Hydroponics vs. Climate Change – Part 1: It’s The End of the World as We Know It…

     Everybody needs food to survive. And food needs a healthy, balanced climate to survive. One of the greatest and gravest threats to our world over the next few years and beyond is climate change. Climate change will have a direct, negative effect on food supply and security.

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Figure SPM.7 | Summary of projected changes in crop yields, due to climate change over the 21st century. The figure includes projections for different emission scenarios, for tropical and temperate regions, and for adaptation and no-adaptation cases combined. Relatively few studies have considered impacts on cropping systems for scenarios where global mean temperatures increase by 4°C or more. For five timeframes in the near term and long term, data (n=1090) are plotted in the 20-year period on the horizontal axis that includes the midpoint of each future projection period. Changes in crop yields are relative to late-20th-century levels. Data for each timeframe sum to 100%. © IPCC, 2014, 5th assessment


*hydroponics has entered the chat*

     I know that “hydroponics” sounds like a funky, electronic-type of music from the 80s, but in fact, it’s one of our greatest weapons against climate change (which is the Thanos of the agricultural world).

     In the following series of articles, we’ll discuss the negative impact that climate change has on the agricultural industry (where a lot of food comes from), and how hydroponics can help fend off some of those adverse effects.

     Climate change mitigation efforts could cause an increase in energy prices, which in turn would cause an increase in food prices. An increase in food prices could lead to less food production because people on both sides can’t afford the increase. (https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/climate-smart-agriculture/0/steps/26565)

     Crop water usage and increase in drought due to more extreme and lengthy heat waves can cause water to become scarce.

     Climate change can also cause more land to be unsuitable for crops, which will cause the competition for quality land to go up. Our population keeps increasing, which also requires more land for living, which in turn causes less land for growing. It also increases the amount of food required.

     Also, extreme weather events (Hellacious storms) can damage quality crop lands and cause large decreases in agricultural productivity. This, once again, leads to an increase in food prices.

     Just as some regions will experience severe droughts, others will experience excessive torrential rain and flooding. In some coastal areas, the rise in sea level causes a decrease (or complete obliteration) of agricultural land. (https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/climate-impacts/climate-impacts-agriculture-and-food-supply_.html)

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Figure SPM.8 | Maps of CMIP5 multi-model mean results for the scenarios RCP2.6 and RCP8.5 in 2081–2100 of (a) annual mean surface temperature change, (b) average percent change in annual mean precipitation. © IPCC, 2013, 5th assessment.


     Also, increases in temperature can cause more pest and disease issues for crops. This can lead to even more usage of harsh pesticides, which in turn can eventually cause health problems in the people that consume that chemically-saturated crops. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_and_agriculture)

     If crops are negatively affected, and therefore decreased, it can also threaten pastures and feed supplies. This directly affects the livestock that also provides food for people all over the world. Even if you hate salad and only ever eat steak, the threat that climate change poses to agriculture will also affect your own preferred food supply.

     Also, the increase in nasty, disastrous, inclement weather can negatively affect food delivery throughout countries and across the globe. This can also lead to higher prices for food that will be much harder to access.

     Yes, I know you’re probably already terrified and thinking of where you can store all the food you’re about to stock up on for the impending foodpocalypse. But wait!

     Are you done waiting? Good, I was worried about you for a moment. Instead of panicking and immediately buying yourself a lifetime supply of mac & cheese, there is a way we can fight back and help future generations as well.

     Spoiler warning:

     It’s hydroponics.

     Please stay tuned as we discuss some of the ways hydroponics can help to fight back against the anti-food results of climate change.




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