Moving Beyond Techno-Fixes: Climate Change, Hunger, and Malnutrition
As part of its presidency of the European Union, the government of Ireland hosted a conference earlier this month to explore the intersection of hunger, nutrition, and climate justice. The conference documents are all available online. The website lays out in stark terms the challenges faced:
“The world’s population is set to reach 9 billion by 2050, which will require a 60% increase in agricultural production if everyone is to be fed. Over the same period climate change, water scarcity and land degradation could reduce food production by one quarter, leading to further increases in the number of people suffering from hunger.
It is those who are already poor and vulnerable who will be worst affected, despite having contributed least to the causes of climate change. The global challenges of hunger, nutrition and climate justice are linked. To be credible, the global response must be based on a clear understanding of the rights and the reality of the lives of the people most affected, now and in the future. We need to move away from a business-as-usual approach to development if these global challenges are to be resolved in our lifetimes.”
The focus on the intersection of climate change and food production is critical. A video produced by the Irish Aid Center (see below) notes that “Changes to the global climate can be sudden, like storms, or gradual, like sea level rise. Either way, vulnerable people are put at a greater risk of being hungry or malnourished.”
It’s good to see greater attention being paid to adapting to climate change, particularly given the failure of mitigation efforts. It’s also good to see that the solutions discussed in the video (and hopefully at the conference) emphasize the complexity of responses rather than the traditional reliance on narrow technical solutions. Now if only we could incorporate such discussions into broader considerations of hunger and food production today….