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August 24, 2018

Young Africans Are Using Apps to Curb Hunger

In the first Africa-wide hackathon focusing on hunger, eight teams competed in Kigali, Rwanda to come up with solutions to combating hunger. Many young people move to cities where there are more job opportunities instead of becoming farmers. This combined with climate change and poor infrastructure is making it difficult for ageing farmers to provide enough food for their communities. Even though Africa has 65% of the world’s arable land, it still spends $35 billion a year on importing food.

The winning proposal at the hackathon, called AgriPredict, is currently being used by farmers in Zambia. It helps identify diseases and pests that destroy crops and hurt farmers’ profits. It can be accessed using their cell phones or through Facebook. The Zambian team created this software in response to two disasters that hit Zambian farmers in 2016, a tomato disease and a pest called the armyworm. Through technology, the hackathon aimed to include young people in conversations regarding agriculture because they believe the key in alleviating hunger is by getting young people involved in farming.

Girl Donates Piggy Banks to Kerala Flood Victims

For the last four years, eight-year-old Anupriya had saved 9,000 Rupees (around $129) to buy a bike. When she saw the destruction that the floods in Kerala were causing, she decided that she wanted to donate her savings to help people instead. News of her selflessness spread quickly on social media with many praising the young girl for her kindness. Her act caught the attention of Hero Cycles, a bike manufacturer in India, who awarded her with a bike of her own.

Kerala, in southwestern India, was hit by the worst floods in nearly a century. Nearly 400 hundred people have been killed and over a million have been displaced due to their homes being destroyed. Many experts point to climate change as a factor of the horrific scale of the floods, such as exceptionally high rainfall and landslides caused by deforestation. Also, it’s believed that officials were late in releasing water from Kerala’s dams that could’ve alleviated some of the damage.

Heat Waves Getting Hotter Over the Next Five Years

Climate scientists predict that over the next five years heat waves will only get hotter. A combination of factors including annual fluctuations in climate patterns and the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is causing the planet to warm up faster than if either variable was happening on its own. The accelerated warming of the planet has catastrophic consequences like forest fires, droughts, and heat waves.

California, over the last couple of years, has experienced the devastation of multiple wildfires. Not only do they take lives, destroy homes, and create smog, there are additional consequences that cause further damage. For example, California’s tourism figures have taken a hit due to the media coverage of the wildfires. In less than two months, California has nearly wiped out its emergency funds set aside for wildfires for the fiscal year. Scientists have been urging politicians to consider the effects climate change has on the environment, as well as the people and animals living in it.