Video  |  March 16, 2021

How to feed the world & shrink our climate footprint

Navin Ramankutty for Project Drawdown

What does food production have to do with climate change? Plenty—with respect to both the problem and the solutions.

In this video, Navin Ramankutty, a scientist focused on ways to feed humanity with minimal global environmental footprint, dives into challenges and opportunities at the intersection of climate and agriculture. From the importance of voting and youth climate action to regenerative approaches toi farming, Ramankutty shares up-to-date insight from his field.

This conversation is part of the Project Drawdown video series Climate Solutions 101. Filled with the latest need-to-know science and fascinating insights from global leaders in climate policy, research, investment, and beyond, this video series is a brain-shift toward a brighter climate reality. Climate Solutions 101 is the world’s first major educational effort focused solely on solutions. Rather than rehashing well-known climate challenges, Project Drawdown centers game-changing climate action based on its own rigorous scientific research and analysis.

The course, presented in video units and in-depth conversations, combines Project Drawdown’s trusted resources with the expertise of several inspiring voices from around the world. Climate solutions become attainable with increased access to free, science-based educational resources, elevated public discourse, and tangible examples of real-world action. Continue your climate solutions journey, today.

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Perspective  |  February 7, 2024
Room to grow: Identifying the best opportunities for improving crop yield
by James Gerber
The global food system isn’t broken, yet it needs fixing.  Agriculture is vital: It produces food for all of us, provides employment for over a billion people, and is central to many developing economies. It also is under a LOT of pressure: In the years ahead, it will need to meet growing demand while minimizing its environmental footprint and coping with a changing climate. If we improve yields on current farmlands, we can meet these needs without more land clearing – a huge contributor to climate change – and even allow some land to return to a natural state.  Technological improvements, from improved farming machinery, to readily available fertilizers, to the hybrid seeds of the Green Revolution, to computer-assisted modern farming technology, have dramatically increased productivity in the past. But how much more can yields be improved? And where? A study my colleagues and I recently published in the journal Nature Food examines this question through the lens of the “yield gap.” The yield gap is the difference between the per-acre or per-hectare crop yield farmers *could* obtain (the “yield ceiling”) and what they *do* obtain (the “actual yield”). Yield gaps aren’t necessarily a bad thing if it means that improvements are coming faster than farmers can apply them.  Take maize in the United States, for example. The yield ceiling has seen steady increase, thanks to research into improved cultivars, inputs, and farming technologies. The actual yield is steadily increasing as well, showing that farmers are adopting new technologies and practices at about the same rate they’re being developed, though with a bit of a lag.
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