A few weeks ago, my husband and I drove from Illinois to Iowa to visit a friend. I was excited about my over 5 hours’ drive. Sadly, 60 minutes into the drive, my excitement fiddled out. I was bored. Field after field, as far as my eyes could see, all I saw was either corn or soybean. I also noticed that the field margins were empty-with no sight of wildflowers.
Across the U.S., and around the world, extremes in weather patterns, from drought
to excessive heat
to flooding to wildfires
to outbreaks of insect pests and disease have become frequent and are predicted to continue to become more intense because of climate change, and the warming of our planet.
Recently, the United States Department of Agriculture granted a conditional license for the first-ever honeybee vaccine
. This is an exciting step that will protect bees from American foulbrood disease and ultimately help to stop the alarming decline in their numbers.
The statistics are stark. The crisis is unprecedented. Yet again, according
to the United Nations, famine looms in Somalia, with hundreds of thousands already facing starvation. In addition, droughts, and catastrophic hunger levels have left over
500,000 children malnourished and at risk of dying. This is already nearly 200,000 more than the 2011 famine. Urgent immediate actions must be taken now, both to address the crisis in the short-term and long-term.
Cities across the world including New Jersey
, a State that is home to a multi-billion dollar agricultural industry, have continued to experience climate change
linked extreme events including scorching temperatures, extreme heat events, heavy storms and flooding with devastating impacts on agriculture
, food security
, and food systems
Across the U.S., and around the world, particularly Europe
, heat records are being shattered. Accompanying these extreme temperatures are fires caused by the heat that are burning both homes and forests. While extreme heat is impacting some areas of the world, flooding is impacting other areas including Colorado and Virginia
in the U.S., and in other countries around the world including Brazil
This September, the White House will convene a conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health
. Leading up to the conference, the White House is organizing several virtual listening sessions
across America to hear firsthand from people impacted by food insecurity and to collect ideas about how to end hunger and hunger-related diseases and disparities.
Around the world, commercial fertilizer prices are soaring
, pushing farmers and countries into a frenzy. In addition, soaring fertilizer prices are sparking fears
of inflation, food supply shortages
and food insecurity
. There are several
reasons that have contributed to the rising fertilizer prices
including the Russian-Ukrainian war and the global pandemic.
Around the world, Earth Day 2022
is being celebrated. The theme this year is “Invest in Our Planet”. To mark the day, activities such as planting trees, protests, marches, cleaning up litter, and conferences will be held to highlight the importance of investing and taking care of our planet.
In the spirit of science communication, I posted via twitter a video clip of a bee that had taken a little too much of pollen
. It received over 30,000 views and had over 100,000 impressions. Over the years, before the pandemic, thanks to several science communication workshops and trainings about various ways to communicate science, I have continued to grow as a science communicator.
Local, national and world leaders, and committed climate change activists are in Glasgow for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26)
to share the progress they’ve made since the COP21 in Paris six years ago and to discuss what comes next. One of the issues that must be on the table at COP26 is the worrying impact of climate change on agriculture
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.