Safeguarding our food supply in the face of climate change
There is a silent extinction underway in the world of plants.
We’ve all heard of the troubling mass extinction of animal life, so it may come as a surprise to hear that seeds are in even deeper trouble. Since the turn of the century, 93% of US seed varieties have gone extinct and with them the diversity of our meals. As clearly shown in the infographic published by National Geographic’s John Tomanio, nature’s tastiest gifts have dramatically disappeared across the past century. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (the FAO), 75% of the world’s food is now generated from only 12 plants and five animal species.
This means not only less interesting dishes for our dinner plates, but has implications for global food security. With projections of 9 billion mouths to feed by 2050, the time is now to safeguard what remains of agricultural genetic diversity. An urgent race is underway globally to collect and bank seeds that may hold within them the genetic keys to drought or pest resistance – an insurance policy for safeguarding our future food supply in a climate-changed world.