SCIENCES

Hot, Hungry Planet: The Fight To Stop a Global Food Crisis in the Face of Climate Change

St. Martin's. May 2017. 240p. notes. ISBN 9781250084200. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250096395. SCI
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Accelerating climate change and the population explosion do not bode well for food security. Good crop yields usually depend on consistent weather, and we are not getting food to everyone. Journalist and researcher Palmer warns that the global food system is losing resilience and cites as one example rising prices that have caused social disruption in the Middle East. She has traveled the world examining a variety of efforts to prepare farming for a challenging future, such as secondary schooling and family planning for young farm women in Uganda; combined ranching, farming, and forestry practiced on properties in Colombia; and "Climate Smart" Indian villages using systems engineering techniques. She also looks at the cross-breeding of weeds with rice plants to increase hardiness by the U.S. Department of Agriculture; the purchase of boats for women fish sellers on Lake Victoria, Kenya; and sustainable small-scale U.S. farming. Palmer concludes that there is no single solution but stresses that education, appropriate technology, and female empowerment are key components. The shifts between scenarios can be confusing at times, but overall the reporting delivers welcome hope that humans may avoid famine in the face of climate change.
VERDICT For readers with an interest in agriculture and the environment.
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