Ideas for Surviving Food Shortages

Food For Freedom

Water supplies around the US and the world are starting to dry up, and more and more people are being left without the water that they need to survive. How can you guarantee the safety of your family and friends and loved ones when you can't control the water yourself? You may not be able to control how much water your have available, but you CAN control what you do with the water that you have! This guide by expert survivalists can teach you all that you need to know about how to provide for your family during times of drought and bad seasons. You will learn how to build greenhouses for your family so that you can grow food with less water at a time! You will learn how to take control of the food that your family needs to survive and build systems that will make sure you are never without food! Read more here...

Food For Freedom Overview


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Handling or not Handling the Food Crisis

In 2008 we had before us a world food crisis that had tragic social and political consequences in different continents, with riots and deaths that endangered world peace and security. Those sad events are, however, but the chronicle of disaster foretold. In 1996, at the Food Summit, 112 heads of state and government and the representatives of 186 members of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) solemnly pledged to reduce by half the number of hungry in the world by the year 2015 and adopted a programme to achieve that target. But already in 2002, we had to convene a second world summit to draw the international community's attention to the fact that resources to finance agricultural programmes in developing countries were decreasing, instead of rising. With such a trend, the summit target would not be reached in 2015, but in 2150. An Anti-Hunger Programme with financial requirements estimated at US 24 billion per year had been prepared for that meeting. Global...

Factors Determining Food Shortage in the Early 21st Century

The world grain stock use ratios (ratio of stock volume against use volume), which are the criteria for global availability of grain, have shown a tendency to fall since 1987 (Fig. 1.1). According to USDA data, except for 1997 98 the world average stock use ratio for all grain has been below 17 since 1994 95 this is considered by the FAO to be a dangerously low stock level. The ratio is at around the lowest level since the war, and is about the same as the level during the food crisis year of 1974. The stock use ratios for rice and coarse grain have been lower than the average stock use ratio for all grains since 1989 90, and they have Annual grain export from the United States has continued to increase, reflecting strengthened U.S. agricultural protection and increased agricultural production following the world food crisis in 1974, from 40 million tons in the sixties to a peak of 112.7 million tons in 1981. However, grain exports fell

Tsujii Introduction

The world grain stock use ratios (ratio of stock volume against use volume) which are the criteria for global availability of grain have shown a tendency to fall since 1987. According to USDA data, except for 1997 98 the world average stock use ratio for all grain has been below 17 since 1994 95 FAO considers this a dangerously low level. The ratio is at around the lowest level since the war, and is about the same as the level during the food crisis year of 1974. The stock use ratios for rice and coarse grain have been lower than the average stock ratio since 1989 90, and they have been lower than 17 since 1993 94. The ratio for rice is projected to be at the dangerously low level oflittle more than 11 in 1998 99. These low stock use ratios are caused by the following long term factors transformation in agricultural policy during the late eighties and the nineties in both Europe and the United States, the stagnation in agricultural technology improvement, scarcity in and degradation...

Effectiveness of Seasonal Forecasts and Climate Risk Management

The way one interprets the linkages between climate, agriculture and food security fundamentally shapes the ways in which forecasts are usually 'framed', disseminated and eventually used. Recent investigations of the progress and outcomes of the Vulnerability Assessment Committees, established in 2002 in six countries to examine the food crisis in the Southern African region, have shown that measures of food gaps are not effective ways of capturing the causes of food insecurity in the region but that a wider, livelihoods-based perspective is required (Tango International 2005).

Predicted National Security Consequences of Climate Change

One of the most noted theorists of environment-conflict studies, Thomas Homer-Dixon, wrote that change to the environment will impact populations by decreased economic productivity and disrupted institutions will jointly contribute to relative-deprivation conflicts positive feedbacks may operate relative-deprivation conflicts may cause further economic decline and institutional dislocation.41 Joseph Romm echoed this concern in 1993, writing that many nations' being confronted with scarce resources may lead to conflict or ecosystem collapse, resulting in environmental refugees. Such traumas could threaten U.S. national security if these conflicts were to occur in areas of importance to the United States, or if refugees were to flee in large numbers to this country.42 And the German climatologist Hermann Ott wrote in 2001, Water and food shortages, rising sea levels and generally changing patterns of precipitation will lead to mass migrations and a considerable increase in low- and...

Building on Farmers Knowledge

The role of climate forecasts in rural livelihoods hinges on household vulnerability to climate risk. While quantitative methods make it possible to measure and compare levels of vulnerability, qualitative approaches provide valuable insights into subtler dimensions of vulnerability. In-depth interviewing and participant observation has revealed how gender, ethnicity, and caste can limit access and use of climate forecasts among African farmers (Roncoli et al. 2004). By combining participatory methods with quantitative surveys and agent-based modeling, a study among farmers in Southern Africa showed that, while wealthy households realized greater yield gains, climate forecasts benefited poor farmers the most by reducing the likelihood of food shortage (Ziervogel et al. 2005).

Approximate Maximum Mortality Levels from Natures Shocks

Droughts, at their worst, have resulted in a few million deaths. The long history of drought is notably fuzzy, and whether or not deaths ought to be laid at drought's door is often unclear, especially for the deeper past. In the twentieth century, where the uncertainties are reduced, the deadliest droughts occurred in China from 1928 to 1931, in 1936, and in 1941, with 2 million to 5 million deaths on each occasion, generally because of starvation. The famous droughts in West Africa's Sahel region of 1967 to 1973 and again in the early 1980s each killed about 1 million people. In all probability some of the drought-induced Indian famines of the nineteenth century killed greater numbers, but the figures are in dispute.5 In the last two or three centuries, as societies have grown more complex and as mobility has become less feasible as a societal response, resistance and resilience have come to take more technological and bureaucratic forms, such as granaries, seawalls, and...

Impacts on nutrition and the food supply

The IPCC has tended to see the positive and negative effects of climate change on agricultural production, if the warming were to occur at a moderate pace, as close to even in terms of overall global food production, but with some regional variations that might harm local food security (IPCC, 2001). Generally, the areas of the globe most vulnerable to climate-related stress on food production are poorer countries in lower latitudes. Not only do these nations have limited capacity to adapt, but their food distribution systems, as we have seen in several of the African famines, are also poorly positioned to disseminate food aid, should it be sent. To date, the greatest human health disasters, on a par with global pandemics such as influenza, plagues or tuberculosis, have been famines. A huge wild card in the climate equation is the possibility of increased meteorological volatility as the world warms. This would cause more intense precipitation at irregular intervals (meaning more...

Linking crop failure and food availability in the country

This subject is the most complicated to analyze since it concerns social and political rather than physical phenomena. When evaluating a crop failure as potentially dangerous for the country, one cannot know for certain whether it would inevitably develop into a large-scale food crisis. No simple or direct links between crop failure and food availability in local stores exist. The crop failure would first impact on the economic, social, and political factors of the country, then these changes would worsen the food situation in the country. Moreover, Soviet history shows that food crises, and even mass famine, could arise for political reasons rather than crop failure. Researchers can also find in the history of the USSR much material for speculation on the influence of crop failures on key political changes in the country. The revolution of February 1917 began in the bread queues of Petrograd (then St. Petersburg). Two out of the four major political crises within the Communist Party...

Food Availability and Climate Change

The first is that on an average per capita basis, the world today produces more than enough food to meet caloric requirements, and that this success has been based mostly on yield gains over the last half century. Perhaps first popularized by Thomas Malthus in the early 1800s, the question of whether the world can produce enough food to feed a growing population has been a perennial concern. Thus far, technology has mostly precluded Malthusian doomsday predictions of population-driven food shortages. Through the first half of the last century, the need for increased food production was met by expansion of cropped area. But beginning in about the 1950s, when population and income growth were adding increasing pressure to global food markets, large-scale sustained investment in crop productivity greatly increased yields of crops throughout the developing world. This so-called Green Revolution allows the world today to produce 170 more cereals on just 8 more cropped area than 50 years...

Food Access and Climate Change

If Thomas Malthus is the customary jumping-off point for discussions of food availability, economist Amartya Sen dominates introductory paragraphs in discussions of food access. Recalling the definition above, food access refers to the ability of an individual to acquire food, either through its production or its purchase. Sen referred to these means of food acquisition as entitlements, and he won the Nobel Prize in part for showing how famines were a result of households or entire regions periodically lacking entitlements. His basic insights hold today for a farmer, entitlements are the means of food production available to her (e.g., land and labor), and her access to food is secure if she can command sufficient amounts of these factors to produce enough food. For those who don't farm, access to food is a function of incomes and prices - how much money one has to spend on food, and how much the food costs. Food access then can deteriorate when non-farm incomes fall, when food prices...

The postrevolutionary decade 19171928

Despite the diversity and abundance of statistical reports, this period is controversial in terms of their reliability. One spectacular example of this problem occurred in Materials on statistical data of the Soviet Union for 1918-1923 (Sbornik statisticheskix svedenii po Souzy SSR 1918-1923, 1924). The materials contain very promising results for field research on the food consumption of the urban population and peasants in different regions of Russia. The research was conducted between 1918 and 1923. Unfortunately, there is much doubt about the representative character of this data. The statistics indicate too high a level of food consumption in rural and urban areas of Russia, while numerous historical documents give a desperate picture of severe food crisis and mass famine in many regions. The materials of the KGB for the 1920s represent the best and most detailed collection of documents on the food catastrophe in the regions, with a population of around 30 million people...

Indirect Effects Of Climate Change

The main mechanisms through which climate change has an impact on irrigation water are less runoff and groundwater recharge, combined with increased rates of extraction in many parts of the world. The main geographic areas of concern are India, which in the recent past has seen a slowdown in the growth rate of rice yields, southern and North Africa, some of Latin America, and parts of Europe. Droughts and the lack of water may spark or reignite political and military conflict between countries whose water systems are interdependent. The indirect impacts of decreased rainfall and the increased frequency of droughts will drive up wildfire risk and, even in the short-term, change the distribution of pests. Decreased frequency of winter frosts will also affect the spatial distribution of pests. Historically, famines were caused by pests, which are becoming an increasing concern. In addition, marine ecosystems, home to the world's fisheries, will be affected though climate-induced...

Identifying vulnerable regions and socioeconomic groups

Analysis of impacts of climate change on agriculture fails to capture the complexity of the potential impact on food security by ignoring the political economy aspects of agricultural resource use and allocation (Bohle et al., 1994). In seeking to understand processes of adaptation in their wider context, analysis is required which explicitly highlight the winners and losers from impacts in agriculture. Dreze and Sen (1989), for example, show that food insecurity is exacerbated by underlying social conditions of vulnerability as well as by external factors such as civil strife or population movements. Famine and food shortage are short-run unexpected phenomena, while food insecurity and climate change are long-term trends. Thus, although overall projected changes in local crop and agricultural production are uncertain but may not represent a global shortage of food, regions and particular social groups are likely to be continually vulnerable to food insecurity.

Scenario Overview Expected Climate Change

Consequently, even though the IPCC projects that the temperature increases at higher latitudes will be approximately twice the global average, it will be the developing nations in the Earth's low latitudinal bands that will be most adversely affected by climate change. In the developing world, even a relatively small climatic shift can trigger or exacerbate food shortages, water scarcity, destructive weather events, the spread of disease, human migration, and natural resource competition. These crises are all the more dangerous because they are interwoven and self-perpetuating water shortages can lead to food shortages, which can lead to conflict over remaining resources, which can drive human migration, which, in turn, can create new food shortages in new regions.

Adaptation policies Managing the environment for the benefit of all

This is not to say that people are not or could not, in future, be displaced because of climate change. There is overwhelming evidence to support the significant danger that climate change poses, especially to developing countries. For instance, scenarios where small island states risk being submerged due to sea-level rise are certainly feasible. Equally, a scenario where people escape water or food shortages because the land upon which they depend can no longer sustain them is also possible. People fleeing such peril no doubt require protection - although it should not come to a matter of life and death before they are offered the choice to migrate.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

How strong must the precipitation belt shift be to generally endanger food supply for mankind What can be tolerated More food in mid and high latitudes while a serious food crisis leads to migration out of enlarged semi-arid zones, already suffering from desertification now

The future Hopeful or hopeless

The multilateral system also needs to be strengthened. Increasingly, challenges have global dimensions (e.g. the food crisis, climate change, the financial crisis, the energy crisis) and require increasing international cooperation. Multilateral systems also need to be supported to increase collaboration among different actors, which are specialized in specific areas. Water resources issues are cross-cutting and need to be addressed from that perspective. United Nations Water represents an innovative and flexible mechanism to promote such collaboration within the UN system and with key partners.

Integrated Assessment Models

In the context of climate change, integrated assessment models typically incorporate a climate model of moderate or intermediate complexity with models of the economic system (especially the industrial and energy sectors), land use, agriculture, ecosystems, or other systems or sectors germane to the question being addressed. Rather than focusing on precise projections of key system variables, integrated assessment models are typically used to compare the relative effectiveness and implications of different policy measures (see Chapter 17). Integrated assessment models have been used, for instance, to understand how policies designed to boost production of biofuels may actually increase tropical deforestation and lead to food shortages (e.g., Gurgel et al., 2007) and how policies that limit CO2 from land use and energy use together lead to very different costs and consequences than policies that address energy use alone (e.g., Wise et al., 2009a). Another common use of integrated...

Assumptions about future trends

The health of populations is an important element of adaptive capacity. Where there is a heavy burden of disease and disability, the effects of climate change are likely to be more severe than otherwise. For example, in Africa and Asia the future course of the HIV AIDS epidemic will significantly influence how well populations can cope with challenges such as the spread of climate-related infections (vector- or waterborne), food shortages, and increased frequency of storms, floods and droughts (Dixon et al., 2002).

New agricultural production modes

The green agricultural revolution, which began after the Second World War, has led to a strong increase in agricultural production, thus helping to avoid famines in numerous regions worldwide and especially in Asia. However, this revolution has been accomplished by using high amounts of energy, fertilisers and pesticides. Similar to what has occurred in other economic sectors, this has had a negative impact upon the environment and has increased the dependence of agricultural production upon energy supplies.

International Cooperation

International and regional cooperative agricultural research has historically been an example, par excellence, of the open source approach to biological research. Beginning in the 1950s, and especially in the 1960s, a looming global food crisis led to the development of a group of international agricultural research centres with a specific mandate to foster international exchange and crop improvement relevant to many countries.

The Economic Argument

Another way of demonstrating the economic importance of biodiversity is to use examples of negative impacts of biodiversity loss. Such losses can destabilize relationships of communities, even countries. A perfect ecological, economic, and political storm is brewing in West Africa because of the complex interplay of overfishing by both African and European nations offshore, the accelerating devastation of wildlife on land for bushmeat, and periods of massive food shortages (Brashares et al., 2004).

Changing Vulnerability in Central and Eastern Kenya

The failure of the first rains in 1984, following poor second rains in 1983, triggered a serious food crisis in central and eastern Kenya. The drought illustrates diverse impacts and responses in different environments. Households generally survived the food crisis by purchasing their food participation in the monetary economy reduced their vulnerability to drought. Households are largely self-sufficient in average years with current farming practices and land holdings. A slight surplus can be produced in the humid zones (II), where maize grows well. The larger holdings in the semiarid zones (V) also produce a surplus in years of average to good weather.

Adapting to the unknown

One way or another, humans will have to adapt to life in a hotter world. Many plausible scenarios suggest a sharp decline in the number of people that will survive in the long term. Some suggest a billion or a few hundred million will remain in a century or two, but one guess is as good as the next. One thing is certain the transition to some new stage of stability will be long and brutal, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable whose survival will be threatened by food shortages, extreme weather events and disease. Yet in a world that is now densely interlinked, everyone will be affected profoundly. More autonomous financial systems ought not to be too difficult, but untangling trade networks and returning to a more autarkic world seems from here to be almost inconceivable. Yet shortages and more expensive transport might impose it on us.

Drought And Desertification

On the other hand, many researchers strongly rela-tivize the possible direct link existing between drought and emigration by highlighting the fact that the latter, in general, is the last resort when all other survival strategies have been exhausted. For example, during the 1994 drought in Bangladesh, only 0.4 percent of households had to resort to emigration. Other researchers hold views similar to that of Nobel Prize winner for Economics, Amartya Sen, in remarking that famines are, in general, only marginally the direct result of environmental factors, but much rather political ones and add that this also holds for migrations. In certain contexts, the effect can even be inversed. This was the case in Mali during the drought of the mid-1980s a reduction in international emigration was observed due to the lack of available means to finance the journey. Forecasts of increased migrations linked to drought-related phenomena remain hazardous. Consequently, it would be difficult to put a...

Increasing Vulnerability To Drought

Since the earliest historical times, drought has been a major hazard in northwest Africa. Historical surveys of drought and other natural calamities have determined that there were 49 major drought-related famines in Morocco during the period from the late ninth century to the early 1900s (Bois, 1957) and at least 26 such episodes in Tunisia from around ad 100 to the late 1800s (Bois, 1944).

Agroforestry on Soil Organic Carbon

The soil loses its capacity to form stable aggregates because the binding material, the SOM, has been lost. These degradation processes result in reduced biomass production and reduced amounts of organic matter returned to the soil, depletion of the SOC pool, decline in soil quality, and greater emissions of CO2, CO4, and N2O to the atmosphere, where soil biota play an important role in all of these processes (Metting, 1993 Mendes et al., 1999). Emissions of these greenhouse gases caused by traditional farming practices lead to mining of soil C and N reserves. Since the SOC pool is very labile and highly dynamic, and its amounts depend on the input-output balance of the system, the result of the traditional farming system is a rapid decline of soil productivity, food production, food shortages, and malnutrition (Stewart et al., 1991). Intervention with improved farming methods, such as integrated nutrient management to rebuild SOM becomes very important. This is...

What if any guides do we have to survive these multiple shocks

At the heart of the transition after 1990 was the success of small farms and urban farms and gardens. The immediate crisis was averted by food programmes that targeted the most vulnerable people - the old, young, pregnant women and young mothers - and a rationing programme that guaranteed a minimum amount of food to everyone. Soon, half the food consumed in the capital, Havana, was grown in the city's own gardens. The threat of serious food shortages was overcome within five years (Novo and Murphy, 2001). Overall, urban gardens provide 60 per cent of the vegetables eaten in Cuba.

The Need To Conserve Diversity

The demands of food shortages in the 1960s and 1970s. The result was the Green Revolution. However, the lessons learned from that period have contributed to the current emphasis on long-term sustainability of production systems and the protection of the natural resource base, while at the same time maintaining an adequate and healthy food supply. This places new demands on plant breeders to continue to increase productivity in socially and environmentally appropriate ways. Plant breeders will respond to that demand biodiversity is the means for achieving their goals. Potentially valuable genes and gene combinations, which might at present be unknown or undiscovered, can provide the means to fewer external inputs in crop production systems, lower levels of environmentally toxic pesticides, and internal resilience of agroecosystems. Conserving these needed genetic resources for future use in the face of technical and political obstacles can be an enormous challenge.

Major developments in agriculture

The third project, named the Food Program of the USSR, was announced in May 1982 in the wake of the deep food crisis which had struck the country in 1979 to 1981. The Food Program proposed no new ways for raising agricultural production and promised enormous investment to the agricultural and food industries for the period 1982 to 1990. The government was going to cover all expenditures for the melioration, construction, and operation of large irrigation systems, for protecting soils from erosion, and for the technical renovation of Soviet kolkhozes and sovkhozes (Lappo, Kozlov, and Michailov, 1983). For example, in 1980 the agriculture sector received 2,562,000 tractors and 722,000 grain harvesters. According to the food program, however, agriculture should have received 3,740,000 to 3,780,000 tractors and 1,170,000 grain harvesters and other agricultural machines between 1982 and 1990. The Soviet Union planned to expand large-scale irrigation in order to receive more stable harvests...

Food Security Synthesis

Transitory and chronic food insecurity is caused mainly by poverty. The nearly 800 million undernourished people noted in Table 27.1 are mostly part of the 1.2 billion people in abject poverty, defined as people living on less than 1 per day. People with adequate buying power overcome the frictions of time (e.g., unpredictable, unstable harvests from year to year) and space (e.g., local food shortages) to be food secure.

Conclusion The Clear Implications of Global Climate Change

In the case of severe climate change, projected massive nonlinear events in the global environment give rise to massive nonlinear societal events. In this scenario, nations around the world will be overwhelmed by the scale of change and by pernicious challenges, such as pandemic disease and water and food shortages. The internal cohesion of nations will be under great stress, including in the United States, owing to a dramatic rise in migration, changes in agricultural patterns and water availability, and the pulling away of wealthier members of society from the rest of the population. Protests,

Common Practice and Future Needs

Comprehensive sustainability is built upon three pillars which consider environmental, economical and societal aspects. These dimensions can be covered within the Sustainable Assessment (SustAss). It is based upon (i) the ecologically oriented LCA with the carbon footprint as an important element, (ii) the life cycle costing (LCC) and (iii) the social life cycle assessment (SLCA) 42 . Every assessment refers to a specific item (e.g., a product), typically evaluated from raw material acquisition to product disposal recycling (cradle , to -grave). Ideally, the system boundaries of all three evaluation fields correspond with each other following consistent assumptions and are distinct to avoid double counting. Only under consideration of the entire life cycle, can problems referring to sustainability and their possible shifts to other issues when solved (e.g., the sourcing of renewable feedstocks could cause food shortage), be identified and anticipated 43 . Currently, the social...

Ecological Blunders Of Antiquity

Unfortunately, Meng Tze's advice was not heeded. A major force in decimation of both plants and wildlife during Meng Tze's life was the expansion of agriculture into undeveloped land. In the two centuries before, the ox-drawn iron plowshare had come into use, supplementing human labor with a major new source of energy. Advanced agricultural tools and methods of fertilizing had been invented. Thus, it is not surprising that Meng Tze spoke of the increase of cultivated land at the expense of the wild. His contemporary, the legalist Shang Yang, urged rulers to take measures to cultivate wasteland as a deliberate policy to increase population. Rulers often ordered the cultivation of wasteland to increase agricultural production and combat famine.37 Moreover, they frequently squandered their states' resources on ostentatious new palaces, tombs, self-indulgence, and, above all, military campaigns. From the fourth century BCE onward, economic crises and famines plagued China.38 Deforestation...

The Mesopotamians Southwest Asia 3700 bce to 1600 bce

Mesopotamia's irrigated agriculture became increasingly vulnerable, as it was critically dependent upon a good flood. Waters cresting too high would destroy settlements and grain stores waters too low would yield poor crops, food shortages, and famine. Moreover, there always lurked the threat of river and irrigation channels changing their course, which occurred periodically as sedimentation raised the height of diversion canals. Most of the water carried by the Tigris and Euphrates never reached the sea, but evaporated in the flat alluvial marshlands. This led to another problem, that of saliniza-tion. As river water evaporated, it left behind its mineral contents, leading to increasingly saline soils. These soils reduced crop yields and eventually made cultivation impossible.60

The Nile Centuries Of Change

The Nile is the longest river in the world, flowing some 6500 km and draining an area of about 3.1 million km2 spread over 10 countries. Most of its water is, however, generated over only 20 of this area. Its waters have been in use by Egypt for over 5500 years. The Nile differs from many transboundary rivers such as the Tigris-Euphrates and the Colorado River systems, in that the strongest economy, the strongest military force, and the best established water user in the basin, i.e., Egypt, is the downstream nation. Ninety-five percent of its runoff originates outside of Egypt (Table 1). The Nile experiences significant decadal to century-scale variability. Biblical stories of feasts and famines remind us of how the river dominated the climate experience and well-being of ancient Egypt (Riebsame et al, 1996).

Drought caused by changes in Global Atmospheric circulation

Drought Image Satellite Iran Map

Global oceanic and atmospheric circulation patterns undergo frequent shifts that affect large parts of the globe, particularly those arid and semiarid parts affected by Hadley Cell circulation. One of the better known variations in global circulation is known as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation. Fluctuations in global circulation can account for natural disasters, including the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s in the U.S. plains states. Similar global climate fluctuations may explain the drought, famine, and desertification of parts of the Sahel and the great famines of Ethiopia and Sudan in the 1970s, 1980s, and mid-2000s. Much of Africa, including the Sahel region, has become increasingly dry and desert-like over the past 100 years or more, and any attempts to restart agriculture and repopulate regions evacuated during previous famines in this region may be fruitless and lead to further loss of life.

Hazards of meteorite impact with earth

To assume that a large impact would have serious consequences for life on Earth. Nations of the world need to consider more seriously the threat from meteorite impacts. Impacts that are the size of the blast that hit Siberia at Tunguska in 1908 happen about once every thousand years, and major impacts, that can seriously affect climate and life on Earth are thought to occur about every 300,000 years. Events like the impact at Chicxulub that killed the dinosaurs and resulted in a mass extinction are thought to occur once every 100 million years. The Chicxulub impact initiated devastating global wildfires that consumed much of the biomass on the planet, and sent trillions of tons of submicrometer dust into the stratosphere. After the flash fires, the planet became dark for many months, the atmosphere and ocean chemistry were changed, and the climate experienced a short-term but dramatic change. The global ecosystem was practically destroyed, and one of the greatest mass extinctions in...

Drought Management And Policy Initiatives

Despite these advances, several groups, particularly the rural poor in Southern Africa, remain food insecure. One solution to avoid such situations is to ensure that forecasts are made more accessible. Others, however, argue that much more is required. The eradication of food emergencies and in cases, famines, requires more than technical capacity. Substantial political will, at national and international levels, more than has been evident to date, is needed (Devereux, 2000).

Farmer Adaptation to Climate Dealing with Variability

The same is not often true in poor countries. Although both ex-post and ex-ante strategies can reduce climate-associated losses to some degree, the poorest households in particular are often unable to fully shield consumption from the effects of climate variability. This inability can be dramatic and devastating, as in the case of the drought-related famines in the Sahel and Horn of Africa in the 1980s, but they can also be more subtle, such as in the longer run documented negative effects of climate variability on health and economic outcomes in agricultural households, particularly for women and children (Hoddinott and Kinsey 2001 Maccini and Yang 2008). Such effects are realized because ex ante measures are insufficient, or ex post measures such as insurance or savings are unavailable, or both.

Drying Of The American Southwest

Droughts may lead to the conversion of previously productive lands to desert. This process, called desertification, may occur if the land is stressed before or during the drought, typically from poor agricultural practices, overuse of ground and surface water resources, and overpopulation. Global climate undergoes several different variations that can cause belts of aridity to shift back and forth with time. The Sahel region of Africa has experienced some of the more severe droughts in recent times. The Middle East and parts of the desert southwest of the United States are overpopulated and the environment there is stressed. If major droughts occur in these regions, major famines could result and the land may be permanently converted to desert.

Box 72 Environmental migration

Migration, usually temporary and often from rural to urban areas, is a common response to calamities such as floods and famines (Mortimore, 1989), and large numbers of displaced people are a likely consequence of extreme events. Their numbers could increase, and so could the likelihood of their migration becoming permanent, if such events increase in frequency. Yet, disaggregating the causes of migration is highly problematic, not least since individual migrants may have multiple motivations and be displaced by multiple factors (Black, 2001). For example, studies of displacement within Bangladesh and to neighbouring India have drawn obvious links to increased flood hazard as a result of climate change. But such migration also needs to be placed in the context of changing economic opportunities in the two countries and in the emerging mega-city of Dhaka, rising aspirations of the rural poor in Bangladesh, and rules on land inheritance and an ongoing process of land alienation in...

Potential impact of ea level rise Nile Delta

The creation of water and food shortages, and large numbers of displaced people and even greater unemployment due to loss of agricultural lands, industries and infrastructure from climate-induced precipitation declines and sea-level rise, will not only affect livelihoods, but also will increase competition for existing resources, which could lead to internal migration. Consequently, these factors will likely further erode public confidence in the Egyptian government, with potential for political unrest and for radical fundamentalism to grow. The Muslim Brotherhood are seen as the leading opposition and threatens the current regime's hold on power (Bensahel and Byman, 2004, pp58-59). A new regime may have a different attitude towards peace with its neighbours with drastic regional security ramifications. Several US security experts have noted that in the developing world, even a relatively small climatic shift can trigger or exacerbate food shortages, water scarcity,...

Africa Is the Major Challenge

Sub-Saharan Africa's extreme poverty, poor soils, uncertain rainfall, increasing population pressures, changing ownership patterns for land and cattle, political and social turmoil, shortages of trained agriculturalists, and weaknesses in research and technology delivery systems all make the task of agricultural development more difficult. But we should also realize that to a considerable extent, the present food crisis is the result of the neglect of agriculture by political leaders, even though agriculture provides the livelihood for 60 to 75 of the people in most African countries. Investments in agricultural research and education and in input distribution and food marketing systems have been woefully inadequate. Furthermore, many governments have pursued a policy of providing cheap food often imported from abroad for politically volatile urban dwellers at the expense of production incentives for farmers.


The importance of agriculture to human well-being explains why influential national and international government and nonprofit agencies have focused so much attention on the impact of climate change on agriculture. There is a clear recognition on the part of agencies such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), and the World Bank clearly recognize that climate change could have profound effects on the future. Global climate change may have some positive impacts on agriculture. On the other hand, there may be deeply negative impacts if climate change triggers droughts or other catastrophic events that hurt the global food supply. Resource scarcity could, in turn, cause famines and geopolitical conflicts with grave humanitarian consequences.


Because of severe limitations on natural resources, environment and technological improvement against population explosion in the developing countries, and of the transformation in agricultural policies in the United States and the EU, severe food shortage is expected in developing countries for the period from now to the year 2020. The green revolution technology, which has used increasing amounts of modern chemical inputs and is still widely used in the world, had increased grain yield considerably but at the same time had destroyed environment considerably until the mid-eighties. As the effect of the new technology on grain yield has declined since then, annual growth rates of the yield have declined to about 1 percent per year from about the 3 percent before 1970 which is required to provide food for exploding populations in the developing countries. Thus, there is a strong practice applied widely on the Deccan Plateau, think that this is one of the most productive and sustainable...

Past Perspectives

But it was Malthus in his series of essays published from 1798 who wrote most eloquently about the dangers posed by failure to grow sufficient food on a sustainable basis. He concentrated on checks to population, and says little about food production. The checks he mostly discusses are warfare, pestilence and disease, storms and floods, as well as famines, and he also includes several mentions of countries and regions where infanticide was practiced. The Taiping Wars were some of the most disastrous civil wars ever, with deaths certainly exceeding 30 million. The area of the lower Yangzi in which they occurred is among the most fertile, and heavily populated, in China (Thorpe, 1936 Ho, 1959). Ho Ping-ti attributes the large loss of life to the Taiping and other wars, the destruction of farmland, famines, epidemics, and the evils of opium.

Etiology Of Ecocide

The second critical step in the etiology of ecocide was the establishment of sedentary agriculture, culminating in the Neolithic revolution some 10,000 years ago. Anthropologist Mark Cohen explains it as an unintended consequence resulting from the extermination of megafauna, whereby mass extinction combined with climatic and demographic changes to produce the food crisis in prehistory. It forced people to change their social organization wherever conditions such as a favorable climate, water, and fertile soil, and species that could be domesticated, were present.39 As Jean-Jacques Rousseau noted as early as 1755, the transition to agriculture gave rise to what has long since become a series of fateful assumptions first, human life requires strict hierarchy, the extensive division of labor, and social inequality. Second, improved modes of organization and technological innovation are capable of addressing human needs and wants. Third, Homo sapiens sapiens is entitled to dominate the...

Cape Verde

Owing to a large population, and compounded by overgrazing and deforestation, there have been regular food shortages in the country from droughts. These may not all be due to global warming, as droughts have been recorded in the area since the 17th century. Over many centuries, Cape Verdeans have migrated overseas. Electricity production comes from fossil fuels. The country's carbon dioxide emissions are very low, ranging from 0.2 metric tons per capita in 1990, rising to 0.30 metric tons per capita in 2003. This is entirely due to the use of liquid fuels, and in spite of the small size of the islands, public transportation in Cape Verde is extremely limited.

Pest Control

Pesticides are considered a necessary evil however, it has been estimated that without their use food expenditure for western families would more than double (Zilberman et al. 1991) and, much worse, food shortage would be more acute in many third world countries about 40 crop production would be lost, according to FAO. Pest and pesticide control is probably the sector where a really integrated view of farm management is most required certainly, pest treatments by calendar as largely in use till a few years ago and still in use today here and there are unsustainable. The principles of targeting interventions according to real need as advocated


As biodiversity and consequently genetic diversity are reduced, the integrity of the agro-ecosystem in terms of disease resistance and optimal resource cycling is eroded. The most extreme loss of biodiversity is represented in monocultures. The inherent genetic uniformity in monocultures, especially those with a single uniform variety, is highly susceptible to and unstable against pests, diseases, weeds and all environmental stresses (Geier 2000). Therefore, from a yield point of view, crop diversity is an important tool to minimize crop losses due to diseases, pests, droughts, floods and other adverse external factors and significantly reduces the risk of food shortage in case of crop failure of a particular species within a rotation or mixed-crop stand. Most diseases and pests affect only one crop, and often propagate faster and more extensively if this crop is grown on large, continuous areas. For soil-borne pests and diseases, it is well known that the best prevention is simply to...


Whatever we do is likely to lead to death on a scale that makes all previous wars, famines and disasters small. To continue business as usual will probably kill most of us during the century. Is there any reason to believe that fully implementing Bali, with sustainable development and the full use of renewable energy, would kill fewer We have to consider seriously that, as with nineteenth-century medicine, the best option is often kind words and painkillers but otherwise do nothing and let Nature take its course.


Ting the amount of grain for sale on the market. As a result, the amount of grain available on the market (and prices) fluctuated sharply. A grain shortage could emerge if peasants began to consume more grain within their households. In 1916-1917, quite unexpectedly, a food crisis developed in major Russian cities for one single reason faced with the dismantling of the free market mechanism, peasants began to keep some grain to fatten their cattle and this, in combination with certain other factors, paralyzed bread supplies to the central cities. As is well known, the revolution of February 1917 began in the bread queues of Petrograd.

Recent Droughts

In other parts of the world, droughts have caused famines resulting in the deaths of those who live a subsistence life in arid lands at the edge of deserts. The people of Mongolia, of the Sahel, which is the arid transition zone between the Sahara Desert and the savannah lands to the south, of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, Australia, the Middle East and Central Asia, and other places have long lived with recurring periods of drought.

Tipping points

Metz et al (2007) give a 50 per cent chance that a 550 part per million carbon dioxide equivalent stabilization will cause a 20 and 30 per cent loss of all species on Earth with almost half of the world's population being at risk of water shortages, 0.25 billion people exposed to potential health problems, and hundreds of millions facing food shortages and coastal inundation.


ERITREA IS LOCATED in the Horn of Africa between 12 degrees 22' and 18 degrees 02' north and between 36 degrees 26' and 43 degrees 13' east, bordering Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the South, Djibouti in the Southeast and with the Read Sea in the East. Total land area is 77,236 sq. mi. (124,300 sq. km.) with a coastline of 1,180 mi. (1,900 km.), territorial waters are around 74,564 sq. mi. (120,000 sq. km.). Around 390 islands are located in the Eritrea Red Sea Zone, among them the prominent Dahelak Archipelago. The population is estimated to be around 3.5 million (2001 estimates), 20 people per sq. mi. (33 per sq. km.), with about 431,000 located in the capital, Asmara. Eritrea became independent as a nation after separation from Ethiopia in 1991, and similarly, Eritrea has suffered from erratic rains, droughts and famines.

Food problems

Food problems in this period are well covered by historical documents in the materials of the KGB mentioned above (Berelovich and Danilov, 2000a, c). Table 4.5. was compiled on the basis of these materials, showing a number of reports by the KGB on food crises and mass famine in the economic regions of the USSR. These data indicate the regions affected by food crises and mass famine. If a report only mentions food shortages, peasant malnutrition, or mass protests about the lack of food, the situation is regarded as a food crisis. If, however, it mentions mass deaths or disease due to a lack of food, the area is regarded as experiencing mass famine.


Human-induced warming over recent decades is already affecting many physical and biological processes on a global scale. Major research findings have pointed to changes in climate temperature, including increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level. Due to this changing climatic condition, much of the world's population is expected to face serious water shortages by the turn of the century, food production is expected to decline in low-altitude areas, and desertification will lead to food shortages. There are reported cases of increased intensity of tropical cyclones in the north Atlantic within the past 25-30 years, and storms with heavy precipitation have also increased. Mountain glaciers, snow cover, and Arctic sea ice have also fallen.

National interests

In the course of 2009, experts and political leaders continued to warn that 'the food crisis has not gone away' and could soon return with a vengeance, fast 'resuming its upward trend' to threaten an impending 'food crunch'.18 Coupled with a worldwide recession, which in 2009 is already provoking public anger, this presents a potentially ominous development.19


OFFICIALLY PART OF Europe, Iceland has been a republic since 1944. The capital city is Reykjavik and the population (2007 est.) is 311,400. The total area of the island is 39,768.5 sq. mi. (103,000 sq. km.). Glaciers cover approximately 11 percent of the landmass. Iceland is located in a geological hotspot and has several active volcanoes. During the last glaciation, Iceland was completely covered with ice. Colonists, primarily from Norway, first settled Iceland in the late 9th century. According to DNA studies, approximately one quarter of the original population was composed of women from the northern British Isles. Woodland cover, now around 1.3 percent of the total landmass, was then approximately 30 percent. The settlers brought a farming economy based on sheep and cattle. With a climate generally unsuitable for grain growing, the main agricultural crop has been the grass on which the livestock have depended for winter fodder. The failure of grass in past centuries frequently led...


The three case studies focus on drought and associated famines in various parts of Africa over the past decade or so. Droughts in 1983-1984 and 1991-1992 were both described as unusual or the worst to affect the subcontinent in the twentieth century (Rook, 1997). It is remarkable that, despite serious reductions in harvests, widespread hunger was averted, at least in 1991-1992, a fact largely attributed to the

What Lies Ahead

Climate change scientists have determined that the poorer nations will be more vulnerable to the negative effects of global warming. It is the wealthier nations that burn large amounts of fossil fuels that are adding the most to the problem, but as global warming leads to extreme weather disasters, droughts, floods, heat waves, food shortages, sea level rise, and the spread of disease, it will be the poorer nations that suffer the brunt of the hardships because of a lack of resources.

Food Security

World food security is a concern in many contributions to this volume, some focused at the local level, and some at the national level. This concern incorporates the people dimension into discussion of problems usually framed in biophysical terms. However, I would note that many if not most of these presentations regard the essence of the food security problem as a matter of production. We learned long ago that famine and malnutrition are mainly results of poverty, rather than production shortfalls per se. In fact, Sen's famous analysis (1981) of the classic famines of China and India showed that during the most dire part of the famines, local food prices actually declined. Demand dropped under desperate circumstances, so that those with purchasing power could get food more cheaply but most lacked purchasing power.


In many countries, especially developing ones, there is a serious and growing shortage of food. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, recently said that 'hundreds of thousands of people will be starving', and that 'children will be suffering from malnutrition'. 'He predicted that increasing food prices would push up the cost of imports for poor countries'. Since January 2007, the price of wheat has risen two and a half times and that of rice has almost trebled. These are staple foods in many countries, and the rising prices bear heavily on the poor. The sharp rise in food prices is due to increased demand, poor weather and an increase in the area of land used to grow crops for more biofuels. Of these, biofuels derived from soya beans, sugar cane and corn have been identified as the major cause. The food shortage and rising prices have led to riots in Egypt, Haiti, Bangladesh, India and several other countries. Professor Beddington, the British...

Global Food Demand

Population increases in food-insecure countries exacerbate food shortage by reducing per capita arable land area, which is already low (Lal, 2000). The world population in 1900 was 1.65 billion, while cropland area was 800 million ha, resulting in mean per capita cropland area of about 0.5 ha. Less than 8 million ha were under irrigation in 1900, and no chemical fertilizer was used. The world population in 2000 was 6 billion, and cropland area was 1.364 billion ha, resulting in mean per capita cropland area of 0.227 ha. Irrigated land

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