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Why This Matters: Where and how food is grown is essential for people’s survival, and shifting agricultural patterns. Maize, wheat, and rice comprise nearly two-thirds of human food consumption. For every degree of global warming: maize yields are projected to fall by 7.4%, wheat yields by 6% and rice yields by 3.2%. However, the coming changes brought on by climate change could also lead to a rethink of monoculture production that’s oriented around trade. “Diversity is key. Under the current paradigm, we have an assembly-line approach to food,” Lew Ziska, a plant physiologist and longtime Department of Agriculture researcher, told Inside Climate News last year.
Climate change impacts animal ag, too
Hotter temperatures are changing the farm game for livestock as well as plants. Above 68 degrees, pigs and cows are out of their ideal temperature range, and these temperatures are increasingly common. Heat stress can cause a range of effects — pigs will eat less when overheated; cows reduce their milk production — and farmers are adapting. Fixes include giant fans and sprinkler systems to keep animals cool, but those can come with steep up-front costs and increased electricity bills. Animals kept in pastures, like goats, are also at risk of heat stroke, and farmers worry that there won’t be enough pasture for them to graze.
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Today, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released its 2021 Plowprint Report, which tracks the amount of grasslands lost to plow-up each year. This year’s study found that plow-up across the Great Plains has only continued to accelerate, releasing exorbitant amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. The report concludes that […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer The National Park Service has closed down a large swathe of Alaska’s Denali National Park after excessive permafrost thawing caused landslide activity near the park’s only access road. The access road is now closed, blocking entry to about half of the park. Park officials say that although there have been landslides in […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Last week a federal judge threw out permits for a significant Alaska drilling project granted under Trump and legally backed by the Biden administration. The project isn’t dead yet, and ConocoPhillips says it will be evaluating its options to continue the operation. Still, Indigenous communities and environmental groups are celebrating the decision. “Today’s […]
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