It has been suggested that by 2050, more than 500,00 deaths, world-wide, could occur as people lose access to good nutrition, as a direct result of global warming. The UK medical journal, The Lancet, published a study that shows how "drought, floods, and other weather events linked to climate change will hurt global crop yield." Additionally, climate change will lead to a less healthy diet make up in addition to making food less available overall. One study event to so far as to claim that humans will be twice as likely to die from health issues related to climate-related poor diets, than from undernutrition. Malnitrition is becoming a global threat.
Richard Choularton of the United Nations World Food Program says, "It's not just about getting enough calories; calories aren't good enough without micronutrients. Cognitive and physical development depends on eating the right things." Research is finding that the consumption of healthy fruits and veggies will decline 4% by 2050, due to climate change. What I found most interesting is that this projected decline will hit hardest in the low and medium-income countries in the Western pacific region, as well as in high-income countries across the globe. That's you and me! Southeast Asia nd Africa will suffer the hardest from malnutrition. As world news has recently shown us, the effects of climate change and malnutrition is already visible in Eastern and Southern Africa, where a food shortage has been a big problem for years already. This epidemic has left over 1,000,000 children undernourished. Food prices have skyrocketed beyond the reach of average and low-income citizens in these areas, while farmers struggle to produce enough food. This combination has proved deadly.
The authors of this study have called upon policymakers to "take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions along the lines of the Paris Agreement which commits countries to working to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) by 2100." By meeting this goal, we can prevent some of the worst effects of climate change on our global food production. This won't be an easy task, and many governments have, unfortunately, already begun to adjust their public health programs to meet the impending decline in nutrition.
So what are some realistic ways we can all help to address this serious problem? One is by cutting back on wasted food. Did you know that the US, and other developed countries, tend to throw away HALF of their usable food? I don't know about you, but I find that fact the scariest of all. Cutting back on food waste and actively lowering your personal carbon footprint are the chief ways each of us can help our future generations stay healthy and well-fed. As for me, I will personally be far more grateful for each bug and worm I have to eat and won't catch "extras" for snacks. And any insects that I have left over, I plan on sharing with less fortunate frogs. Each of us, in our own small way, can make a difference. With Earth Day just around the corner, I urge each of you to do what you can to keep Mother Earth beautiful, bountiful, and strong.