High Country News » Can small communities tackle global food security?

Climate change has profound impacts on growing seasons and crop yields, but local solutions have promise.

This story was produced in partnership with KVNF Radio in Paonia, Colorado.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this year is on course to be the hottest year in recorded history. And with greenhouse gas emissions increasing, we’re closing in on a global temperature rise of more than two degrees Celsius — what many scientists agree is a point of no return in avoiding the most dangerous impacts of climate change.

Those impacts are felt more acutely in the West.  Because it’s mostly arid, mountainous, and largely rural, the West sits in the crosshairs of the most profound impacts from climate change.  Substantial changes have already affected growing cycles and yields for agriculture, a huge part of the Western economy and culture. Many small communities are rising up to address the challenge of food security. During a panel discussion on climate change impacts to agriculture in Paonia, Colorado, one expert talked about the drastic change he’s personally studied in these mountains.

Pete Kolbenschlag, the organizer of the Paonia panel discussion, knows that food security affects everyone. “If you care about what’s on your plate, and you care about feeding other people and the planet, then we need to care about climate change, because climate change is going to affect our food supply,” he says.

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