Impacts Climate Change Has on Humans

Climate change brings warming temperatures, changes in precipitation and extreme weather events. With these changes come impacts on human health.

Along with dangers associated with extreme weather, warmer temperatures and shifting weather patterns do other damage. Warmer temps can worsen air quality, including creating higher levels of ground ozone which can aggravate asthma and other lung diseases, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Then there are wildfires. As climate conditions get hotter and drier, wildfires have grown more intense and destructive across much of the U.S., according to USGS. Along with the loss of human life from wIldfires, water and air quality also pose health risks. As of July, there have been more than 30,000 wildfires (all reported fires, big and small) in the U.S. in 2023, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In some regions of the world, changes in temperature and precipitation, as well as droughts and floods, may compromise food security and threaten human health through malnutrition, the spread of infectious diseases and food poisoning, according to the EPA.

A closeup of a man's hand holding soil.

Working to Combat the Climate Crisis

As increasing concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions blanket the earth, Organic Valley works to do our part to fight climate change. We rely on generations of farming wisdom, combined with the latest science on regenerative agriculture, to make food that’s good for you and the planet.

Soil health is essential to life on the farm — and all life! Organic farmers don’t rely on additions like synthetic pesticides and fertilizers to control weeds and pests or to make the soil more fertile. Healthy soil will store carbon from the atmosphere, which can help slow climate change.

Organic Valley farms average 24% lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to the average U.S. dairy farm.

That makes us a low-carbon nationally distributed dairy cooperative. The main reason is that Organic Valley farms use pastures for grazing and outdoor access, and that pasture-based approach helps sequester carbon under the soil. We are also pioneering strategies such as a carbon insetting program that pays our farmers for adding eco-friendly practices like planting more trees to further reduce carbon.

The cooperative is working with 500 Organic Valley member farms to adopt a total of 1,200 new carbon reduction and removal projects in just the next five years. Practices include improvements to grazing, pasture and croplands, manure management, feed supplements, agroforestry and solar energy.

See other ways Organic Valley farms are leading the regenerative farming movement:Organic Valley Farms Harness Nature’s Superpowers to Fight Climate Change

A man pushes a shopping cart through a grocery store.

Are Food Prices on the Rise in 2023?

These heat waves are threatening the global food supply and are integral in the so-called “heatflation.” Extreme heat leads to poor crop, fruit and veggie harvests, but can also lead to the death of meat animals and marine animals due to heat stress.

The USDA reports food prices have increased more rapidly in recent years, citing things like shocks to the food supply chain from events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, an avian influenza outbreak and the conflict in Ukraine as causes.

The USDA predicted a 6% increase in food prices in 2023. USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) publishes price forecasts in the monthly Food Price Outlook (FPO).

In 2024, all food prices are predicted to increase 2.4%, according to the USDA.

The Resilience of the Farms

Farmers are resilient and have recovered from the worst of disasters — but it takes a community.

Organic Valley was started during the 1980s’ recession and farm crisis. A group of farmers was looking for a way for farmers to make a decent living by producing food without the use of toxic pesticides.

The more than 1,600 Organic Valley farmers today support the same ideals co-op members did 35 years ago when Organic Valley got its start. Work with nature, not against it. So our farmers are working with the earth and its cycles to build soil quality, improve resilience, reduce carbon emissions and improve biodiverse life and ecosystems. Organic is a philosophy and system of production that mirrors the natural laws of living organisms with an emphasis on the interdependence of all life.

An antique typewriter fanatic and chicken mom who treasures time outdoors admiring all that nature has to offer, Jennifer McBride is Rootstock’s editor. McBride spent 15-plus years as a journalist and newspaper editor before finding her niche with the nation’s leading organic dairy cooperative. Contact her at Rootstock@organicvalley.com.

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