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Climate change puts food security at risk, says speaker

Professor Isabel Rivera-Collazo (photograph supplied)

There are many serious consequences to climate change apart from rising sea levels, a professor said yesterday.

Isabel Rivera-Collazo, from the University of California San Diego, told a youth climate summit: “Climate change can impact what and how we eat, how we live and how safe we are on our lands. If these things change, it will affect how we do things.

“Things that allow plants to produce and animals to grow are the same variables that are changing.

“That is why we need to think about the components in our diet and what the environmental constraints of those components might be.”

Dr Rivera-Collazo was speaking during a presentation at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute’s second annual Youth Climate Summit. The virtual conference began on Monday and will run until Saturday.

After her presentation, attendees were asked what connection they saw between climate change and cultural identity. Some of the students responded: “Climate change can take away what makes culture unique and special”, and “I see the need to be able to adapt”.

Another participant wrote: “If sea levels rise and islands start to go underwater, there is nowhere to live and therefore when generations die out, no Bermudians would be left”.

Young people also heard from Rayne Sullivan, co-chairman of the Sustainable Ocean Alliance’s Youth Policy Advisory Council, which aims to further environmental regulation policies around the globe.

Mr Sullivan talked about the unique perspective that island-nations such as Bermuda could offer in discussions about climate change.

He said: “Island nations are on the front lines of the climate crisis, facing rising sea levels and other effects like extreme weather. That is a unique perspective on what we can bring to the global discussions.

“It is important for islanders to know the story of their community and to be stewards of that. It is not only important domestically, but also within the international context on how we can share best practices as well as our community stories to continue to propel the momentum [of change].”

Bermuda High School students Ava Gibson and Laura Hupman were the final speakers of the day. They were in the summit’s sustainability working group last year.

Ms Gibson said that after last year’s summit, sustainability had greatly influenced her life choices.

She said: “Having gone through last year’s summit, both Ms Hupman and I can look at how sustainability is implemented.

“I have certainly looked at sustainability tactics that I thought in the past were effective, but might not really be that effective in ensuring sustainability.”

Ms Hupman said that people could take tiny steps towards a cleaner and healthier planet, including reusing water bottles and food containers.

She said: “Whatever people are doing, whether big or small, everything adds up in the long run.”

Today’s virtual session will feature activist Andrew Fagerheim and award-winning journalist Jessica Knoblauch, staff writer at environmental organisation Earthjustice. It will be live-streamed via the BUEI’s YouTube channel.

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Published November 23, 2022 at 7:54 am (Updated November 23, 2022 at 7:54 am)

Climate change puts food security at risk, says speaker

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