The world’s population is growing: It reached the 7-billion mark in 2011, and is continually increasing. Impressive and alarming images that show the space-related problems with which people in some parts of the world are being confronted can be seen here.
With the growth of world population and changes in nutritional habits in industrial and emerging countries, the need for food is also increasing. Wealthy countries with scarce crop acreage have long been pursuing the goal of purchasing large tracts of land, mainly in Africa, in order to secure their own supplies. This form of land purchase, so called land grabbing, is also termed neo-colonialism. Above all, emerging industrial nations such as China and India, but also Arab states, are buying up more and more land, for the most part in Africa. This is often carried out under the pretext of development aid. However, a glance behind the scenes quickly makes it clear that, apart from the money that flows into the government budgets of African countries, it is above all land expropriations that present resident farmers with an enormous problem.
Human rights are often violated in the process, and the quality of life becomes even more desolate. Global climate change also has a negative effect on land grabbing: through pressure on agricultural surfaces, pasturage and forests from ever-more intensive exploitation, the productivity of agricultural areas and the inhabitants’ natural livelihoods are lost, to say nothing of domestic food production. Climate change intensifies the situation. Shorter rainy seasons, increasing droughts and rising sea levels and resulting crop shortfalls are colliding with increasing population and lead to a rise in the demands on agricultural areas. This negative correlation highlights the potential for conflict and the urgent need for action on both international and national levels, to prevent existing problems from becoming even worse. In this connection we should remind ourselves once again of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.
The climate changes. How does it change the landscapes and daily life? How do people react all over the world? Contributors from different countries – writers, artists, curators, and journalists – blog for goethe.de/climate about their local experiences.