Feeding Humanity as a Pandemic Disrupts a Heating Planet

May 7, 2020
DESCRIPTION: A LIVE update with team leaders and partners in Columbia University’s pioneering ACToday project working in six vulnerable countries to build resilient and adaptive agriculture and food systems in a changing climate on a fast-forward planet.

Follow @climatesociety to learn more about the core Columbia institution behind this project - the International Research Institute for Climate and Society.

In the United States, miles-long lines of cars form at food banks, meat plants hit by COVID-19 lock down. At the same time, mountains of potatoes and tanker loads of milk are dumped. In sub-Saharan Africa, stampedes for food assistance have been reported in locked-down urban settlements and citizen brigades have formed in India to keep the poor fed under shelter-at-home orders. The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting every system we rely on, but there’s no system more vital on a day-to-day basis than the tangle of networks that connect farms, factories and communities. Add in the rising pulse of heat, drought and extreme storms attending human-driven climate change to see the challenge facing the world in the coming months and years.

How can humanity be well fed as a pandemic disrupts life on a heating, turbulent planet?

We’ll be doing a series of Sustain What webcasts on ways to shape food systems for more resilience and sustainability. But we start this week with a status report and solutions discussion featuring a team of scientists and other experts from the ambitious new Columbia University World Project helping six of the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries shape more resilient agriculture systems using the latest data on climate variability and global warming.

The project, Adapting Agriculture to Climate Today, for Tomorrow (ACToday), was launched in 2018 and focuses initially on Guatemala, Colombia, Senegal, Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Vietnam. Together, these countries have a population of almost half a billion people who face recurring climate-related risks to their food production and economies. Learn more about ACToday in a 2019 progress report here:

SUSTAIN WHAT is a global online conversation identifying solutions to the complicated, shape-shifting and epic challenges of humanity’s “great acceleration.” A prime focus is making sense of, and getting the most out of, the planet's fast-forward information environment -- the one Earth System changing faster than the actual environment.