Planet Earth Weekly

Climate Change and Renewable Energy: Saving Our Planet for Future Generations

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Climate Change has been at the Root of Major Famines

Drought in India

Indian drought causes famine.

“The demand and supply of food has been in a delicate balance for the human species throughout history.”

By Dr. John J. Hidore

October 30, 2018—–The term famine produces an image of starvation and suffering in the minds of most people. In general a famine is a lack of food sufficient to produce malnutrition in large numbers of people over a wide area. The United Nations considers several conditions for a regional food shortage to be considered a famine. They are:

1. At least 20% of families in the area face extreme food shortages that they cannot cope with.
2. Acute malnutrition in children exceeds 20%.
3. The death rate exceeds two persons for each 10,000 people per day.

The Role of Climate Change in Historic Famines

There are many causes of famine, including climate changes, war, and political policies. One of the major ones is drought. Most of the catastrophic famines in historic times have been precipitated by drought. Drought can affect the quality and quantity of crop yields and the food supply for domestic animals. In the case of severe drought there may be a substantial loss of domestic animals due to lack of food. The loss of milk products or meat itself can precipitate the effects of the drought.

The demand and supply of food has been in a delicate balance for the human species throughout history. When the food supply has increased there has been a gain in population, and when food has been in short supply there has been some sort of trauma inflicted on the populace. Starvation results from insufficient food intake. During the long period of the hunting and gathering societies, starvation was probably often near at hand for individuals, family groups and tribes.

Indian drought

Millions effected by the drought

Agriculture and Famine

The development of agriculture allowed the world population to expand rapidly and greatly. At the same time, the basis for the supply of food, namely agriculture, became more directly dependent upon the weather. Famine as a phenomenon did not become a part of human experience until after agriculture began. However, as agriculture expanded so did the frequency of famines. The number of times that famine has spread on the continents is enormous. Nearly all histories of peoples and nations record famines.

Great famines have occurred throughout the Asian continent. India, China, Russia and the countries of the Middle East have all suffered from famine, many times which were drought related. An example is the famine described as occurring during the time of Abraham (about 2247 B.C). Another massive famine occurred in Egypt prior to the exodus of the Israelites. Drought and famine are endemic in India and China. The oldest record of famine in India goes back to 400 B.C. and in China to 108 B.C. Since the time of the earliest known famine there have been nearly continuous episodes of drought and famine in many parts of Asia or Africa.

Indian drought

Global warming raises temperatures around the world.

The Impact of Drought in Developing Countries

Drought has a much greater impact on people in developing countries than it does in industrial societies. The primary reason for this is that in the developing countries there is more dependence on agriculture as a way of life. When crops fail, or there isn’t enough forage for livestock, there is an immediate effect on the populace.

A very positive aspect of famine is that they are becoming fewer and less extensive due to the ability of the global economy to move large quantities of food from place to place.

Climate change and famine


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Global Population on the Move: Few Places to Go


Overpopulation and turmoil leads to current migration patterns.

“There is no easy solution to the growing human stress, but there are humane solutions.”

By Dr. John J. Hidore

August 12, 2018—-People in many parts of the world move in a rhythmic fashion with the seasons. Some follow herds of livestock or wildlife that move with the seasonal rains. However, the use of the term human migration is generally applied to those people that move from one region to another on a long term, or permanent basis.

People have been migrating from the time the species originated. Today migrants number in the millions and they frequently cross national borders. They are fleeing from violence, hunger, unemployment, and poverty. Unfortunately, doors are legally closing for many of them and so they turn to crossing borders illegally. Most of these are soon caught and taken to detention centers. Such detention centers are found in many countries in Europe as well as in the United States, Australia, and Japan. How long they are detained in detention centers varies considerable. Some are held for a specific period of time and in some centers they are held indefinitely. Most are sent back to the country of origin. A few are granted entry visas.

migration and population

Overpopulation can lead to migration

Across the Mediterranean

In mid-summer of 2018, there are millions of people attempting to cross international borders. Up until recently there has been a major flow of refugees across national borders. Examples are the steady flow of refugees across the Mediterranean Sea into Greece, Italy, and other countries. At present a wave of nationalism is spreading across the earth greatly slowing or stopping this flow. This is visible in the alt-right movement in Europe.

The alt-right consists of a group of organizations made up of white supremacists. It includes neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers. As a result, immigration is being limited. The primary reason is there are no longer economic opportunities available for the incoming migrants in the destination countries. These countries are already experiencing over-population. Where there has been over-population in many of the less developed countries, it is becoming apparent even in the developed countries.

Overpopulation and migration

Overpopulaton leads to turmoil.

The American/Mexican Border

No place has the door been slammed harder than along the border between Mexico and the United States. The president of the United States (POTUS) has tried for all practical purposes to close the border. The difficulty in getting into the United States legally has been greatly increased. Crossing into the United States illegally has resulted in horrific measures to stop it. At the time of this writing there are still more than 500 young children that have not been united with their parents. Near the end of July, POTUS threatened to shut down the government if congress does not provide the money to build his wall along the border. This is an example of the turmoil each country faces in dealing with migration.

The World Problem

The examples presented here are just that. The problem also exists along national borders in Africa, Asia, and South America. Widespread over-population results in more and more attempted migration. At the same time there is increased resistance to immigration by more and more nations.

Adding another 83,000,000 people to the planet each year can only exacerbate the problem. There is no easy solution to the growing human stress, but there are humane solutions.

Population and Migration