- Published on January 30, 2022
Visualized: A Global Risk Assessment of 2022 and Beyond "Since the start of the global pandemic, we’ve been navigating through tumultuous waters, and this year is expected to be as unpredictable as ever. In the latest annual edition of the Global Risks Report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), it was found that a majority of global leaders feel worried or concerned about the outlook of the world, and only 3.7% feel optimistic. Ever year, the report identifies the top risks facing the world, as identified by nearly 1,000 surveyed experts and leaders across various disciplines, organizations, and geographies. What global risks are leaders and experts most concerned about, and which ones are posing imminent threats? Researchers at Visual Capitalist dive into the key findings from the report. Click on the image above to learn more.
"We need to change how we think of farming. We have already begun to move towards a model in which farmers are business people growing and selling food, and more government-supported land stewards are managing a complex mix of food production, soil fertility, wildlife habitat and more. Around the world, many farmers depend on subsidies, drought relief and payments from piecemeal schemes to conserve soil and nature. Such programmes — currently small-scale, ad hoc fixes for a broken system — should be the core of the agricultural sector Our land, our fresh water, our biodiversity and our soil are too precious to be destroyed by the market price of commodity grains and other foodstuffs. We must invest deeply and thoughtfully in our farmers so that they can invest deeply and thoughtfully in the land, becoming holistic landscape-management professionals. This is the future of farming. Nature 601, 503-504 (2022)." Clck on the image above to learn more.
Near the town of Fianarantsoa (Madagascar), the above image depicts a nice example of how farming communities are practising integrated land and water management at watershed scales. Just below the houses, are compost pits for accumulating crop residues and manure. The compost is returned to the upper terraces, where nutritious and high value vegetables are grown. The water and nutrients flow gently to lower terraces where irrigated rice is cultivated. The system of terraces and hedgerows protect the soil even during intense rainstorms! Worth noting that this cropping system does not depend on any government subsidies! [Fianarantsoa means "Good education" in Malagasy.]
"Africa’s “Great Green Wall” initiative is a proposed 8,000-kilometer line of trees meant to hold back the Sahara from expanding southward. New climate simulations looking to both the region’s past and future suggest this greening could have a profound effect on the climate of northern Africa, and even beyond By 2030, the project aims to plant 100 million hectares of trees along the Sahel, the semiarid zone lining the desert’s southern edge. That completed tree line could as much as double rainfall within the Sahel and would also decrease average summer temperatures throughout much of northern Africa and into the Mediterranean, according to the simulations, presented December 14 during the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting. But, the study found, temperatures in the hottest parts of the desert would become even hotter. Previous studies have shown that a “green Sahara” is linked to changes in the intensity and location of the West African monsoon.." Click on the image above to learn more about these preliminary findings and ongoing research to better understand plausible future impacts.
"Agricultural subsidies are an important factor for influencing food production and therefore part of a food system that is seen as neither healthy nor sustainable. Researchers have analysed options for reforming agricultural subsidies in line with health and climate-change objectives on one side, and economic objectives on the other. Using an integrated modelling framework including economic, environmental, and health assessments, they find that on a global scale several reform options could lead to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and improvements in population health without reductions in economic welfare. Those include a repurposing of up to half of agricultural subsidies to support the production of foods with beneficial health and environmental characteristics, including fruits, vegetables, and other horticultural products, and combining such repurposing with a more equal distribution of subsidy payments globally. The findings suggest that reforming agricultural subsidy schemes based on health and climate-change objectives can be economically feasible and contribute to transitions towards healthy and sustainable food systems." Click on the figure above to read the open-access publication.
"An innovative method of controlling a range of damaging crop diseases using native, beneficial soil bacteria has emerged from a research-industry collaboration. The agri-tech innovation hopes to give farmers a way to reduce the cost and environmental damage caused by the chemical treatments currently in use to control crop diseases, such as common scab in potatoes.The John Innes Centre team in the UK isolated and tested hundreds of strains of Pseudomonas bacteria from the soil of a commercial potato field, and then sequenced the genomes of 69 of these strains. By comparing the genomes of those strains shown to suppress pathogen activity with those that did not, the team were able to identify a key mechanism in some of the strains that protected the potato crop from harmful disease-causing bacteria." Click on thre image abpve to learn more about the innovation.