Climate Change May Affect Food Supply Within a Decade

Go Lean Commentary

Don’t say you haven’t been warned! The apocalyptic effects of Climate Change may not be so far off, maybe even within the next decade. So says the foregoing article. For those of us on the front line, the Caribbean region, this is our warning siren for us to take immediate actions to “save life and limb”:

Title: Think Climate Change Is a Problem for the Future? Our Food System May Feel the Heat in a Decade
By: Steve Holt

CU Blog - Climate Change May Affect Food Within a Decade - Photo 2The new sci-fi thriller The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From the Future depicts a world ravaged by climate change. Decades of ignoring signs of global warming have led “to soaring temperatures, rising sea levels, widespread drought,” and the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet, a catastrophic global disaster. It’s a terrifying fiction to consider—but one that, even in science fiction, seems far, far off. Collapse takes place in 2393, after all. Similarly, voters and politicians alike are prone to taking a far-off view when talking about climate change—it’s easy for some of us to procrastinate on acting because we believe any effects are 50 or more years away. The incremental changes happen so slowly, it seems: an extra powerful storm here or an inch of ice melt there.

But what if we felt the impact of our collective actions (and inactions) relating to climate change a lot sooner—like, by 2024?

Well, that far-off sci-fi tomorrow may indeed be here before we know it. Recently, a leading climate change observer made the scary prediction that climate change could disrupt the global food supply, endangering billions of humans, within the next decade.

“The challenges from waste to warming, spurred on by a growing population with a rising middle-class hunger for meat, are leading us down a dangerous path,” Rachel Kyte, World Bank Group vice president and special envoy for climate change, recently told the Crawford Fund 2014 annual conference in Canberra, Australia, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “Unless we chart a new course, we will find ourselves staring volatility and disruption in the food system in the face, not in 2050, not in 2040, but potentially within the next decade.”

While we’re already talking about how climate change could take away our coffee [a] and our chocolate, there’s far more to this problem than higher prices for lattes and candy bars. Yields on staple crops could drop significantly, and meat prices are already on the rise thanks to the prolonged drought in the West. And our failure to stem the tide of human environmental destruction, experts say, will hit Americans hard in the pocketbook. Food shoppers here in the United States should expect a climate-induced rise in food prices as a result of more extreme weather events; crop failures due to weather warming that influences pests, diseases, and weeds; and related effects on fisheries and livestock. But while we’ll all feel the pain at the checkout, food price increases will disproportionately impact the nearly 15 percent of U.S. households that are food insecure [b], says Dr. Linda Berlin, director of the Center for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Vermont.

“Americans who will be most negatively affected by these changes are those with the least disposable income, i.e., little ability to absorb the extra costs,” she says.

Kyte—who oversees work on climate change adaptation and mitigation and climate finance taking place across World Bank Group institutions—pointed to a number of factors that are exacerbating the oncoming food crisis, including a rising demand for meat worldwide, land clearing and increased greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, and threats to low-lying areas from rising sea levels. Air temperatures could increase 2 degrees by the mid-2030s, she says, which could cut cereal yields by 20 percent worldwide and 50 percent in Africa.

Kyte’s analysis coincides with the draft of an upcoming United Nations report [c], released in August, in which the international panel of scientists expresses 95 to 100 percent certainty that human activity is the primary cause of global warming. Additionally, according to the report, greenhouse gas emissions are increasing, despite far-reaching political efforts to reduce them. Between 2000 and 2010, emissions grew at 2.2 percent annually, up from growth of 1.3 percent yearly between 1970 and 2000.

Food shortages have led to riots in other countries, and that kind of hunger-related violence is always cast as an “over-there” sort of problem. But that’s partly because of our “giant safety net program—SNAP (food stamps)—which most countries don’t have,” as Stanford professor Rosamond Naylor told several hundred scientists and California Gov. Jerry Brown last December [d].

With $8.6 billion cut from the program in the 2014 farm bill [e], that safety net isn’t faring all that well.
Cited References:
b. c.

Yahoo News / e-Zine (Posted 09-02-2014) –;_ylt=AwrBEiTNFApULVYAgIbQtDMD

The foregoing article is asserting that Climate Change may not just be our grandchildren’s problem alone; it is an issue for us, and even our parents. The risks and threats associated with this agent-of-change must therefore be mitigated now! The book Go Lean…Caribbean identifies this impending crisis and then declares that “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste”, calling for the establishment of a regional sentinel to monitor, mitigate and manage the effects of Climate Change on the region’s economic, security and governing engines. According to the foregoing article, which considers near-term projections on the world’s food supply systems, this will be a global crisis; the rest of the world will have to contend with these same issues.

This Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The prime directives of this agency are described as:

  • Optimize the economic engines of the Caribbean to elevate the regional economy to grow to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establish a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Go Lean roadmap calls for the establishment of an Emergency Management agency (subset of the CU’s Homeland Security Department) so as to adopt the professional arts and sciences of Public Safety & Emergency Management. The emergencies within this scope will include natural disasters like hurricanes, flooding, forest fires, and droughts, all which can affect the food supply systems, even fisheries. The Caribbean Emergency Management Agency would therefore need to coordinate and plan with other CU Departments and member-state agencies in a proactive manner to anticipate the needs of the Caribbean region; this will include the CU Departments of Health (Food & Nutrition Administrations), Agriculture & Fisheries.

A lot is at stake with this consideration – life and death – our ability to feed our populations.

CU Blog - Climate Change May Affect Food Within a Decade - Photo 1Not everyone accepts these precepts – vocal deniers of Climate Change abound! But, recent natural disasters have devastated the region and do not allow us the luxury of dissent in our planning. We can see, hear, touch, taste and feel the effects of Climate Change now in our region. It is an Inconvenient Truth.

The Go Lean book reports that Climate Change is wreaking havoc on Caribbean life now; (the Bahamas 2nd city, Freeport, never fully recovered from Category 4 Hurricane Wilma in 2004, even now). Today, this foregoing news article identifies even more serious risks, this time for the world’s food supply. Due to globalization and the status as Small Island Developing States, today’s story becomes an alarming issue for the Caribbean as our region disproportionally depends on imports for our food supply. These agents-of-change (Climate Change & Globalization) were pronounced early in the book in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 11 & 14), with these statements:

i.     Whereas the earth’s climate has undeniably changed resulting in more severe tropical weather storms, it is necessary to prepare to insure the safety and security of life, property and systems of commerce in our geographical region. As nature recognizes no borders in the target of its destruction, we also must set aside border considerations in the preparation and response to these weather challenges.

xxx. Whereas the effects of globalization can be felt in every aspect of Caribbean life, from the acquisition of food and clothing, to the ubiquity of ICT, the region cannot only consume, it is imperative that our lands also produce and add to the international community, even if doing so requires some sacrifice and subsidy.

To counteract the changes in nature, the Go Lean book advocates the immediate confederation of the 30 member-states into a Trade Federation with the tools/techniques to bring immediate change to the region to benefit one and all member-states. This includes the monitoring of the dynamics of Climate Change. While the region’s total population is only 42 million, compared to the whole world’s 6 Billion, we can still have an impact. We must still feed ourselves; we can show the world how best to accomplish this as Small Island Developing States. As the world seeks answers, they will have our technocratic example to glean from.

We cannot not expect anyone but ourselves to take the lead for our solutions. Other countries, like the US, have Climate Change deniers-and-detractors in the highest levels of government – this is not a model for us to emulate. Previous Go Lean blogs have cited this trend, as cited in the following sample: Cooling Effect – Oceans and the Climate Climate Change May Bring More Kidney Stones Caribbean grapples with intense new cycles of flooding & drought Conservative heavyweights have solar industry in their sights Go ‘Green’ … Caribbean

The Caribbean does not have the luxury of a laissez-faire attitude – No Problem Mon – towards Climate Change as we are on the frontline of these dilemmas. Instead the Go Lean book declares that we must adopt a community ethos, the appropriate attitude/spirit, to forge change in our region; then details the executions of the following strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to better impact the region’s preparation for food resources, especially considering the consequences from Climate Change:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices / Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – The Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Intelligence Gathering Page 23
Community Ethos – “Crap” Happens Page 23
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 24
Community Ethos – Non-Government Organizations Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing Page 35
Community Ethos – Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Confederating 30 Member-States into a Single Market Page 45
Strategy – Vision – Foster Local Economic Engines Food, Clothing &   Shelter Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Prepare   for Natural Disasters Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Exploit   the Benefits and Opportunities of Globalization Page 46
Strategy – Agents of Change – Climate Change Page 57
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – Confederating a Permanent Union Page 63
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Separation of Powers – Emergency Management Page 76
Separation of Powers – Meteorological & Geological Service Page 79
Separation of Powers – Food & Nutritional Administration Page 87
Separation of Powers – Agriculture and Fisheries Department Page 88
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Security Initiatives at Start-up – Unified Command & Control Page 103
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Implementation – Ways to Foster International Aid Page 115
Implementation – Ways to Benefit from Globalization Page 119
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage Food Page 162
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Advocacy – Ways to Improve for Natural Disasters Page 184
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Emergency Management Page 196
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Fisheries Page 210
Appendix – History of Puerto Rican Migration to US & Effects of Hurricanes Page 303
Appendix – US Virgin Islands Economic Timeline with Hurricane Impacts Page 305

The foregoing news article discusses the threats of Climate Change on the world’s food supply…soon, within the next decade. We have no time to relax, no time to debate, we must get ready now.

Remember the Bible drama of Joseph interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams as warning of an impending great famine. The shrewd course of action for Joseph and Pharaoh was to plan/prepare the food supplies for the forthcoming lean years – Genesis Chapter 40 – 41.

From the Caribbean perspective, our only observation on this drama can be: Ditto!

Change has come to our region; more devastating change is imminent. There is the need for a permanent union – a sentinel – to provide efficient stewardship for Caribbean economy, security and governing engines. The Go Lean…Caribbean posits that the problems of this region are too big for just any one member-state to tackle, but rather this multi-state technocratic administration may be our best solution.

The people and institutions of the region are hereby urged to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap, to embrace the mitigations for the impending world changes. Let’s make the Caribbean better; a better place to live-work-play today and even more so tomorrow.

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

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