The word “climate” makes most of us look up to the sky – however, the IPCC’s new special report on climate change and land should make us all look under our feet.
Land, the report shows, is intimately linked to the climate. Changes in land use result in changes to the climate, and vice versa. In other words, what we do to our soils, we do to our climate – and ourselves.
The first part of the report makes for difficult reading. Humans, it says, now exploit more than 70% of the Earth’s ice-free surface, and more than a quarter of land globally is suffering degradation as a result of human activities.
Soil is being lost up to 100 times faster than it is formed, and desertification is growing year on year. Temperature increases and heavy rains associated with climate breakdown are further degrading already damaged soils.
All this is already causing food insecurity, and unless action is taken the impacts will only get worse. The report states that unless we stop and reverse land degradation, food supply chains will become unstable, and nutrient levels in foods will decrease. These impacts will hit those living in precarious situations and in poverty the hardest, but the effects will be felt around the globe. Read more …