There are already far too many people around the world dealing with hunger and undernourishment to varying degrees, and there’s reason to believe that because of climate change, the problem is likely to get worse before it gets better. Gulf News, a daily newspaper published in Dubai, reported that Mariam Al Muhairi, minister of state for food security in the United Arab Emirates, addressed this issue at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.

Al Muhairi noted that currently, there are about 815 million people worldwide who are undernourished. As many of the world’s more arid regions face a greater risk for future droughts, that number may well increase.

“Today, millions of people live in dry areas, and despite technology and engineering, their situation is as insecure as our forbearers,” Al Muhairi said. “For all the advances in technology, the blunt truth is that world hunger is on the rise.”

Al Muhairi estimated that the number of undernourished people globally is already increasing sharply–it was just 777 million in 2015. She noted that almost one-eighth of the world’s population lacks food security.

While climate change is a pressing issue affecting the world’s food supply, Al Muhairi made the point that people everywhere can combat the hunger problem. One constructive step they can take is to limit food waste, as well as reduce their carbon footprint by buying food locally or growing it themselves at home. Additionally, Al Muhairi argued that raising awareness about climate change and global hunger should be a key priority.

She highlighted that educating youth about the problem is hugely important. Young people, Al Muhairi said, have “the knowledge, the drive, determination and social responsibility” to bring about change in the world. Their tastes and preferences will dictate consumer demand in the future, which can force private businesses to make climate-friendly decisions.

Photo by Sho Hatakeyama on Unsplash