Climate change and unprecedented exploitation of earth’s resources are endangering humans’ ability to feed a still-growing global population, according to a UN report released today.
As more frequent droughts and floods threaten the global food supply, humans are increasing their demands on water and land, The New York Times reports.
Data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report:
- 500 million people are living in areas that are becoming desert.
- Soil is depleted at 10X-100X the rate it’s being formed.
- More than 10% of the global population is undernourished.
Major threats include the risk of “multi-breadbasket failure”—simultaneous food crises on several continents—and migration triggered by food shortages.
Good News/Bad News: Catastrophe can be avoided, but it would require massive changes to agriculture, food systems and behavior.
A Key Action: Eat less meat. Cattle production is driving deforestation, consuming huge amounts of water, generating methane and causing other impacts, notes Nature.
For next month’s UN climate summit in New York, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warns leaders not to just bring “ beautiful speeches.”