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Could Cover Crops Help Fight Global Food Insecurity?

Could Cover Crops Help Fight Global Food Insecurity?

Cover crops are grown to benefit the soil, not for harvest. Examples of cover crops can include peas, winter rye, sorghum and barley. The use of cover crops allows farmers to protect their soil before and after they harvest annual crops so that the ground is always covered. Cover crops are a sustainable technique, as they build healthy soil and conserve water, but could they help fight food insecurity?

According to experts, 26.4 percent of the world’s population faces moderate to severe levels of food insecurity, a percentage that amounts to 2 billion people. Global food insecurity is largely concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the rates are determined by factors such as income inequality, food prices and food distribution. Many food-insecure places are affected by droughts and dry seasons. The utilization of cover crops in food-insecure areas may help mitigate the effects of climate change, such as drought and extended dry seasons.

Environmental Protection

Building up organic matter in the soil is an integral part of protecting waterways since nitrogen and phosphorus runoff is the main contributor to water pollution and algal blooms. Utilizing cover crops can provide agricultural communities with long-term protection, building up healthy soil that is more resilient in the future. Additionally, certain types of cover crops do not require tillage, helping keep carbon in the ground. In some climates, farmers may also harvest cover crops without removing the roots, diversifying their operation while also protecting the ecosystem.

Current environmental disasters in food-insecure countries, such as the desert locust in West Africa and parts of India, are a result of climate change. Extractive farming methods, like tilling, only exacerbate the effects of climate change. Many farming methods rely on fossil fuels and technology to operate, a luxury that many communities do not have, and one that is not a sustainable solution. Cover cropping offers significant environmental protection, without reliance on external inputs.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Cheap, Simple DIY Water Catchment and Irrigation

Cheap, Simple DIY Water Catchment and Irrigation

Last year in foothills North Carolina, we had a hundred-year flood in June. Then we went three months without any rain at all. Some things produced well in spite of drought, but tomatoes really suffered and I hardly got any pumpkins. I was not able to keep things adequately watered by hand even before my catchment tank ran dry.

I know that the carbon footprint of tap water is pretty small compared to, say, tropical vacations. But I still have a philosophical problem with paying to have water cleaned so thoroughly that it’s drinkable, and then pumped for miles and miles, only to pour it on the ground. I like the idea of living within the rain budget of my area, which isn’t too hard because we usually get too much. I like the idea of having irrigation water even if I lost access to my local water utility for some reason (power outage, income outage, anything).

Most of all, I like the idea of my garden looking all big and lush like my mom’s. She waters constantly.

So, this spring I added a second catchment tank to our little house, and one to the new pole barn up by the orchard. Big irrigation tanks cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, but I can get a used IBC tank for about $45. I’ve now set up five of these tanks, and I feel it’s a relatively easy and cost-effective option for small-scale irrigation.

This is my Dad’s very nice setup, which I helped him install as a fun Mother’s Day project. Don’t worry, this photo was taken before completion, and the final installation does not include painter’s tape.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Heat Wave To Bake Significant Parts Of US Through Mid-July

Heat Wave To Bake Significant Parts Of US Through Mid-July  

Extreme temperatures, mostly in the mid/the high 90s, are expected for the first half of July for much of the U.S., reported The Weather Channel

These hotter-than-usual temperatures have already begun this week and will bake a significant part of the country this holiday weekend, with elevated temperatures forecasted through the midpoint of the month. 

Current weather models show a heat dome is expected for much of the country: 

A broad ridge of high pressure and a jet stream that will remain well to the north will allow heat to spread across large sections of the Plains, Midwest, Northeast, and Rockies.

This pattern will be supported by two domes of high pressure – one over the East and a second, stronger dome over the Southwest – that will cause air to sink and warm over their respective regions. The domes will also bring warmer air northward on their western and northern sides and diminish rain chances. – The Weather Channel 

North America Temperature Anomalies: 4-Week Average 

The epicenter of the heat will be centered initially around the Great Lakes area, then spread to much of the Midwest, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast. Temperatures will be 20 degrees above average in the Upper Midwest on July 4. 

“The first half of July looks to have well-above-normal temperatures, at pretty high probabilities, beginning around the Fourth of July or slightly before,” Jon Gottschalck, chief of the Operational Prediction Branch at the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, told NBC News

Many large metropolitan areas in the Midwest and Northeast will be +10 degrees above average through the holiday weekend – an indication that energy demand will surge. 

The most common use of degree days is for tracking energy usage – so we will examine cooling degree days (CDD) in several U.S. regions to determine a spike in energy usage is imminent. 

Midwest CDD

Central CDD

Northeast CDD

Southeast CDD

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How to Recognize Desertification and Drought Day

How to Recognize Desertification and Drought Day

More than 2 billion hectares of previously productive land is degraded. For Desertification and Drought Day on June 17, DW spoke with Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

DW: What do you want people to know about this year’s desertification day?

Ibrahim Thiaw: Despite COVID-19, we still need to eat. We still need to have clothes. We still need to feed our animals. And we still need the planet. The planet does not need us.

More than a third of the world’s land is vulnerable to exploitation that can lead to desertification. Where are some of the worst-affected areas?

If you consider the size of the land that is affected by desertification, Africa. But if you consider the number of people that are affected by land degradation, it is Asia. If you include the Americas, both north and south, 40% of land is affected by desertification or susceptible to be affected by land degradation. Europe is not spared either — we still lose a lot of soil here. And Europe has been more vulnerable to drought in recent years because of climate change.

We have one planet, so therefore there is no region in the world that is immune to land degradation or drought.

What do those areas have in common, are there some patterns there?

When you cause land degradation, you are affecting people’s lives: their health, the economy, their security. Land degradation is also having an impact on migration — we will see more migration because people cannot produce anymore in their land. So therefore, it is not biophysical only. It is social. It is economic. It is health. It is our well-being.

What are some steps people can take?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

11 Nations that Collapsed because of Drought

11 Nations that Collapsed because of Drought

Preface. Recently it was discovered that Assyria collapsed in the 7th century BC.  Jeff Masters list ten more civilizations that failed from drought.

We may be next, as Lynn Ingram, a professor at U.C. Berkeley discusses  in her  book: The West without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climatic Clues Tell Us about Tomorrow.  Since 2000, California has had the worst drought in 1,200 years.

***

Sinha, A., et al. 2019. Role of climate in the rise and fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Science Advances.

New research suggests it was drought that led to the collapse of the Assyrian Empire (whose heartland was based in today’s northern Iraq)—one of the most powerful civilizations in the ancient world.  Neo-Assyria was the first super power in the history of the world. The Neo-Assyrian empire (912-609 BC) was the third and final phase of Assyrian civilization. It was by far the largest empire in the region up to that time, controlling much of the territory from the Persian Gulf to Cyprus. The Assyrians were basically like the Empire in Star Wars, they are the all-devouring machine.

They also had incredible skill as hydro-engineers. The Assyrians were largely responsible for the way that the Tigris River Basin drainage now works, they completely remade the natural water flows of that landscape using aqueducts and other hydraulic infrastructure. Some of these features are still functioning today.

Today Iraq is water challenged, with a low level per capita of fresh water, and until a deluge in the winter of 2019, very little rain since 1988.

Jeff Masters.  March 21, 2016. Ten Civilizations or Nations That Collapsed From Drought.  wunderground

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Plague Of “Billions” Of Locusts Threatens To Create A Horrific End Times Famine All Over Africa

A Plague Of “Billions” Of Locusts Threatens To Create A Horrific End Times Famine All Over Africa

Billions of locusts are eating everything in sight in east Africa right now, and every single day many more farms are being completely wiped out.  Unfortunately, authorities are telling us that what we have seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg.  In fact, if extreme measures are not implemented immediately, authorities are claiming that this locust plague could literally get “500 times” worse in a few months.  But it is difficult to imagine conditions getting any worse than they are at this moment.  Ravenous locust swarms that are “the size of cities”are consuming crops at a staggering pace, and this could potentially cause famine on the African continent that is unlike anything we have ever seen before.

It can be difficult to imagine a plague of “billions” of locusts.  After all, there are only about 7 billion people living on the entire planet.

But this is actually happening.  Right now “billions of locusts” are absolutely devastating east Africa, and each one can eat “its own weight in food every day”…

Billions of locusts swarming through East Africa could prove disastrous for a region still reeling from drought and deadly floods, experts have warned, amid increasing calls for international help.

Dense clouds of the ravenous insects, each of which consumes its own weight in food every day, have spread from Ethiopia and Somalia into Kenya, in the region’s worse infestation in decades.

It would be hard to overstate what this is going to mean for the region.  According to the FAO, this plague is an “unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods in the Horn of Africa”…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Floods And Drought Devastate Crops All Over The Planet – Could A Global Food Crisis Be Coming?

Floods And Drought Devastate Crops All Over The Planet – Could A Global Food Crisis Be Coming?

It looks like global food production could be well below expectations in 2019, and that could spell big trouble in the months ahead.  In recent weeks, I have written extensively about the problems that we have been experiencing here in the United States.  As many as a million calves were lost to the flooding that hit the state of Nebraska in March, farmers have planted less than half of the corn that is normally in the ground by this time of the year, and a lot of the crops that have been planted in the middle of the country are really struggling due to extremely wet soil.  But it isn’t just the United States that is facing a very troubling year.  Earlier today, one of my readers sent me an article entitled “Global food crisis ahead as extreme weather events devastate crops and fields around the world”which I would encourage everyone to read.  In that article, we are told that after the worst drought in 116 years Australia has actually been forced to import wheat.  And according to the Guardian, this is the first time in 12 years that this has happened…

Australia is planning to import wheat for the first time in 12 years after drought across the eastern states saw grain production fall 20% last year.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources confirmed this week it had issued a bulk import permit to allow wheat to be brought in from Canada to be processed for the domestic market.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Are we Heading into a Food Shortage?

Are we Heading into a Food Shortage? 

COMMENT: Mr. Armstrong, I find it really distasteful that you laid out events well in advance and then everyone copies you without ever giving you credit. There are articles now appearing about the coming food shortage. The degree of plagiarism is unbelievable. It must be dishearting. I certainly begin to distrust these people and organizations for they certainly even know who you are.

LMS

REPLY: That is life. They are trying to sell something so they have to pretend to do the research to make money by getting people to read. The flooding wiped out stockpiles. Now the planting season is already behind on schedule because of the weather. As I have warned, the computer has been forecasting colder winters and shorter-summers. The planting season will decline and thus the danger of a serious food shortage as we head into 2024.

I previously wrote about the soaring bankruptcies among farmers and combine this with the flooding that continues, I believe the computer will be on point. I also wrote about how this year, the Russian wheat crop failed has failed because of the bitter cold with even April coming in as the coldest in more than 140 years. To make matters worse, our computer warns that the weather will not improve. The next 4 years will put even more financial pressure farmers. Even in Australia, the drought is sending the “roos” invading the cities and they like to feed precisely during Rush Hour.  The drought is so bad in Australia, that animals are dying for lack of feed crops.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Which SHTF situation is most likely to actually happen?

Which SHTF situation is most likely to actually happen?

Image: Which SHTF situation is most likely to actually happen?

(Natural News) The prepping lifestyle can be overwhelming for most people but at its core, preppers prioritize readiness in all aspects of their lives. But amid all the talk about prepping skills, survival gear, and food supplies, how do you know which disaster event has the highest chance of occurring within your lifetime? (h/t to TheSurvivalistBlog.net)

How to prepare for possible SHTF events

For this article, an “SHTF” event is defined as “any event that upends your life” after it occurs, such as flooding in a major city. These events would be classified as major disasters or catastrophes, not personal emergencies.

On the extreme end of prepping are those who will do whatever it takes to get ready for apocalyptic events like EMP attacks or nuclear world war. However, more realistic preppers are concerned about events that may likely occur in their lifetimes, such as hurricanes or tornadoes.

No matter where you land on the prepping scale of SHTF-readiness, the important thing is to get ready for disasters that happen yearly worldwide.

Take note that the events detailed below are more or less likely to occur depending on your location. According to the U.N.’s Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the single most likely natural disaster to occur anywhere in the world is flooding.

Flood preparedness

Rising water is “the most likely disaster to befall you anywhere in the developed world,” with about 30 percent of all disasters categorized as flooding. This coincides with data gathered by U.S.-based disaster response agencies and insurers.

Regardless of what causes flooding, it is a deadly and destructive event that occurs yearly. In most cases, a local major body of water will overrun its banks due to several days of heavy rain. However, other factors like dam failure, ice or snow melting, or tsunamis can also create severe flooding. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Our Food Is Killing the Planet — But It Doesn’t Have To

Our Food Is Killing the Planet — But It Doesn’t Have To

A new book asks, “Can we feed the world without destroying it?” The answers might surprise you.

The world needs to change the way it eats, not just as individuals but as a society.

That’s the message from a groundbreaking report issued last month by the EAT-Lancet Commission, which made a series of societal recommendations to help the world’s ever-increasing human population ensure its food security in the face of global warming.

The recommendations are all designed to accommodate a planet that is projected to contain 10 billion people by the year 2050. They include switching to a diet that’s low in meat and sugar but higher in whole grains, fruits and vegetables; cutting food waste; reducing fossil fuel use and emissions; and incentivizing small and medium farming.

The changes, the report said, would lead to a healthier planet and healthier people, while also helping the more than 820 million people currently suffering from chronic hunger.

Coincidentally, the report came out the same week as a challenging new book that makes many of the same recommendations, while also presenting some contrasting and complementary ideas.

According to Can We Feed the World Without Destroying It?, written by food activist Eric Holt-Giménez and published by Polity Press, we already produce more than enough food to feed everyone on the planet, and we’re gearing up to grow even more to accommodate the projected increase in human population.

All that food comes with multiple costs, including climate change, drought, water contamination, habitat loss and species extinctions — which themselves put the very future of food at risk. Holt- Giménez writes, “our greenhouse-gas-spewing industrial food system has entered a dangerous negative feedback loop. The way we produce and consume food is undermining our ability to produce food at all.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The West’s Great River Hits Its Limits: Will the Colorado Run Dry?

The West’s Great River Hits Its Limits: Will the Colorado Run Dry?

As the Southwest faces rapid growth and unrelenting drought, the Colorado River is in crisis, with too many demands on its diminishing flow. Now those who depend on the river must confront the hard reality that their supply of Colorado water may be cut off. First in a series.

The beginnings of the mighty Colorado River on the west slope of Rocky Mountain National Park are humble. A large marsh creates a small trickle of a stream at La Poudre Pass, and thus begins the long, labyrinthine 1,450-mile journey of one of America’s great waterways.

Several miles later, in Rocky Mountain National Park’s Kawuneeche Valley, the Colorado River Trail allows hikers to walk along its course and, during low water, even jump across it. This valley is where the nascent river falls prey to its first diversion — 30 percent of its water is taken before it reaches the stream to irrigate distant fields.

The Never Summer Mountains tower over the the valley to the west. Cut across the face of these glacier-etched peaks is the Grand Ditch, an incision visible just above the timber line. The ditch collects water as the snow melts and, because it is higher in elevation than La Poudre Pass, funnels it 14 miles back across the Continental Divide, where it empties it into the headwaters of the Cache La Poudre River, which flows on to alfalfa and row crop farmers in eastern Colorado. Hand dug in the late 19th century with shovels and picks by Japanese crews, it was the first trans-basin diversion of the Colorado.

The headwaters of the Colorado River are in a marshy meadow just inside the northern boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park at La Poudre Pass, Colorado.

The headwaters of the Colorado River are in a marshy meadow in Rocky Mountain National Park.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Ghost Empires

Ghost Empires

As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information

 

Drought is a normal recurring feature of the climate in most parts of the world. It doesn’t get the attention of a tornado, hurricane or flood. Instead, it’s a slower and less obvious, a much quieter disaster creeping up on us unawares.

Climate change is currently warming many regions, warmer temperatures increase the frequency and intensity of heat waves and droughts.

We can prepare for some climate change consequences with public education, water conservation programs, limiting pumping from our freshwater aquifers to recharge rates and putting in place early warning systems for extreme heat events.

Unfortunately some things cannot be prepared for…like the pervasiveness and persistence of a hundred year drought caused by climate change.

The collapse of some of the world’s earliest known empires was because of drought.

Akkadians

The Akkadians of Mesopotamia forged the world’s first empire more than 4,300 years ago. The Akkad’s seized control of cities along the Euphrates River and swept up onto the plains to the north – in a short period of time their empire stretched 800 miles, all the way from the Persian Gulf to the headwaters of the Euphrates, through what is now Iraq, Syria and parts of southern Turkey.

Tell Leilan was a small village founded by some of the world’s first farmers. It’s located in present day Syria and has existed for over 8,000 years. The Akkad’s conquered Tell Leilan around 2300 B.C. and the area became the breadbasket for the Akkadian empire.

After only a hundred years the Akkadian empire started to collapse.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Ghost Empires

Ghost Empires

As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information

Drought is a normal recurring feature of the climate in most parts of the world. It doesn’t get the attention of a tornado, hurricane or flood. Instead, it’s a slower and less obvious, a much quieter disaster creeping up on us unawares.

Climate change is currently warming many regions, warmer temperatures increase the frequency and intensity of heat waves and droughts.

We can prepare for some climate change consequences with public education, water conservation programs, limiting pumping from our freshwater aquifers to recharge rates and putting in place early warning systems for extreme heat events.

Unfortunately some things cannot be prepared for…like the pervasiveness and persistence of a hundred year drought caused by climate change.

The collapse of some of the world’s earliest known empires was because of drought.

Akkadians

The Akkadians of Mesopotamia forged the world’s first empire more than 4,300 years ago. The Akkad’s seized control of cities along the Euphrates River and swept up onto the plains to the north – in a short period of time their empire stretched 800 miles, all the way from the Persian Gulf to the headwaters of the Euphrates, through what is now Iraq, Syria and parts of southern Turkey.

Tell Leilan was a small village founded by some of the world’s first farmers. It’s located in present day Syria and has existed for over 8,000 years. The Akkad’s conquered Tell Leilan around 2300 B.C. and the area became the breadbasket for the Akkadian empire.

After only a hundred years the Akkadian empire started to collapse.

In 1978, Harvey Weiss, a Yale archaeologist, began excavating the city of Tell Leilan. Everywhere Weiss dug he encountered a layer of dirt that contained no signs of human habitation. This dirt layer corresponded to the years 2200 to 1900 B.C. – the time of Akkad’s fall.

…click on the link above to read the rest of the article…

Australia’s drought, climate change and the future of food

Australia’s drought, climate change and the future of food

There’s a reason that few people are thinking about world grain supplies. Last year saw record worldwide production of grains and record stocks of grains left over.

But this year worldwide production slipped about 2 percent, owing in large part to the plunge in Australia’s production caused by an ongoing severe drought. Production is expected to fall 23 percent. Fortunately, in our globalized grain markets, this hasn’t affected overall supplies or prices very much as grain stocks are high and supplies are mobile and shipped all over the world as needed.

But Australia is the world’s fifth largest wheat exporter, accounting for nearly 9 percent of the total in 2016 according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In fact, the top five wheat exporting countries account for 56 percent of world wheat exports. The rest of the world is highly dependent on these exporters to make up the difference between what they grow and what they eat.

But it’s not just wheat. For rice the numbers are even more striking. The top five rice exporting countries supplied nearly 80 percent of total world exports. For corn (called maize in most countries) the number is a bit higher. The top five corn exporting countries supplied almost 81 percent of all exports.

Why is this important? First, about 80 percent of all calories consumed come from grains, either through direct consumption (46 percent) or indirectly through livestock in the form of meat, milk, eggs and other animal products (33 percent). Second, as climate change begins to scorch the major grain growing areas of the world, the large exporters may find themselves with much less to export or even begin competing for imports.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Great Drought

The Great Drought

Photo Source NASA Goddard Space Flight Center | CC BY 2.0

The most hazardous global warming risk for society at large is widespread loss of grain production because of a synchronized worldwide drought. It would be a colossal killer. It’s happened before, known as The Great Drought 142 years ago.

Unmistakably, droughts feed off global warming and world temps are heading up, not down. Thus, droughts are intensified by temperature increases. If the same conditions as the drought of 1876 recurs, it would likely be a nightmarish scenario.

Fortuitously, ever since The Great Drought of 142 years ago, droughts have been regional, e.g., when Russia experienced wheat shortages in 2011 as a result of extreme drought, which led to the Arab Spring, other countries like Brazil and the U.S. picked up the slack. The world continued spinning!

But, what if a severe drought hits the planet once again on a global basis like The Great Drought of the late 19th century? Then, what happens?

World population was only 1.4 billion when The Great Drought of 1876-78 killed 5.5 million in India alone, 50 million worldwide, but today’s world population is 4.5xs larger. Does this mean that global famine redux would bring in its wake 225 million deaths, or more? (Source: Researchers Say an 1800s Global Famine Could Happen Again, State of the Planet, Earth Institute/Columbia University, Oct. 12, 2018)

Answer: First, hit the big red button that bonks the clarion bell in the public square to awaken people to the fact that the human footprint, in part and increasingly, negatively influences climate change for the first time since Adam & Eve. Given enough time, anthropogenic global warming itself will hit the drought hot-stuff button. That’s one reason for nations of the world to commit to omitting fossil fuels, which emit CO2, which blankets the upper atmosphere, retaining way too much heat. It’s called “global warming.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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