Climate Change, Magic Tree Seeds and More – Link Round-Up

Food Fight: Climate Change and the Coming International Food Crisis [Civil Eats]

“Climate change causes agricultural problems that in turn give rise to hardship, hunger, unrest, and even war.

Not a pretty picture. In this context it is hardly surprising that the CIA is establishing a new Center for the Study of Climate Change, or that the Pentagon now includes climate change among the security threats it assesses in its quadrennial defense reviews. We need not rely solely on statistical correlations in academic papers to demonstrate the link between food and political insecurity. Just look back at 2007-8, when the price of rice surged 200 percent and wheat and maize rose by more than 100 percent. Across the world, riots erupted and at least one government fell as a result. This year food prices have returned to record levels. The government of Tunisia has fallen, and Egypt is on the brink. In both cases, discontent over food issues has been part of the mix.”

“Magic tree seeds” to purify dirty water [IRIN]

“One solution to the water woes of many of the world’s poor may lie in the pea-sized seeds of the widely grown Moringa oleifera tree, experts say.

‘The Moringa oleifera [seed technique] can be an important, sustainable and affordable method towards waterborne disease reduction and can improve the quality of life for a large proportion of the poor,’ Micheal Lea, author and researcher with Clearinghouse, an Ottawa-based organization researching low-cost water purification technologies, told IRIN.

According to Lea’s 2010 publication, seeds from the Moringa, a tree (also described as a shrub) which grows in Africa, Central and South America, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, can be crushed into a powder and mixed with surface water to produce a 90-99 percent bacterial reduction, making untreated water safely drinkable.”

Floods destroy over a third of the rice harvest in Sri Lanka [IRIN]

“Sri Lanka will lose over one million tons from its upcoming paddy harvest due to recent flooding, officials say.

‘We expected a yield of around 2.75 million metric tons from the harvest due in March to April,’ Kulugammanne Karunathileke, secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, told IRIN. ‘After the heavy rains we will only get around 1.75 million.’

Karunathileke, the highest ranking official at the ministry, said the country had expected a bumper crop – until flooding, which began in January, left some paddy fields under water for up to 11 days. The worst-hit areas are in the eastern districts of Ampara, Batticaloa, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee and the north-central district of Anuradhapura.

Together they account for over 1.2m tons of the harvest.”

Diabetes is a silent killer in Cambodia [IRIN]

“… Most processed and unhealthy food is the cheapest option while healthy foods have become increasingly costly and beyond the reach of the poor, so the poor have no control over the risk factors,” said WDF head Anil Kapur. Meanwhile, campaigners say diabetes is not getting enough attention from international donors.

Foremost is the misconception among donor agencies that these [non-communicable] diseases are diseases related to affluence, and do not affect the poor, which is completely untrue,” Kapur told IRIN. About 80 percent of all diabetes cases are in low- and middle-income countries, affecting mostly people aged 45-64, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

Globally, about four million deaths are attributed to diabetes every year, compared to three million for AIDS-related illnesses and one million for malaria. Diabetes is responsible for about 5 percent of all deaths globally each year and the figure could rise by more than 50 percent in the next 10 years if urgent action is not taken, says WHO.”