The Greenhouse Effect

Do you know how many people live on this planet? There are 7.5 billion people on Earth, but millions are unable to get the food that they need to survive. With the population increasing every day, we need to try to make sure that everybody has access to healthy food.

With World Food Day just around the corner, we’re going to take a look at how the world’s changing environment is affecting our farms and what we can do to help.

It’s important to remember that a lot of people in poorer countries rely on their own local farms to provide them with all of their food. Producing all of your own food can be hard enough, but in recent years, it’s become even more difficult. Global temperatures are rising. Tropical storms are becoming worse and more frequent. Droughts (when an area sees unusually low levels of rain for a long time, causing water supplies to run out) are longer and harsher, and when rain does come, it can cause devastating floods.

Why is the weather becoming so much worse? Most climate scientists agree it’s because of a process called global warming. Global warming occurs when lots of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide or methane are released into the atmosphere. When heat from the Sun reaches Earth these gases act like a big blanket. They prevent the heat leaving the Earth and escaping back into space. The heat is stored, and the world gets warmer.

Unfortunately, the way we produce a lot of our food contributes to global warming. People are eating more meat than ever and huge areas of forest are often cleared to make space for large farms that rear livestock. This is really bad news for the environment: the trees that were cut down would have absorbed lots of carbon dioxide, and the cattle on the farms produce a lot of methane when they fart.

Our population is expected to rise to 9.6 billion by 2050, and if we keep eating and farming the way we do now to feed everyone, then the effects of global warming will get worse. It’s our responsibility to change the way that we treat our planet. So what can you do to help?

Ask your parents to buy less meat, as this will reduce the number of animals we need to rear. You can help reduce the amount of food we waste by buying more of the ugly fruits and vegetables. Wonky fruit and vegetables taste the same as perfect ones, but people tend to pick nicer-looking food, leaving the less attractive food to be thrown away.

Finish your dinner! Food that is thrown away produces methane as it rots, and at the moment, about a third of all the food produced in the world goes to waste.

You should also try to save energy wherever possible, because most processes that produce electricity also produce greenhouse gases. So turn out the lights in rooms you’re not in and don’t leave the television on standby.

Don’t leave the tap running while you brush your teeth, and try to take shorter showers. A lot of energy is required to clean the water that comes out your taps, and water itself is often in short supply, so it’s important to protect this precious resource.

All these steps will contribute towards a healthier planet!

Watch The Greenhouse Effect for a closer look at how greenhouse gases heat up our planet.