
Were you aware of the impact that climate change has on food security? What will you be doing to help?