Do you guys know “How does climate change affect nutrition?” Unlike natural disasters and diseases, nobody is secure from climate change. The planet earth is widely affected by it and is regarded as the most significant threat to humanity. Extreme weather conditions and rising sea levels are substantial conclusions. In recent studies also found proof that climate change affects the nutrition of the food we consume. Climate change raises the seriousness.
The poor rural people are least able to adapt, and thus, climate changes increase injustice. Without adequate and timely action, climate change will adversely affect nutrition through a decrease in food quality. And gives easy access, a reduction of dietary variety, and a decrease in food nutritional content.
Climate Change Nutritional Quality
A recent report from the United Nations climate change decreases the nutritional value of crops like rice and wheat. The main reason being that the high levels of carbon dioxide. It deranges the plant’s internal chemistry, which eventually alters the protein and vitamins they produce internally. Climate change is associated with numerous health hazards. They are responsible for widespread mosquito-borne diseases. Diseases like malaria and dengue, more severe allergy seasons, and procreation of flesh-eating bacteria in hot water.
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A recent report from United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) alerts severe other health risks, such as increased carbon dioxide levels which will lower the nutritional value of foods like wheat and rice. The researcher has found out that crops growing in an environment with higher carbon dioxide levels decrease the concentration of proteins, iron, and zinc. As a result, it is an alarming threat for around 821 million people who are undernourished around the world.
An Intricate Inside Balance
The increasing amount of greenhouse gases is responsible for the warming of the world. In May 2019, the highest concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide in history was documented by scientists, who were 415 parts per million. It may appear as the crops need the increased supply of carbon dioxide as they require it for photosynthesis. Scientists have discovered that the internal chemical compositions need an exquisite balance of carbon dioxide from the air and the natural nutrients from the soil in some plants.
Plants such as wheat and rice encounter photosynthesis called C3. C3 is less energetically effective than C4 photosynthesis that takes place in crops such as corn. If C3 plants take in an excess amount of carbon dioxide, it can cause the plant to produce way more carbohydrate fuel. This, in turn, will dilute the concentrations of valuable compounds such as vitamin B, etc. Reports from IPCC have shown that wheat cultivated in the range of 546-586 parts per million of atmospheric carbon dioxide has 4-7 % less amount of zinc, 6-13% fewer amounts of protein, and 5-8% fewer amounts of iron.
A dangerous cycle of climate change that affects nutrition
At present, 76% of the total daily protein consumption of the world’s population comes from plants. This research puts light on the fact that climate change will likely cause a global food crisis. It would affect millions of people who will not obtain the vital nutrients for the significant foods they rely upon. It would substantially impact roughly 354 million children under five years of age who live in South Asia and North Africa. These countries are already experiencing very high rates of protein deficiency.
According to the IPCC report, the overall food system, which comprises farming, transportation, packaging, and feed production, produces roughly 37% of the greenhouse gas emissions. The nutritional quality of the crops will keep on declining as these emissions continue to be on the rise. Climate change increases the intensity and the frequency of dangerous weather conditions such as heatwaves, storms, droughts, etc. It also makes it more of a challenge to feed a population that also keeps on rising.
Food Security and Nutrition in the time of Climate Change
Climate change, such as changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide, frequency and intensity of extreme hot and cold weather, and temperature rise, has a hugely significant impact on the yields of the crops. In some cases, the increased temperature is ideal for the growth and reproduction of plants. It is mainly beneficial for crops that usually get plants in that region. Or give the farmers a choice to shift to crops that are typically grown in warmer climates.
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