In a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change earlier this year, researchers reported their projections that crop yields could decrease in a decade without additional research into creating the most innovating varieties possible to keep up with an increasingly warm and dry planet.
Many of us think of the past few decades as being filled with conflict over oil, but what looks like is happening is that more and more people are having to live off of food that is increasingly insecure. That means that policymakers planning agricultural policy as well as individual farmers feeling pressured to cultivate larger and larger yields all the time aren’t sure where the next yield will come from, or if the land which that yield came from can support another cycle.
This is a problem that is largely being felt by people in the developing world, which means that the story may not get much airplay here in the United States. However, if we don’t deal with this issue, and continue to not deal with larger issues related to climate change, the area that is suitable for growing food will continue to shrink. Water will continue to become lower-quality, and more scarce, meaning agriculture will have to fight with the average consumer over who can get limited water available to them both. Eventually, we’ll feel the pinch and it’ll turn into a painful punch quickly from there.
For our future interests and for our fellow human beings now, let’s invest in agriculture.