State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

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A Famine Foretold

Agricultural scientist Jim Hansen lays out some of the contributing causes to food insecurity in East Africa in a new video interview (emphasis mine):

“Since the early 1990s there has been a serious neglect in agricultural development in the region and most of Africa south of the Sahara desert. It has been driven more by shifts in ideology than any real evidence from the key international development organizations. As a result, rural communities across Africa have been trapped in worse and worse poverty and have become more and more vulnerable to the impacts of shocks such as the current drought. They’ve become more dependent on humanitarian assistance and so we have a cycle of accelerating poverty, vulnerability and dependence that can best be described as a larger and larger slice of a smaller and smaller pie having to go to short term crisis relief instead of longer term development that could have prevented the crisis.”

Hansen also leads the Adaptation through Managing Climate Risk group at the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. Watch the entire interview below.

Next up in IRI’s series of video interviews on the East Africa crisis will be Dan Osgood, who’ll talk about the role index insurance among farming and herding communities in the region.

Check our video page regularly, or follow developments on Twitter:@climatesociety.

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Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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