Re­la­tion­ship be­tween food se­cu­rity and cli­mate change is re­cip­ro­cal

The Compass - - NEWS - Lee Everts Pla­cen­tia

Na­tions in 2008) re­minds and cau­tions us, “[c]limate change will af­fect food se­cu­rity through its im­pacts on all com­po­nents of global, na­tional and lo­cal food sys­tems.”

Four com­po­nents

Gen­er­ally, food se­cu­rity is com­prised of four com­po­nents – food avail­abil­ity, food ac­ces­si­bil­ity, food uti­liza­tion and food sys­tem sta­bil­ity. El­e­ments of th­ese com­po­nents edge their way into our lives, no mat­ter where we call home. None­the­less, the re­la­tion­ship be­tween food se­cu­rity and cli­mate change is re­cip­ro­cal – it goes both ways. So, while our food se­cu­rity may be af­fected by cli­mate change, in turn, cli­mate change can be re­duced by such things as the gar­dens we tend.

Food avail­abil­ity refers to the quan­tity of food that can ex­ist or is pro­duced. It can be im­pacted by changes in grow­ing con­di­tions such as wa­ter avail­abil­ity or tem­per­a­ture changes that af­fect crop pro­duc­tion. In re­sponse, com­mu­nity gar­dens make food avail­able lo­cally, thus, fac­tors such as the trans­porta­tion of food and the at­ten­dant fos­sil fuel emis­sions that con­trib­ute to cli­mate change are re­duced. Food ac­ces­si­bil­ity in­di­cates the right to nu­tri­tious food, a com­po­nent re­lated to le­gal, eco­nomic, po­lit­i­cal and so­cial fac­tors.

So­cial fac­tors

Al­though food may be in­ac­ces­si­ble due to so­cial fac­tors such as its af­ford­abil­ity, com­mu­nity gar­dens can of­fer ac­cess to nu­tri­tious foods, re­gard­less of so­cial or other fac­tors. As well, com­mu­nity gar­dens limit the de­mand for food from re­gions or coun­tries whose abil­ity to pro­duce that food has been im­peded due cli­mate changes. Hence, there is more food ac­ces­si­ble for those re­gions or coun­tries to re-al­lo­cate the food for do­mes­tic use. Food uti­liza­tion ap­plies to our abil­ity to use the nu­tri­ents in var­i­ous food items, re­flect­ing the nu­tri­tional, so­cial and cul­tural val­ues and safety of the food. Sim­i­lar to food ac­ces­si­bil­ity, if the cost of food rises as a re­sult of a re­duc­tion in its quan­tity due to cli­mate change, so­cial is­sues such as poverty can pre­vent us from uti­liz­ing nu­tri­tional food – that food is be­yond our fi­nan­cial means.

Less fos­sil fu­els

How­ever, com­mu­nity gar­dens can pro­vide food and nu­tri­ents that our bodies can uti­lize. Fur­ther­more, by sim­ply di­vert­ing our veg­etable “waste” into the com­post used for our gar­dens, less fos­sil fu­els are emit­ted by the trucks that trans­port that “waste” to land­fills. Fi­nally, food sta­bil­ity points to the need for a sta­ble and con­stant sup­ply of nu­tri­tional food. If cli­mate change af­fects the avail­abil­ity of food, through di­min­ish­ing pro­duc­tion or pro­cess­ing, we are no longer able to ac­cess a sta­ble source or sup­ply of food items. With a com­mu­nity gar­den, this ef­fect is less­ened as the fruits and veg­eta­bles of a com­mu­nity gar­den pro­vide a sta­ble source and sup­ply of food. Like­wise, our ac­tions again re­duce the need for long dis­tance trans­porta­tion and the ac­com­pa­ny­ing ad­di­tion of fos­sil fuel emis­sions to the at­mos­phere.

Of course, work is on­go­ing to study and un­der­stand the changes that ac­com­pany cli­mate change and the im­pact on other as­pects of com­mu­ni­ties. For in­stance, in Pla­cen­tia, a rise in sea level and the ef­fect on var­i­ous struc­tures is cur­rently be­ing stud­ied (see “Wa­ter Re­sources Pub­lic In­fra­struc­ture Vul­ner­a­bil­ity As­sess­ment for Pla­cen­tia, New­found­land”). At the same time, those seem­ingly small and lo­cal ac­tions such as our gar­dens – per­sonal or com­mu­nity ones – make a dif­fer­ence that can be felt the world-over. We too, can tend to change.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.