Wrapping up Day 2 of CCNow’s ‘Food & Water’ joint coverage week

Here's our recap of the second day of coverage.

Yesterday, CCNow hopped on Twitter Spaces with three climate journalists to discuss factoring in justice when reporting on food, water, and the climate crisis. Naomi Starkman of Civil Eats, Angely Mercado of Gizmodo, and freelance journalist Caitlin Ochs emphasized the importance of showing up and taking the time to build relationships and trust with communities that have been historically marginalized and undercovered. “I think that’s such an important piece to all of our journalism is to recognize who holds the power and where we can cede that power wherever necessary,” said Starkman, who also shared that food-justice and Indigenous food practices reporting is some of Civil Eats’s most-read journalism. Listen to the full conversation here.

We’ll have two more Twitter Spaces events this week, focused respectively on farming practices and our diets & food culture. Keep an eye out on Twitter and in our Slack workspace for more info.

Separately, join us TOMORROW, Wednesday, June 29, at 12pm US Eastern Time for a press briefing with a panel of experts on climate, hunger, and the future of food. We’ll hear about climate’s role in the growing food crisis and solutions to help improve our food systems. RSVP here.

Below, find more Food & Water coverage from our partners, recommendations for republication, and some great food and climate stories with a special focus on biodiversity.

As a reminder, here’s how you and your news outlet can be involved during the week:

  • Publish original content on the intersection of food and climate, or publish content made available by another CCNow partner, through our Sharing Library.
    • For original stories, please include the following tagline:
      This story is part of Covering Climate Now’s ‘Food & Water’ joint coverage week.
    • For stories that are republished from other CCNow partners, this tagline is mandatory:
      This story originally appeared in [name of outlet] and is part of Covering Climate Now’s ‘Food & Water’ joint coverage week.
  • Tune in for our press briefing and social media events (more below).
  • Amplify food and water stories on social media, tagging us @CoveringClimate and using the hashtag #CCNow.
  • Join the conversation in our CCNow collaboration-wide Slack space. Share your stories with fellow journalists, brainstorm ideas, and more. (If you haven’t joined already and want to, send an email to editors@coveringclimatenow.org

Today’s highlights

From Yes! Magazine: Reliance on just a few staple crops puts food systems across the world at risk amid climate change. In India, though, a collection of cafés is leaning into diverse plants forgotten by much of society but well-known to Indigenous groups, as a form of climate resilience. By Anne Pinto-Rodrigues.

From WNYC: Swaths of New Jersey were polluted long ago by the Ford Motor Company, with longstanding health consequences for the Ramapough Lenape Nation’s Turtle Clan depended on. Now, with climate change and extreme weather, locals worry pollution could get into ground and drinking water. In turn, Turtle Clan Chief Vincent Mann launched Munsee Three Sisters Medicinal Farm to build up the clan’s food sovereignty. By Emma Illick-Frank.

From Yale Environment 360: Unintended consequences of food and agriculture-related projects can be a disaster for the climate. In Egypt, a canal intended  to improve food security will likely dry up a large, nearby swamp that stores huge amounts of carbon. A dry swamp will also make it more difficult to regulate flooding and potentially deprive farmers across the region of rainwater necessary for their own food security. By Fred Pearce.

Republication recommendations

The following stories deserve special consideration for republication by CCNow partners:

For partner outlets: to submit stories for sharing, please use this form. As always, instructions for republishing and the full list of stories available for republication can be found in our Sharing Library.

Focus on biodiversity

Starting in the 1960s, the so-called “Green Revolution” brought a massive reduction in crop diversity worldwide. In the face of widespread, chronic hunger in many low-income countries, farmers were encouraged to plant relatively few, optimized varieties of wheat, maize, rice, and other staples. The new approach did, in many places, increase yields, which in turn lowered prices and the number of people going hungry. But it also ushered in industrial farming practices that favored large producers and required massive amounts of fertilizers that polluted both the soil and the atmosphere. Today, the climate crisis threatens those very same “miracle” foods of the Green Revolution, as extreme weather and highly adaptive pathogens slash yields. The solution? Many scientists, farmers, and Indigenous advocates are urging a return to the greater plant diversity of years past, using today’s technology to develop more climate-resilient crop varieties.

  • From the Guardian: “Our food system isn’t ready for the climate crisis.” This piece, chock full of highly effective graphics, follows “the humble banana” to demonstrate how industrialized agriculture has resulted in crops that are more homogeneous, which makes them more vulnerable to climate change. By Nina Lakhani, Alvin Chang, Rita Liu, and Andrew Witherspoon.
  • Also from the Guardian: In Mexico, scientists are fast at work creating new wheat varieties that will adapt and thrive amid climate change — and that don’t require environmentally damaging (and bad for the climate!) fertilizers that have become the global norm. Also by Nina Lakhani, with stellar photos by César Rodríguez.
  • From Mongabay: In Malawi, commercial farming practices and climate change both have contributed to a loss of biodiversity, damaging soil and hurting farming yields. Now, a return to “agroecology” might both improve the country’s biodiversity and point a way forward for its farmers. By Charles Mpaka.
  • From New Scientist: The Mediterranean diet helped one writer lower his carbon footprint but to his surprise high demand for the mostly green diet is also harming the Earth’s biodiversity, demonstrating the tricky climate trade-offs that permeate our food systems. By Graham Lawton.
  • From Yale Environment 360: Extreme heat can kill pollen, with huge knock-on effects for crop yields. Researchers now are striving for more climate-resilient pollen varieties. By Carolyn Beans.