More than 820 million people around the world don’t have enough to eat and their hunger affects us all. “Without food security, you will have no other security,” said David Beasley, the executive director of the World Food Programme, to an audience of Stanford members and local residents on Oct. 1.
Beasley along with predecessor Ertharin Cousin, a visiting scholar with Stanford’s Center of Food Security and the Environment, helped shape the United Nations’ anti-hunger program into the world’s largest hunger relief organization, feeding over 90 million people every year.
This posting, my eighth annual edition, comes again from our mid-sized corn, soybean, and cattle farm in Linn County, Iowa. My wife and I may not be typical owners, but our farming operation is a fair representation of what is happening in rural America. The overwhelming reaction for 2019 is, “Wow, what a difference a year makes.” In 2018, growing conditions were practically perfect; in 2019, almost nothing has gone right.
Not many people go into farming to get rich. Low commodity prices, high operational costs and limited profit opportunities cloud the outlook. William Wrigley Professor and FSE Founding Director ROSAMOND NAYLOR gave a keynote presentation on the path toward a more profitable future at an agricultural symposium hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
The Ecological Society of America (ESA) has named William Wrigley Professor and FSE Founding Director ROSAMOND NAYLOR as one of its 2019 Fellows. The lifetime appointment recognizes Naylor for “designing ecologically and economically sound practices that protect native species and enhance global food security in marine and terrestrial ecosystems,” according to the ESA’s April 4th announcement.
As global temperatures rise, climate change’s impacts on mental health are becoming increasingly evident. Recent research has linked elevated temperatures to an increase in violence, stress and decreased cognitive function leading to impacts such as reduced test scores, lowered worker productivity and impaired decision-making.
As the climate changes, where plants grow best is predicted to shift. Crops that once thrived as a staple in one region may no longer be plentiful enough to feed a community that formerly depended on it. Beyond where plants grow, there’s also the issue of how they grow. Evidence suggests that plants grown in the presence of high carbon dioxide levels aren’t as nutritious.
Nearly ubiquitous in products ranging from cookies to cosmetics, palm oil represents a bedeviling double-edged sword. Widespread cultivation of oil palm trees has been both an economic boon and an environmental disaster for tropical developing-world countries, contributing to large-scale habitat loss, among other impacts.
Twelve-year-old Lena is growing up poor and malnourished on Chicago’s West Side. She buys Blue Juice and Hot Chips from the corner store on her way to school. She and her classmates can afford the flavoured sugar water and salty starch, but this cheap “food” that fills up her stomach provides no nutritional value.
The recently launched Stanford Alumni in Food & Ag group aims to bring together Stanford graduates with a background or interest in food and agriculture issues. Tannis Thorlakson, one of the group’s creators, works as the environmental lead for Driscoll’s in the U.S. and Canada, and recently earned her Ph.D. from Stanford’s E-IPER program. She hopes the group will help alumni stay connected with cutting-edge research and stay up-to-date on news within the food and agriculture space.
Marshall Burke, assistnat professor of Earth system science and deptuy director at the Center on Food Security and the Enviroment shares his insights on how climate change is already impacting human behavior and what interventions are cost effective when it comes to combating the global change in climate.
These field notes constitute my seventh summer report from our Iowa farm. As readers of prior postings may remember, my wife and I own a medium-sized farm in east-central Iowa that produces corn, soybeans, and beef from a cow-calf herd.
When it comes to food security, health and poverty, the impacts of climate change already are evident. That’s the message FSE Fellows David Lobell and Marshall Burke delivered last week at Global Climate Action Summit events held by Stanford in San Francisco.
But new research is showing that climate change is expected to accelerate rates of crop loss due to the activity of another group of hungry creatures — insects. A paper published Aug. 31 in the journal Science reports that insect activity in today's temperate, crop-growing regions will rise along with temperatures. Researchers project that this activity, in turn, will boost worldwide losses of rice, corn and wheat by 10-25 percent for each degree Celsius that global mean surface temperatures rise.
More children die from the indirect impact of armed conflict in Africa than those killed in the crossfire and on the battlefields, according to a new study by Stanford researchers. The study is the first comprehensive analysis of the large and lingering effects of armed conflicts — civil wars, rebellions and interstate conflicts — on the health of noncombatants.
The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University is pleased to announce that former U.S. Ambassador and World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Ertharin Cousin will return for a second year at Stanford. We caught up with Cousin to ask about her plans for this upcoming school year.
Stanford researchers find warming temperatures could increase suicide rates across the U.S. and Mexico
Suicide rates are likely to rise as the earth warms, according to new research published July 23 in Nature Climate Change. The study, led by Stanford economist Marshall Burke, finds that projected temperature increases through 2050 could lead to an additional 21,000 suicides in the United States and Mexico.
David Lobell Named Gloria and Richard Kushel Director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment
The rising level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means that crops are becoming less nutritious, and that change could lead to higher rates of malnutrition that predispose people to various diseases.
In 2015, exposure to particulate matter in sub-Saharan Africa led to 400,000 otherwise preventable infant deaths, according to a new Stanford study. The research, published this week in Nature, finds that even modest improvements in air quality could lead to substantial reductions in infant mortality in developing countries.
Failing to meet climate mitigation goals laid out in the U.N. Paris Agreement could cost the global economy tens of trillions of dollars over the next century, according to new Stanford research. The study, published in Nature, is one of the first to quantify the economic benefits of limiting global warming to levels set in the accord.