State of the Planet

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ACToday Experts Take Part in Panel on Climate and Food Security

Scientists and other experts from the Adapting Agriculture to Climate Today, for Tomorrow (ACToday) Project, joined former New York Times journalist Andrew Revkin for an online web seminar on May 7 to discuss the intersection of food, climate and coronavirus.

The seminar — “Feeding Humanity as a Pandemic Disrupts a Heating Planet” — was produced and hosted by Revkin, who is founding director of the Earth Institute’s new Initiative on Communication and Sustainability.

In the discussion, members of the ACToday team at Columbia — Walter Baethgen and Michael Puma — offered updates on the project’s work, and discussed how both climate and the coronavirus will affect food supply chains, and people’s ability to feed themselves. They also discussed how university-led projects such as ACToday can help take on major challenges like those brought about by this pandemic.

They were joined by Ousmane Ndiaye, the director of Senegal’s national weather service, and the World Food Programme’s Lena Schubmann, who is based in Guatemala. Ndiaye and Schubmann gave an on-the-ground update of the COVID19 situation in their countries, as well as how their organizations are trying to address the added risks a pandemic brings to communities that face recurring bouts of food insecurity.

“It’s a profound moment of history that we’re living through right now,” Revkin said, opening the event. “Coronavirus is representative of the global biological connectedness that is matching our climatological connectedness and shaping risk in ways that are very hard for our current systems to deal with.”

Watch the full webcast here:

Adapted from a news story by Columbia World Projects.

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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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