Across the United States, the last few months have brought along many climate-linked disasters. From surging wildfires in Hawaii
to record-breaking Pacific Northwest heat waves
to drought across the western states
. The southwestern states also have seen heavy rains that resulted in flash flooding events
The number of people facing acute food insecurity has hit a five-year high, according to a recently released annual report
by the Global Network Against Food Crises (GNAFC)
- an international alliance of the United Nations, the European Union, governmental and non-governmental agencies working to tackle food crises. In addition, the report noted that 28 million people were one step away from starvation. This was attributed to conflict, economic shocks due to COVID-19 and climate change associated weather events.
Recently, I participated in a Congressional hearing on the “Effects of climate change in Africa”, before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and Internal Organizations
, chaired by Congresswoman, Karen Bass.
Recently, I participated in Kids Climate Summit 2021
, a virtual event that gave younger students an opportunity to take a stance on climate change, express their concerns, and learn about global climate and the actions we all can take to mitigate climate change.
Over a month ago, the world celebrated the International Day of Women and Girls in Science
. But the celebrations ring hollow when there’s still been no meaningful progress in the representation of women in the research sciences field. At present, less than 30 percent
, of scientific researchers worldwide are women, a percentage that has been the same for almost a decade.
The White House, under the Presidency of Joe Biden just released an Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains
stating the country needs to have resilient, diverse and secure supply chains to ensure economic prosperity and national security. Among the acknowledged threats that can reduce the resilience of America’s supply chains include climate change and extreme weather events.
On the first day, hours after inauguration of the new Biden-Harris administration
, President Biden signed an Executive Order-rejoining the United States in the Paris Climate Accord
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity and disrupted food systems and food supply chains in developed and developing countries alike. In the United States, millions of Americans struggle to put food on the table
. Around the world, according to the United Nations over 270 million are hungry
, and this is expected to continue to increase.
Food insecurity across the U.S. continues to be on the rise because of the effects of COVID-19. According to Feeding America, over 50 million Americans will experience food insecurity, including 17 million children
This year, the Nobel Peace Prize recognised the inextricable link between hunger and conflict. With climate change as a further complicating factor, research, investment, and coordination with local farmers are critical for ensuring food security for all.
Recent months have brought all sorts of climate-linked disasters, from raging wildfires
in California and Oregon to flooding
in Alabama. As we think of the incalculable losses that are associated with these extremities linked to the changing climate, I cannot help but think of the belowground web of life that is burning, being flooded and washed away, affected, or lost.
Recently, the UK contributed £17 million to support the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
to continue their efforts to combat the desert locust surge in East Africa
and improve early warning and forecasting systems.
African countries are beginning to reopen borders
, and this is finally enabling many citizens to resume their normal life. However, there is still an urgent need for African countries to prioritize agriculture to tackle food insecurity issues that have been exacerbated by COVID and will continue to be an issue into the near future. According to the latest estimates by the United Nations World Food Programme
, COVID-19’s compounding effects could drive 270 million people into food insecurity.
During a crisis, such as the novel coronavirus
, whose impact changes with every passing minute, the urge to listen to and watch the news, and get firsthand insights and real time updates can be constant. Indeed, millions of Americans are frequently checking the news. I know I am. What I’ve noticed on three of the major TV stations I’ve watched across the day is the absence of diversity in the experts commenting on the pandemic. This is inexcusable.
Institutions of higher education have a responsibility to lead by example and to provide current, high-quality information to the people and communities that support them. This responsibility is no clearer than during a public health and information crisis like the one presented by this novel coronavirus.
Recently, the Associated Press cropped out
Ugandan climate change activist Vanessa Nakate from a photo at the World Economic Forum. The remaining activists in the photo, including Greta Thunberg, were all white.
United Nations World Food Program recently released 2020 Global Hotspots Report
. According to the report, millions of citizens from Sub-Saharan African countries will face hunger in the first half of 2020 for several reasons including conflict, political instability and climate-related events such as below-average rainfall and flooding.
Recently, Italy declared a State of Emergency
because of record-breaking flooding while on 11 November, it did not rain anywhere
on the continent of Australia, also breaking a record.
United Nations World Food Day is celebrated around the world on October 16 under the theme: “Our Actions ARE Our Future. Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World
”. This theme is timely, especially, because across Africa and around the world, there has been a gradual rise in malnutrition and diet-related non communicable diseases, as highlighted in The Lancet
study and a United Nations Report
published earlier this year.
Around the world, citizens took to the streets to demand their governments address climate change
. In the U.S., this widespread activism illustrates the findings of a newly released report
by the Chicago Council on Global affairs which found for the first time that the majority of Americans consider climate change a threat and the most critical foreign policy issue facing the country.
“It has never happened before,” is a sentence that is becoming excessively common in the news due to a changing climate where new extremes are becoming normal.