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National Geographic features climate change, agrobiodiversity

June 17th, 2011

“A crisis is looming,” begins National Geographic reporter Charles Siebert in “Food Ark,” this month’s feature article. “It took more than 10,000 years of domestication for humans to create the vast biodiversity in our food supply that we’re now watching ebb away.” The article is an anecdote-rich crash course on the essentials of modern relationships between agrobiodiversity, climate change, and food security. It is accompanied by interactive features, instructions on how to cultivate your own heirloom plant varieties, and a stunning series of photographs by Jim Richardson that bring faces and colors to the agrobiodiversity movement.

What is most important, perhaps, about this article is that it appears in an internationally-respected magazine with a circulation of 8.5 million. Households around the world, many of whom have never been exposed to the benefits of and great need to preserve agrobiodiversity, will have an engaging education with it this month. Through connecting the local and slow food movements that “have become fashionable in the United States and Europe over the last decade” with a scienfific explanation for the 19th century Irish potato famine and emotionally devastating firsthand accounts from those who survived the 1984 famine in Ethiopia, Siebert leaves readers with a holistic sense of the importance of agrobiodiversity – and why, in the face of climate change and rapid population growth, the whole world needs to act now.