Climate Adaptation

CLIMATE ADAPTATION

I want to punch climate change in the face. A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.


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Living on Earth: Maple Syrup and Climate Change
I caught this Ice-block slide on frozen river, downtown Astana.Borscht soup with every meal. Epic tacky.Everyone wears fur. President billboarded everywhere. Me and a co-worker. Space beach. Rusty boat on frozen lake. Borovoe, KZ.Out for a chat in -20c.

Just back from Kazakhstan. It was a very dangerous -30c (-22f below zero). We (USAID) and the UNDP run a Climate Resilient Wheat program(PDF) for the KZ government. Here are some non-work pics…:)

Which land should governments protect from floods: urban and coastal cities, or agricultural farmlands?

Interesting argument against governments protecting urban zones over food-production zones. Coastal communities and inland cities are protected from floods and erosion by highly complex infrastructure mechanisms, such as dams, levees, and piping. Agricultural lands do not enjoy the same levels of infrastructural capacity. But, should they? Should farms have an equal amount of protection as cities do?

The Year the Monarch Didn'€™t Appear

Related to Obama’s voracious support for ethanol. See my earlier post on how the president’s policies supporting ethanol fuel is devastating conservation land across the United States.

Report: Obama's ethanol policy has ravaged the environment | Al Jazeera America

Obama is no environmentalist. He’s helped increase fracking, expanded off-shore oil drilling, continues to stealthily approve parts the Keystone XL Pipeline, weakened endangered species protection, and will sign off on Alaska’s horrifying Pebble Mine gold mine.

mnenvironmentalillnessnetwork:

Losing Ground (3 minute version) (by EnvironmentalWG)

This Environmental Working Group video explains how many Midwestern industrial farms are contributing to the loss of top soil, as well as polluting precious water supplies with fertilizer and toxic pesticide pollution.

Understanding What Happened (Why nearly 100,000 cattle died in a freak snow storm in mid-October)

What are your thoughts on vegetarianism/veganism? Especially taking into consideration the possibility of a (worsening) global food crisis.

A question by Anonymous

Hey anon,

I generally avoid food posts, but am interested in the infrastructure that supports food systems.

One part of my current contract with USAID is a resilient wheat project in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is the 6th largest wheat producer in the world and mostly exports to east and central Europe, the Caucuses, and Asia.

Farmers there are facing three main issues: extreme temperature swings, which are increasing in frequency and causing terrible economic havocs; when to plant their crop, a problem because the planting timing and growing seasons are shifting; and shortage of storage silos for the wheat, especially in bumper seasons.

This last part - where to store the wheat - is probably the biggest issue developing countries (DCs) face with respect to dealing with climate impacted growing seasons. The farmers in Kazakhstan don’t trust the government, nor their seasonal forecastings. Nor do they (generally) reliably purchase crop insurance. So, the farmers tend to plant “when my neighbor plants,” put their finger to the wind, and hope for a good season. It’s very risky, and very unstable. They lose when there is a bad year, due to bad timing of planting, storms, droughts, etc.

But, and back to your question-ish, some years produce so much wheat that the farmers actually lose money. The reason is two fold. First, they lose on market price. The market price goes down when there is an abundance of wheat, it goes up when there is a shortage. The other problem with high-volumes is that there’s no storage system or infrastructure to support a storage system. Thus, all the silos get filled very quickly when all farmers produce record crops - when the silos are filled, the wheat is literally thrown away. 

Tl;dnr, “the food crisis” is typically not due to a bad weather year, but due to inefficiencies in distribution. There’s plenty of food grown in the world. Climate change will affect the patterns of growth, but not to such an extent that the systems cannot adapt and adjust.

Getting crops from farm to table is the real issue…

Check out the UN’s Food Security program for more.

Cheers,

m

Government budget cuts threaten Pakistan's climate change efforts

Climate scientists condemn the decision.

Reuters

Floods have halved Pakistan's economic growth

Three years of repeated floods have inflicted serious damage on Pakistan’s economy, halving its potential economic growth, an expert says.

“The impact of floods on Pakistan’s economy is colossal as the economy grew on average at a rate of 2.9 percent per year during the last three years,” said Ishrat Husain, an economist and director of the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi.

That is less than half the 6.5 percent that Pakistan could potentially have managed if it weren’t facing the economic and human losses associated with the flooding, Husain said.

Flooding is hardly the only impediment to economic growth in the troubled South Asian country. Worsening power shortages, “a poor law and order situation and a host of other structural impediments” also are holding back investment and growth, Husain said.

But extreme weather presents an especially worrying economic challenge, he said, because the country can work to reduce its energy crisis and improve law in order, but has limited scope to avert natural calamities, other than trying to devise effective mechanisms to minimise its losses.

Reuters

Pesticide use around the world. Chart shows amounts of pesticides used on farms (conversion). Click to embiggen. Source, WaPo.

'Nothing comes from these plants.' How China's industrialization is polluting its food supply