Building the #ZeroHunger Generation

Unit 2: Climate change

The challenge

If you read our Activity Book "Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too", you might remember that climate change is affecting the health of our planet. It is changing our world, in part by causing more natural disasters and severe weather events. When a natural disaster strikes, did you know that people often have to leave their homes for other areas, towns or cities? In 2015, more than 19 million people had to move after surviving a natural disaster. People who suffer most during and after a natural disaster are poor farmers, fishermen, pastoralists and forest dwellers.

If these people are lucky enough to avoid a natural disaster, they may still have to leave their homes because they can’t grow enough food anymore. Climate change and rising temperatures can change the environment dramatically. Where once a farmer could grow food, seedlings no longer survive, or grass no longer grows for animals to eat. It can turn healthy soil into unhealthy, dry and infertile soil. This means that people can no longer work, and there is less food produced. The people who used to work the land are more likely to become poor and hungry because they can’t produce food to eat or sell.

What can we do?

One way to make sure that both people and their lands are better able to recover from the shocks of climate change and natural disasters is to help to prepare for them where possible. It is important to protect our lands, and FAO helps farmers to do this by teaching them about Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA). CSA means working land and growing food in sustainable ways that don’t damage or strip it of precious nutrients. It also helps to limit the greenhouse gasses produced. CSA helps farmers to grow more food on the same amount of land, often using less water. This means that the farmers can earn more money. It means that they can prepare for disasters like droughts.

FAO is also teaching farmers to use seeds that are more resistant to drought and disease, to breed livestock that are used to hotter temperatures, create storm-proof ponds and cages for fish, and plant trees that are heat and drought tolerant. When natural disasters can’t be prevented, FAO helps farmers to get back on their feet or return home after a short period away. FAO supplies easy-to-grow seeds, and tools to begin planting again, and to grow nutritious crops.

FAO works with partners to set up monitoring systems to try to limit the effects of crises. These are called early warning systems, which are alerts that tell people and governments when to prepare for a disaster so that fewer lives, money and resources are lost.