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– Climate & Health Effects –

– Climate & Health Effects –

Did you know the food we eat is affected by climate change? Climate change has a large impact on the health of the soil, which can cause problems with many of our food sources. Inadequate food supply sources leads to food insecurity, which affects human health, and farmer’s crop production and yields.

The warming of our planet is from the burning of fossil fuels and contributes to carbon pollution. The more carbon pollution, the more the sun’s energy gets trapped as heat. The rising global temperature has an impact on natural systems, which leads to more extreme weather events (extreme heat, superstorms, flooding) that affect the earth’s soil and ultimately, the food supply.

Extreme precipitation causes runoff and erosion, because the ground is not able to absorb all the water fast enough. These heavy rain events causes water to rapidly move through the soil, and leaches or removes important key nutrients from healthy soil that is needed to sustain adequate agriculture.

A study done in 2017, projects rising temperatures and extreme weather events, could reduce the production of maize, soy, wheat and rice by 9 percent in 10 years, and by up to 23 percent in the 2050s.

Not only does climate change affect our food supply, but it affects hardworking farmers who rely on soil health for adequate production of crops. Without producing as many crops, the productivity and profitability are much lower for farmers. In order to help with the effects of climate change on agriculture, it is important to maximize the health of the soil. Ways to do so, are to disturb the soil as little as possible, growing as many different species of plants as practical, keeping living plants in the soil as long as possible and keeping the soil covered at all times.

Soil can become bare and compacted when it is disrupted by tillage practices, which is destructive to soil microbes and leads to a hostile environment, where plants do not grow or thrive well. It is important to keep a diversity of crops to support the many types of soil microorganisms.

Also, living roots provide the easiest source of food for soil microbes, so it is important to keep them growing throughout the year as they replenish the soil’s health. Lastly, prioritizing soil cover conserves moisture, reduces temperature, protects against heavy rainfall, suppresses weed growth and provides a habitat for some of the soil food web that spend time above ground.

Using these four practices are essential in improving the health of the soil, despite the effects climate change has on soil. Climate change poses a risk to our environment, rural communities, farmers and the many people who rely on agriculture for food. It is important we do what we can to help combat climate change, so that our future generations have enough food supply and food security, in order to sustain a healthy life.