The Stream, November 9: Redrawing the Global Crop Map Could Ease Water Stress and Feed Millions

The Global Rundown

Swapping which crops are grown on existing farmland could feed an extra 825 million people and ease global water stress. Years after two major oil spills dirtied the Niger Delta, a comprehensive clean-up effort begins. Seven megatrends, including renewable energy and electric cars, could help avert catastrophic climate change. A coalition of business and environmental groups rush to overhaul the United States federal flood insurance before the program expires next month. India’s federal government ramps up the fight against air pollution as thick smog continues to choke Delhi.

“Every possible step required to tackle the situation has been already identified, and the need of the hour is to put them into action.” –Harsh Vardhan, India’s Environment Minister, in reference to the Indian government’s heightened attempts to battle air pollution. As thick smog envelops New Delhi, forcing week-long school closures, Delhi and the surrounding northern states scramble to bring down the dangerous pollution levels. Reuters

By The Numbers

7 Number of megatrends that could help avert catastrophic climate change. These changes include plant-based meat, reforestation, and the death of coal power. Progress on fighting global warming is “growing exponentially,” according to former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres. The Guardian

3 years Length of a landmark project aimed at cleaning up Rivers State, part of the Niger Delta, which was polluted nearly a decade ago by two large oil spills. Oil companies and activists hope the effort will serve as a model for further rehabilitation of the area, where crude oil has dirtied countless creeks and mangrove swamps. Communities in neighboring states have expressed dissatisfaction over being omitted from the clean-up plan. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Changing where crops are grown could help meet growing demand for food and water, according to a report by The Earth Institute at Columbia University. Researchers analyzed the world’s 14 most widely-produced crops and their water requirements, creating a new global crop map that could feed an additional 825 million people and reduce consumption of rainwater by 14 percent and irrigation water by 12 percent. Science Daily

On The Radar

A coalition of businesses and environmental groups continues to push for an extension of the U.S. federal flood program, which has been widely utilized in the wake of flooding from hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Activists claim that an overhaul of the insurance program would provide better protection to the environment, taxpayers, and “those in harm’s way.” A hearing on the bill was scheduled for Tuesday, but has been postponed indefinitely. The current program expires on December 8. Reuters

Kayla Ritter is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, where she studied International Relations and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She is currently based in Manton, Michigan. Kayla enjoys running, writing, and traveling. Contact Kayla Ritter