Pumpkin spice lattes and spooky candies are all the rage again, and rightfully so! But as we approach mid-October, Halloween is not the only day on our radar. Every year on 16 October, we celebrate World Food Day, a day that commemorates the establishment of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
For most of us, food is much more than simply a vehicle for nutrition. It connects people across borders, brings us comfort, and lets us learn about different cultures – all with a single bite. Now unfortunately, we are not professional chefs, so we don’t have the hottest new recipe to celebrate the occasion, but we do want to share a simple pleasure and one of our favourite breakfasts: hummus on toast.
Thanks to its healthy balance of proteins, fats, and fibres, this dish has become a worldwide favourite, especially among those looking for plant-based protein alternatives. Fun fact: growing chickpeas, the main component of hummus, is also great for the soil as the plant can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and store any extra amounts of the nutrient for the next crop rotation… yay for natural recycling! Add to this an irresistible umami flavour, and it doesn’t get much more clear that hummus is always a good idea… let’s jump to the recipe!
For an extra kick and a nod to tradition, you can also sprinkle parsley and paprika on top; but there are lots of other tasty toppings you can add. Whether it is sliced avocados, tomatoes, feta cheese, or a mixture of crunchy seeds, you really can’t go wrong!
A pinch of salt and a dose of reality
As you enjoy the savoury crunchiness of this breakfast, we’re coming at you with a reality check.
What if we told you that all the ingredients in this recipe might become increasingly more rare with each passing year? Experts estimate that as much as 50% of chickpea crop yield may be lost due to climate change, with droughts posing the biggest challenge in production. If current trends continue, we may soon learn that climate change has a sour taste.
So on this World Food Day we’d like to take a moment to reflect on the impacts of a changing environment on our most beloved resource: food, and what this means for people around the world.
As temperatures rise and extreme weather events like droughts, cyclones, and floods become more common, many food production systems are in danger. We’re already seeing the effects on maize and wheat production levels, aka the key ingredients in things like bread, cake, and taco shells. There is more bad news. For our coffee drinkers out there, it’s time to grab onto your emotional support cup — estimates suggest that coffee growers will lose 50% of suitable land by 2050. And if you are a big fan of Ethiopian coffee blends in particular, if we reach 3°C of warming globally, virtually all African cropland will be unviable. Changes in rainfall and stresses to the water supply also put production at risk. Similarly, if you’ve added avocado to your hummus toast, savour it, because just a single fruit needs over 200 litres of water to grow.
What does this all mean for people? Other than missing out on some of our favourite brunch ingredients, it means existing life-threatening trends will worsen and domino effects will emerge. Currently, more than 3 billion people are vulnerable to climate change, and if not tackled, it risks pushing millions more into extreme poverty, threatening food security and livelihoods. In 2021 alone, 193 million people were in urgent need of food assistance. To put that into perspective, if this population were a country, it would be the 8th largest in the world. To complicate things further, there are other factors impacting global food security beyond climate. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, we’ve seen the compounding impact of supply-chain stresses push an additional +60 million people to hunger. So with hunger and malnutrition tendencies increasing, we’ll continue to see wide-spread impacts on health, education, productivity, gender equality, and more – the list goes on.
So what can we do about it?
Add your voice to our petition urging world leaders to end the global hunger crisis by fully funding humanitarian appeals and investing in fair and sustainable global food production.
With COP27 just a few weeks away, we must raise our voices and tell world leaders to act. Climate change is quite possibly the greatest multiplier of crises, yet climate targets have been set and missed repeatedly. As ONE youth activists, we’re calling on high-income countries to meet the long-standing yearly goal of US$100 billion to help lower-income countries, who have contributed the least to the crisis, mitigate the risks of and adapt to climate change.
So enjoy your food and savour the hummus, but raise your voice too. Reach out to your representatives and join your local march for a sustainable future – global challenges need global efforts!