Food security may have been the preserve of Ministries of Agriculture, but today decisions made in Ministries of Energy have the gravest implications for crop yields. One degree Celsius increase in the global mean temperature would, on average, reduce global yields of wheat by 6%, rice by 3.2%, maize by 7.4% and soybean by 3.1%, according to Chuang Zhao of the Sino-French Institute for Earth System Science, Peking University.
Crops respond to climate change, including temperature variations, rising levels of carbon dioxide and rainfall. Agriculture is a water intensive activity and, while public attention gravitates towards oil and gas shortages, it is aquifer depletion that is the greater threat. The bottom line is that the future of food security depends not only on efforts within the Ministry of Agriculture, but on energy policies that stabilise climate, efforts to raise water productivity and reduce domestic and industrial pollution of waterways and aquifers.
Morocco is committed to obtain 52% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and easing its reliance on fossil fuels. Substitutes for oil and gas abound but no substitute has yet been found for water. A 2001 report prepared by The Water Resources Agency for The Ministry of the Environment entitled ‘Integrating The Management of Watersheds and Coastal Areas in Trinidad and Tobago’ states that the main water pollutants are urban, domestic and industrial waste, solid and toxic agricultural products and waste, sediments, petrochemicals and oil spills from the oil and energy industries, waste from fishing vessels, ships, tourist facilities and yachts.
The pollutants affect both inland freshwater and coastal water resources. In most developing countries, natural rivers and streams have been confined to paved channels, wetlands devastated for development, and asphalt streets, parking lots and buildings, have covered large swathes of flood plains, resulting in a concomitant loss of natural functions that are critical to the health of ecosystems and the availability of good quality surface water.
While these incremental changes may seem insignificant if viewed separately, their cumulative impact over time and throughout a watershed can be significant. The 2017 ruling of the Privy Council in the appeal of Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) will certainly stimulate greater regard for the earth.
Inspired by Morocco’s vision to obtain 52% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, the Belgian/Algerian artist Eric van Hove embarked on a project to make an electric motorbike for the 1:45 Art Fair to be held this February at the historic twelfth century palace-hotel, La Mamounia. Twelve traditional Moroccan artisans are dismantling old bikes like creative Cubans to learn from their structure and then build new versions using only traditional Moroccan craft materials.
They first replicated a Chinese 2016 moped which was a copy of a Japanese electric moped to make their first ‘Original Moroccan Copy’. Every prototype was built on the weaknesses of previous designs. The body made from copper, wheels from recycled aluminium, the fork from wood and steel, and Atlas cedar and leather for the seat. The brakes were made after visiting a mechanic and incorporated his opinions and experiences accumulated over the years as he did maintenance checks. A wooden model was handcrafted and the final component created using sand casting techniques. University students from the United States designed the transmission and tested their structural designs and variations using computer simulations and printed it using a 3D-printer.
Like the stunning Laraki luxury yachts that are ‘Made in Morocco’ by Addeslam Laraki, Eric van Hove hopes that his ‘socioeconomic sculptures’ will electrify Morocco’s shift towards greater consumption of renewable energy. Energy production and use account for two thirds of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, making food security inextricably tied to a green energy policy.