Recent reports from both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have confirmed 2014 as the hottest year on record. Average global temperatures and sea levels are on the rise, and precipitation in crucial agricultural zones is diminishing. The world can no longer ignore these indicators—and, particularly, the connections between climate change and global food security.
The twenty-first Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place in Paris November 30 to December 11, 2015. One of the largest climate conferences ever organized, the session will bring together more than 40,000 participants, including delegates representing each country, as well as observers and civil society members. This crucial conference aims to create a new international agreement on climate with the goal of keeping global warming below 2°C.
Fortunately, many innovative organizations are already on the front lines of this challenge, developing bold new ways to spread knowledge and sow the seeds of change for future generations. From providing hands-on educational outreach to influencing policy with innovative research, each of these groups has a unique approach to connecting and engaging individuals. A dynamic and powerful idea unites these organizations: small change in everyday habits, mixed with effective information gathering and sharing, can lead to big change in the long run.
To show support and solidarity for those working to find ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change, Food Tank is highlighting 21 organizations devoted to bringing about global change.
350 is a global network including campaigns and organizing in 188 countries including Ghana, Peru, Brazil, Kenya, India, and more. Their work focuses on reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 400 parts per million (ppm) to below 350 ppm.
This organization connects Americans with information on responsible practices pertaining to water, energy, and food. Leveraging the resources and experience of the Schmidt Family Foundation, the 11th Hour Project pushes for a new kind of understanding in a community attuned to human impact on the natural world.
This organization addresses the crucial agricultural and climate-related issues in California’s farming communities. Relying on the power of democracy for collective change, the Ag Innovations Network encourages stakeholders to connect through shared interests with an eye to managing collective resources, like soil and water, more effectively.
A research program at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, this group focuses on the interconnectivity of public health, the environment, food production, and diet. Concentrating on environmental sustainability in food production and the importance of systems-level change, the Center for a Livable Future is on the cutting edge of climate change and food systems research.
The Center for Food Safety (CFS) developed the Cool Foods Campaign to show food can be part of climate solutions. The campaign emphasizes eating fresh, unprocessed foods; buying local and seasonal products; choosing organic fare; eliminating industrial meat and dairy consumption; and reducing food waste. The Center also supports rebuilding soil to help producers mitigate and adapt to climate change.
A collaborative research program from CGIAR and Future Earth, led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), CCAFS focuses on the interactions between agriculture and climate change. From efforts to reduce rural poverty with innovative planting techniques to promoting responsible use of community resources, CCAFS leverages a myriad of research approaches and partnerships to address climate change and agricultural issues.
This collective operates globally to increase food security and reduce short-lived climate pollutants. The coalition includes the governments of Bangladesh, Canada, Mexico, Ghana, Sweden, and the United States, with support from the United Nations. Together these partners work to reduce climate pollutants such as methane, black carbon, and hydrofluorocarbons. Other projects promote sustainable livestock and manure management, and the development of alternative fuels for household cooking.
EcoAgriculture Partners supports integrated landscape management and the many benefits of climate-smart agricultural landscapes, including food access, improved livelihoods and biodiversity, and the production of energy, fiber, and medicine. Through their programs, EcoAgriculture Partners trains local stakeholders to maintain integrated landscapes and create frameworks to mitigate climate change.
Fairtrade producers in Latin America and Africa have been severely affected by crop diseases and heavy frost as a result of climate change, according to Fairtrade International. In response, Fairtade International has developed a global work plan for climate change that focuses on supporting producers in adapting to climate change and helping them mitigate the impacts, including carbon reduction plans.
This organization boasts a vision for “a food secure Africa free from hunger and poverty,” through encouragement of strategic partnerships and ongoing policy dialogue. Through such programs as Women Assessing Realigned Markets (WARM)—aimed at strengthening the voice of female farmers in policy development—FANRPAN publicizes sustainable agricultural practices that will contribute to food security in the face of climate change in Africa.
Governed by the core values of independence, democracy, human rights, and sustainability, this group relies on a grassroots approach to increase individual access to good food, clean water, and sustainable energy. Food & Water Watch has led successful campaigns on country-of-origin labeling, public water supply ownership, and fracking. The organization also encourages more accountability for wastewater and methane emissions from factory farms and supports smarter energy solutions for small-scale sustainable farmers.
This global network—2 million members strong—encourages progressive approaches to environmental issues, with a focus on building a just and healthy world. Friends of the Earth advocates for environmentally friendly approaches to climate change and food security through such initiatives as the Bee Action campaign, which endorses beekeeping as part of balanced farming, and the Good Food, Healthy Planet program, which supports plant-based diets for a healthier planet.
This organization takes a multifaceted approach to the social and environmental challenges facing people and the planet. With specific programs targeting climate change—focusing on drought management, agriculture through the promotion of agroecological approaches, and food justice—IATP critically examines food and environmental policy while encouraging individuals to actively participate in affecting change.
As a member of the CGIAR consortium, this research institute identifies sustainable ways to tackle hunger and poverty. Having recently published a three-book series on agriculture and climate change throughout Africa, IFPRI’s initiatives range from research on how climate change affects quality of health and diet among marginalized populations to policy and advocacy initiatives for more climate-sensitive approaches to agriculture.
This grassroots group is a network of more than 200 million farmers on the forefront of the food sovereignty movement. La Via Campesina promotes the role of small-scale sustainable agriculture in using climate-friendly farming practices, such as companion planting and integrated pest management, as a way to reduce agriculture-related climate change and strengthen the health and wellness of communities all over the world.
Founded by Ireland’s first female president, this organization builds strategic partnerships in security and climate justice by promoting low-emissions agricultural practices and the empowerment of marginalized farmers for nutritional sovereignty. The organization has a strong focus on the role of women as changemakers, and has long supported a people-centered vision of change throughout the world.
This collaborative initiative from CIAT focuses on the effects of climate change on the global food supply. With policy, equity, and low-emissions agriculture research emphases, this initiative applies an interdisciplinary approach to address climate issues.
Rodale Institute conducts independent research focused on building healthy soil through organic practices. The Institute supports farmers and provides them the data and experience to increase soil health and crop quality, improve yields, and sequester carbon through regenerative organic agriculture.
Since its 1892 founding, this grassroots organization has grown to more than 2 million members and continues to inspire individuals to engage in a diverse array of environmental issues, from clean energy to sustainable food. The Sierra Club recognizes and promotes the importance of lifestyle choices in supporting environmental sustainability.
A pool of news, media, and resources, this organization connects people committed to a more sustainable future to information and action initiatives. Associated with Participant Media, the creators of the films Food Inc. and An Inconvenient Truth, TakePart looks to start conversations and involve people in issues of climate change and food systems in ways that lead to immediate action.
The Union of Concerned Scientists is an advocacy alliance of more than 400,000 citizens and scientists. This organization works towards scientific solutions to climate, energy, and agricultural concerns by providing independent research and linking the scientific community to information about policy change, among other methods of fair dissemination and publication.
This is only a small selection of organizations fighting climate change, there are many additional worthy organizations not included here. Which organizations do you know about? Share them with us at [email protected]!