Humanity is having a hard time feeding itself, and it is only expected to get worse thanks to the climate crisis. This comes from a new United Nations report presented on Aug. 8 that states the globe’s land and water resources are being misused at “unprecedented rates.”

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Written by more than 100 experts from 52 countries and released in summary in Geneva, the report said the time to address the threat is now.

Related: Biodiversity decline puts food supply at risk

The report warned that climate change will make threats worse, as floods, drought, storms and other extreme weather patterns threaten to diminish the global food supply. More than 10 percent of the world’s population is currently undernourished, and some authors of the report said food shortages may result in increased cross-border migration. Other report writers said food shortages will hit poorer communities much harder than affluent areas.

Food crises could form on a multiple continents at once, according to Cynthia Rosenzweig, a senior research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a lead author of the report. “The potential risk of multi-breadbasket failure is increasing,” she said. “All of these things are happening at the same time.”

The report mentioned higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will also reduce food’s nutritional quality, in addition to lowering crop yields and hurting livestock. These obstacles could become overwhelming for farmers, and the industry might fail at adjusting.

However, among the negatives, the report offered some hope and presented ways to address the possible food crisis, though a reevaluation of land use and agriculture worldwide would be needed, as well as a change in consumer behavior. Solutions include increasing land productivity, reducing food waste and encouraging meatless diets.

“One of the important findings of our work is that there are a lot of actions that we can take now. They’re available to us,” Rosenzweig said. “But what some of these solutions do require is attention, financial support, enabling environments.”

There is still time to turn things around, but it will require major changes in food production, soil and forest management, food distribution and consumer behavior.

+ United Nations

Via New York Times

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