As climate change rapidly worsens several conditions all over the world, there are many sectors and communities which are in great danger. We as a society must act now and try our best to achieve net zero emissions before it is too late. The Agriculture community will soon face an even harder battle. Climate change impacts will soon make their problems worse and, not only that, will put the world’s food supply and farmer’s livelihood in danger. Fortunately, there are ways which can help mitigate the damaging effects of climate change, but we must act now.
According to reports from Fourth National Climate Assessment (FNCA), there are newly established climate change trends that are happening and FNCA is predicting there will be more intense periods of heavy rain and longer dry periods. Additionally, there will also be more extremely hot days. Due to the new climate change trends, its impacts will affect the agriculture community even greater with more droughts, floods and threats of new pests which will impact livestock and crop viability.
The increase of floods will also increase the sea level. Frequent floods and the rise of sea water will surely destroy crops and livestock, pollute water, and damage important infrastructures. Moreover, droughts will destroy crops and livestock as water supplies will start to deplete. Also, this might cause wildfires that will further damage the agriculture system. The change in the climate pattern means that farmers will also need to find a way to have crops and livestock adapt to the new climate. In addition, they will also need to find ways to combat new pests that will be present.
Farmers today are relying on fertilizers and pesticides. They provide advantages, but also disadvantages especially as climate change effects worsen. Due to the use of fertilizers and pesticides, soils become degraded and low in organic matter. Its root systems do not develop into a deep complex system which results in a decrease of its water holding capacity and makes it more prone to water pollution and erosion. Furthermore, farmers today also do not try to increase biodiversity which makes pest problems, crop and livestock viability worse.
An increase in hotter days will generate unsafe working conditions for farmers and make farming extremely hard as water supplies continue to become depleted. This will affect everyone as food prices will increase along with food insecurity.
As climate change impacts continue to worsen at rapid speeds, we must not only focus on mitigation, but we must also prepare to handle future damages on agriculture communities. We can help farm communities prepare for such disastrous events such as providing shelters, food, first aid and more. Additionally, we can help people rebuild or redesign their current practices in order to fully adapt to new climate patterns, invest in infrastructures that will provide water, communication, and more.
Farmers must find ways to create new diverse agroecosystems and develop new practices in order to withstand the inevitable damage from climate change impacts. Our priority and main goal now must be to achieve zero net emissions of heat-trapping gases. Our agriculture and food system can make new changes to help bring down emission levels to zero. It can be done by building agroecosystems which can help store more carbon and reduce emissions during food production and distribution.
All in all, we must act now before it’s too late as climate change impacts continue to become more destructive. It will inevitably affect all sectors. To further mitigate its effects, we can invest in public research, find alternatives to fossil fuels and use more energy efficient appliances. It is critically important to help preserve agriculture ecosystems before our food supply is greatly affected.
“Climate Change and Agriculture.” Union of Concerned Scientists, 20 Mar. 2019, www.ucsusa.org/resources/climate-change-and-agriculture.