In this age of the Anthropocene, man-made climate change had brought about harsher weather conditions, with more extreme events like heat waves, droughts and hurricanes occurring more frequently. One area that is extensively affected by this is food production.
With rising temperatures and more and longer droughts, crop yields fall significantly as the soil grows drier and rainfall becomes more scarce. With the warming of sea water, marine ecosystems suffer, causing an important source of food to become at risk as aquatic creatures struggle and/or die in such drastic conditions. With deforestation, animals that are hunted for food lose their habitats and food stocks face yet another reduction. These few examples illustrate how climate change is negatively impacting on our food production, threatening our food security and aggravating the issue of feeding a growing population.
When considering climate change, we rarely consider its social impacts. A talk by author Naomi Klein opened my eyes to the fact that climate change can lead to social injustice. Countries in Africa who were already struggling to produce adequate amounts of food for their populations are now faced with more difficulty when weather conditions force them to envisage new or different production techniques. Lack of resources implies that they are unable to invest in new methods in contrast to the developed countries. Furthermore, the social injustice also takes place at a much lower level. According to the FAO, female workers who represent 43% of agricultural workers in developing countries are more disadvantaged than men as their produce is lower than men’s due to their responsibilities in their households, their inability to get more capital in a patriarchal society and other prejudice-based reasons.
When considering the Anthropocene, we tend to focus on its environmental impact which overshadows the social one. However, the social injustice it leads to is also significant as it demonstrates how climate change will affect different groups around the world substantially.